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hammer
Senior Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 596
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 8:07 pm:   Edit Post

I've been asked to take part in a new project that involves a band which plays a blend of folk and bluegrass. The group leaders like my playing but insist on use of a acoustic bass (not a double bass but an acoustic bass guitar) even though it will need a pick up or a mike. I know absolutely nothing about these types of basses. Any suggestions on a high quality instrument that I might be able to pick used.

P.S. I'm only looking for something other than an Alembic because they don't make one.
sonicus
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 3689
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 8:30 pm:   Edit Post

The Guild B-50 is fun !
http://www.bassplayer.com/basses/1165/retro-rama--1976-guild-b-50/26271

Jack Casady had one that he let me check out once many years ago .
edwin
Senior Member
Username: edwin

Post Number: 1847
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 9:46 pm:   Edit Post

How about one of those ukelele basses? I've heard them in person and plugged in they sound great (although intonation can get challenging up the neck). What would the bandleader think about a Starfire?
cozmik_cowboy
Senior Member
Username: cozmik_cowboy

Post Number: 1783
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 10:38 pm:   Edit Post

Check out the Gold Tone Micro-Bass.

I have no connection to this product other thinking it sounds cool on the vids, and failing to win when they gave one away.

Peter
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 3594
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Friday, October 24, 2014 - 3:42 am:   Edit Post

Brian, I have a Kelly dragonfly fretless 5 strung with LaBella 'deep talkin' flats and it sounds superb played acoustically. The low B is a bit lacking through the Piezo bridge though. Had it sent over here from your side of the pond so I reckon you could pick one up fairly easily.

Graeme
rustyg61
Senior Member
Username: rustyg61

Post Number: 1367
Registered: 2-2011
Posted on Friday, October 24, 2014 - 7:50 am:   Edit Post

I have a Dean Performer Bass that plays very well & sounds good both acoustically & plugged into an amp. http://www.deanguitars.com/content/imagelib/basses/acousticbass/index.htm
stephenr
New
Username: stephenr

Post Number: 7
Registered: 9-2014
Posted on Friday, October 24, 2014 - 9:05 am:   Edit Post

I love my Turner Renaissance five-string. Haven't played a Michael Kelly but that seems like another popular choice. Neither of these basses will be prone to feedback and if you can play fretless they sound even better as a sub for an upright. Michael Kelly recently teamed up with Rick Turner and is making a production model version of the Renaissance bass for him. Should be cheaper than the original.

IMO stay away from dreadnought style acoustic basses if you are going to play at any kind of volume level. My experience with them is that even for an acoustic jam you need to plug them in to be heard and if you play them in a band situation they are prone to feed back easily.
pauldo
Senior Member
Username: pauldo

Post Number: 1309
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Friday, October 24, 2014 - 9:56 am:   Edit Post

Stephen for clarification; you are saying that anything with a dreadnought style body (hole in the middle) does not project enough and obviously has feedback issues when plugged in. The Turner you have (with no hole) projects well acoustically?

Back in the 80's there was a GIANT acoustic bass made by Earth something . . . seems like a body that big would project rather nicely.
murray
Intermediate Member
Username: murray

Post Number: 180
Registered: 7-2007
Posted on Friday, October 24, 2014 - 10:20 am:   Edit Post

The venture into (Electro)Acoustic Bass Guitar world is an interesting one. Apart from my Alembic and Jaydee solids, I have Fender BG-29 and Fender Victor Bailey Acoustic Bass guitars. Both are lovely but neither made anymore. I have used the BG- 29 extensively to play for Appalachian, Morris dance sides and Folk sessions but have ALWAYS used a small amp. In my case, a Harley Benton rechargeable (like the Crate Taxi) but that is not made any more either!!
There are other amps out there if you need to be portable like Phil Jones and to be honest you shouldn't need a lot of volume if you are doing folk/bluegrass sessions.
I think Acoustic Bass Guitars need trying in the shop and don't expect too much unplugged or from bottom E string if going through a small amp.
Also, as stated above, feedback is a massive problem so careful use of EQ and gain and master is needed. But it is worth it.
I wondered only this week about Ukulele basses like Ortega and Kala. They seem like a good idea but what I keep reading is that the poly strings take some keeping in tune. Apparently, some players choose the fretless option to cope with tuning issues to correct more quickly.
I have had great fun with my Acoustics and a final tip - don't change the strings too often. This develops a nice double bass sound. And also play fingerstyle.
Enjoy, Glynn
stephenr
New
Username: stephenr

Post Number: 8
Registered: 9-2014
Posted on Friday, October 24, 2014 - 10:52 am:   Edit Post

The Turner Renaissance bass has no sound hole but is hollow and has a definite warm acoustic sound, it can't be played without an amp. You would not mistake the sound of a Renaissance bass for the sound of a solid body or hollow body bass like the Cassady Signature, Guild Starfire etc. especially if you stick with the TI Acousticore strings they come with. It is a unique sounding instrument. The Kelly basses are similar and some prefer those.

The dreadnought style basses I have played all needed to be plugged in even when jamming with acoustic guitars and percussion and were prone to feedback at fairly low volumes. I figured that if I had to plug in anyway I was better off with the Renaissance which not only doesn't feed back but is more comfortable to play, the body is thin and they weigh next to nothing.

I had a chance to play my Renaissance bass through a Meyer Sound rig one time. I got right up inches away from the cabinet during sound check and tried to get the bass to feed back. At loud volumes I did manage to get a high pitched squeal but it wasn't easy, there was no low frequency feedback at all and who plays facing and up against an amp anyway.

The giant dreadnought basses like the Ernie Ball Earthwood bass have more volume played acoustically but are bulky and unwieldy and as far as I know they don't make them anymore. The Taylor AB-1 is another huge hollow body acoustic bass that is supposed to be nice but it is expensive and looks like it would be uncomfortable to play due to the size of the body. Have no idea if it is prone to feedback plugged in but it might provide enough volume to play an acoustic jam.
hammer
Senior Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 597
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Friday, October 24, 2014 - 11:56 am:   Edit Post

Hey Everyone:

Thanks for the input.

The Kelly basses seem interesting especially the one he's making for Turner. His regular basses also seem VERY reasonably priced 2nd-hand. Because this group is just being put together I'm a little reluctant to invest too much in an acoustic given that everything else I do is electric and I'm unsure as to how far this thing going to go.
5a_quilt_top
Advanced Member
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 382
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Friday, October 24, 2014 - 2:47 pm:   Edit Post

Rob Allen - either 4 or 5 string:



This is an MB2 model.

Uses LaBella tape wound strings.

Sounds close to an upright, but with better note definition.

I have not experienced any feedback issues at stage volume.
bigredbass
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 2255
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Sunday, October 26, 2014 - 10:00 am:   Edit Post

I've often thought about an ABG (acoustic bass guitar), to have something to just grab without plugging anything up when the notion strikes me.

Since I only play fives, it's somewhat pointless, inasmuch as it's a lot to get anything approaching bass tone out of a jumbo guitar body with four strings, much less trying to coax low C's and D's out of one. Oh well . . . .

I've tried several in only the most casual manner and haven't yet found anything affordable that hit me. I tell myself I'll grab a Michael Kelly on EBay cheap sometime, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

Here in Nashville, I did try a Ribbecke Hafling that wandered through Geore Gruhn's, and I must admit it was fabulous: It also cost as much as a used Alembic, so it was a non-starter. If you can afford that amount of $$$, I can heartily recommend it, a LOT of amazing design going on in that box.

I would definitely recommend the same warning that applies to most lesser piezo-equipped guitars: The output generally overwhelms most conventional guitar and bass amps, so you really need a baby mixer or something like this terrific BOSS acoustic processor

http://www.bossus.com/gear/productdetails.php?ProductId=570&ParentId=259

. . . . in line between you and an amp, to settle down the high output (in some cases 3 or 4 volts (!) and very high impedance. That's how cheap or older piezo guitars can sound clavinet-like. Newer and better guitars are buffered, but you need to know if the guitar in question is one or the other.

The TI ABG strings are also very interesting. Turner realized that piezo bridges have no real need for a ferrous core as it's vibration that creates the tiny voltages. So they have a nylon core with metal wraps, a concept he worked with TI to create, and these are the OEM strings on Renaissance basses. Of course they work on any piezo ABG.

And, a LOT of guys use the Rob Allens in studios and roadwork out of Nashville, very well regarded.

J o e y
hammer
Senior Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 600
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Sunday, October 26, 2014 - 12:35 pm:   Edit Post

Wow! A LOT more to think about than I initially thought. Again, thank you to everyone for the valuable input.
pace
Senior Member
Username: pace

Post Number: 1084
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Sunday, October 26, 2014 - 8:51 pm:   Edit Post

A Tacoma Thunderchief is worth a mention if a used one pops up in your quest.....
cozmik_cowboy
Senior Member
Username: cozmik_cowboy

Post Number: 1786
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Sunday, October 26, 2014 - 9:24 pm:   Edit Post

I have played a number of ABGs in stores, just for Ss & Gs, but only 4-strings & only unplugged; by far the best (indeed, perhaps the only good) E string sound was on a cedar-topped Breedlove. Alas, they have discontinued the one I played (& I disremember the model designation), but I would expect the current "Solo" model to be similar.
I imagine a lower string would only exacerbate the issue.

Peter
gtrguy
Senior Member
Username: gtrguy

Post Number: 798
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Monday, October 27, 2014 - 11:25 am:   Edit Post

Not to be a cynic, but my experience of 'leaders who insist' on stuff like this tend to keep insisting on other micro-management music stuff as well.

Best of luck!
edwardofhuncote
Member
Username: edwardofhuncote

Post Number: 77
Registered: 6-2014
Posted on Monday, October 27, 2014 - 11:26 am:   Edit Post

Hammer, been there. Grew up in Appalachia, the veritable cradle of bluegrass/old-time music, where they really frown on plugged-in basses of any kind. =) I started as an upright player and switched to bass guitar later.

The good news is, there's quite a selection to choose from, and at several price points, Rob Allen, and Rick Turner being examples of the upper-middle. If you're expressly looking for an acoustic bass-guitar, then neither of those help much. Godin also made a very nice semi-acoustic, piezo bridge equipped bass guitar that actually produced audible sound, at least enough to practice with. Unfortunately, it feeds back at high volume, as will most any ABG.

Now here's the sticking point for the band. NONE of the above really sound like an upright bass. True, you can get some of that upright inflection with hollow bodies, tapewound strings, fretless fingerboards, and some clever muting techniques, but it's difficult to get that upright bass sound even out of an electric upright. If their sensibilities about "acoustic" bass are based on the visual, then that's a losing battle IMO. Really, the trouble with acoustic basses, even and especially uprights, is physical; they are very hard to amplify. There is always a balance to be struck between quacky piezos and boomy mics, the result is often less than ideal.

On a personal note, I have somewhat successfully integrated Turner Renaissance basses (fretted & fretless) into several folk-bluegrass ensembles, even a neo-oldtyme string band, but the traditionalist element here is intensely anti-electric. Of course, YMMV.

Good luck in your search... they are loads of fun! I too have often wondered if Alembic had any interest in building a piezo-equipped bass, maybe even a combination of magnets and piezo bridge. I'd love to hear their take on piezo electronics with low-pass filters and q-switches.
edwin
Senior Member
Username: edwin

Post Number: 1848
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Monday, October 27, 2014 - 11:36 am:   Edit Post

Somewhere on this forum is a build record of a guitar that included piezos built into the bridge. It was a thing of beauty. A search should reveal it. I would imagine that now they've done it once, the second time should be easier.
pace
Senior Member
Username: pace

Post Number: 1085
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Monday, October 27, 2014 - 12:24 pm:   Edit Post

Edwin, I know you've seen it up close back in the day~ Andy West's bass allegedly had that second 5-pin wired to 4 individual piezos in the bridge.... A very elegant way to fan out to quad, or integrate with analog synths, but I dunno about achieving an acoustic bass sound....
murray
Intermediate Member
Username: murray

Post Number: 183
Registered: 7-2007
Posted on Monday, October 27, 2014 - 2:24 pm:   Edit Post

I fully understand edwardofhuncote. In the UK some traditionalists are wary of plugged in basses in bluegrass/folk. My folk side of bass playing is with Morris dancing and Appalachian dance sides. I have had mixed reactions but persevered and champion a view that music is music, bass is bass. I do not understand why music has to be put into boxes and we cannot stray away. I have had good comments from people who say that my ABG sound through a small rechargeable amp ADDS to the fiddle and melodian. I have also had people object but they seem to be more about tradition than music and entertainment. Surely we are only in the professional world of music to entertain not for self-glorification and getting hung-up on what went before.
I say to Hammer, choose your ABG after research and harden yourself to any objections - your band seem to want an AGB so that is a good start. What can the traditionalists object to? J.S.Bach wrote some of the best bass lines ever and they have been played on organ, harpsichord, double bass (Loussier), bass guitar (Jethro Tull). Also bass has been played on the serpent (Melstock Band), euphonium (New Orleans jazz), - need I go on?
I end with checking out The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain playing a Wheatus song 'I'm just a teenage dirtbag'which mentions Iron Maiden.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fw8ZDwdyHJQ
I think this keeps our minds open.
Glynn
hammer
Senior Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 601
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Monday, October 27, 2014 - 2:58 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks again for the input. More research on my part is in line at this point. I truly appreciate all of the ideas and suggestions.

And David...I had that same thought too which is why I have used the word "Possible" new project.
cozmik_cowboy
Senior Member
Username: cozmik_cowboy

Post Number: 1787
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Monday, October 27, 2014 - 3:59 pm:   Edit Post

"Really, the trouble with acoustic basses, even and especially uprights, is physical; they are very hard to amplify. There is always a balance to be struck between quacky piezos and boomy mics, the result is often less than ideal."

I, as an engineer, have tried just about everything to amplify/record doghouse basses. The best result was with a college big-band jazz player, who, after we'd tried several approaches to no avail, said "What the hell, let's try this", wrapped an SM-58 in a bar towel & shoved it into the opening in his bridge; bingo! Great sound that followed his movement!

Peter
edwardofhuncote
Member
Username: edwardofhuncote

Post Number: 78
Registered: 6-2014
Posted on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 - 5:29 am:   Edit Post

"...wrapped an SM-58 in a bar towel & shoved it into the opening in his bridge"

@ cozmik cowboy - LOL! yeah, most doghouse players have a wad of foam stashed in their case, just for that reason! Can't say it was the greatest sound ever, but it will surely do in a pinch. =)

Apologies for the small hijack hammer, but I am fascinated with the notion of Alembic employing piezos in a build edwin mentioned above. I gotta go look for that... it may be time to update the "Dreaming For Now" post!
hammer
Senior Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 608
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Friday, October 31, 2014 - 6:08 pm:   Edit Post

So I've been looking around and have found several interesting possibilities. A used Rob Allen MB-2 currently going for $1,800 and a Tacoma Thunderchief offered at $1,000. Leaning toward the former but I will obviously try to negotiate. Does anyone know what these are typically selling for at this time? The Tacoma seems a bit high in price to me, but it's local so I'll be able to play it.
murray
Intermediate Member
Username: murray

Post Number: 187
Registered: 7-2007
Posted on Saturday, November 01, 2014 - 1:55 am:   Edit Post

UK new price is probably no use but the shop I use is interesting -
http://www.bassdirect.co.uk/bass_guitar_specialists/Rob_Allen.html

Glynn
5a_quilt_top
Advanced Member
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 387
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Monday, November 03, 2014 - 8:01 am:   Edit Post

I'm biased, but IMO that Rob Allen is a good price.

It's about 40-50% less than new.

My MB-2 is super light, about 6.5 lbs. and very resonant. Swamp ash body with figured walnut top and a walnut neck.

It's very easy to play and delivers a warm, fat & growly fretless tone with a lot of sustain.
murray
Intermediate Member
Username: murray

Post Number: 195
Registered: 7-2007
Posted on Tuesday, November 04, 2014 - 12:38 pm:   Edit Post

I tried an Ortega Lizard Ukulele Bass this weekend (yes - it did have serious fretbuzz as reviews say) and also a Kala U-Bass. I don't come from a guitar background being a bass guitar player (after piano and church organ in very early days) so found the closeness of the frets a bit tricky. I guess I could get used to the rubber strings but decided against. Happy to return to the safety of the Orion 4 the next day at my gig. The guitar player that day said that he finds the Uke fret spacing tricky and he is an immense player.
Glynn
briant
Senior Member
Username: briant

Post Number: 687
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Tuesday, November 04, 2014 - 12:51 pm:   Edit Post

If you can find one the Taylor AB-4 is hands down the best sounding/playing acoustic guitar style bass I've ever experienced. Some lifetime ago I lusted after an ABG and played everything I could get my hands on. About this same time Bryan Beller came through town with Mike Keneally and he let me play his AB-4 before the show (I'd known him prior to this meeting). It blew me away and I started searching for one. My need/desire to own one faded before I ever found one for sale. Taylor had stopped making them ~12 months prior to me getting the urge to buy.
hammer
Senior Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 611
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Tuesday, November 04, 2014 - 7:46 pm:   Edit Post

Put in a best offer on that Rob Allen 5 String but it wasn't accepted. Thinking about trying again but based on what I've seen them going for lately the asking price is a bit high.
hankster
Advanced Member
Username: hankster

Post Number: 371
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Thursday, November 06, 2014 - 6:47 pm:   Edit Post

I love the Rob Allen basses. But nothing will sound like an upright except an upright. You can get a decent sound out of an electric upright if you adjust your right hand technique to cause the strings to vibrate perpendicularly to the body of the bass rather than parallel, it kills the sustain and increases the rapidity of the decay, but it's still not quite right.
edwin
Senior Member
Username: edwin

Post Number: 1856
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Thursday, November 06, 2014 - 7:11 pm:   Edit Post

I don't have a horse in this race, but I will relate a story. I heard an interview with a bass player who got an audition with a famous jazz drummer (Art Blakey, maybe?) and brought by a bunch of recordings from shows he'd done. He told the drummer that he had an upright and an electric upright. He played some shows from New York and then some from a tour he did in Europe. The drummer asked him why he didn't use the upright in New York like he did in Europe. Except that Europe was the electric and New York was the upright.
hammer
Senior Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 614
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Thursday, November 06, 2014 - 7:16 pm:   Edit Post

Looking at a possible Rick Turner and a Rob Allen. To what does the fretboard wood and whether it is lined or unlined have an impact on tone.
murray
Advanced Member
Username: murray

Post Number: 201
Registered: 7-2007
Posted on Friday, November 07, 2014 - 1:24 am:   Edit Post

I am going to be mildly outspoken here to say if your potential folk/bluegrass band like your playing, then it shouldn't matter what bass you use. They do sound a bit too traditionalist and hung up on trying to look and sound like the past. As I keep saying, it should be about the music. As an example, I have introduced Acoustic Electric Bass to an Appalachian Dance side and also a Morris Dance side as well as folk groups. I also use my Alembic Orion with a New Orleans Trad. Jazz band I have played with for many years.
I admit that I have had some anti reaction from people who want things 'as they were'but I persevere and try and play at the volume they expect and also I try to get a similar sound to what they are used to (careful use of right hand fingerstyle and two to the bar, not massive fast fours, helps this ).
I have found that when you are accepted it is a real bonus - and that is as a result of your musicianship - which it is what it is about.
If your group leaders are insisting on something and not taking advantage of your good playing, then I say - ditch 'em!.
(Was that too outspoken?)
Glynn
pauldo
Senior Member
Username: pauldo

Post Number: 1324
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Friday, November 07, 2014 - 6:10 am:   Edit Post

Can't argue with what Glynn said.
I play my Alembic in a swing band - they had an upright player originally; I came in with my Distillate, rolled the treble off, kept things round and 'bumpy', locked in with the drummer and we drive! - no complaints.
hammer
Senior Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 615
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Friday, November 07, 2014 - 7:46 am:   Edit Post

The group leader is fine with anything that sounds a "bit more acoustic" than my Alembics which I agree didn't go that well with the group sound.

The question above is really coming from me. I borrowed a Rob Allen last week, took it to a practice and they loved the sound and how well it blended in. It certainly wasn't the sound of an upright but played with the strings with which it was strung it nicely melded with the rest of the group (who not only do what I'd refer to as electrified bluegrass, similar to T by T, Grisman, etc., but want to play at least one set of acoustic tunes dominated by old time blues players (e.g., Blind Lemon Jefferson, Rev. Gary Davis, Light'n Hopkins, etc.). The RA I borrowed was a model with an ebony fretboard and no markings. I'm currently looking at possibly purchasing a fretless RA (out of town that I wont be able to play before purchasing) that has a rosewood fretboard and fretmarkers and was just wondering if this is going to result in a tone that is significantly different and/or if the tone of a Turner would be a significantly different.
stephenr
Junior
Username: stephenr

Post Number: 11
Registered: 9-2014
Posted on Friday, November 07, 2014 - 9:31 am:   Edit Post

I think the strings are going to have more of an effect on the tone than whether the fretboard is lined or not. Ebony should have a slightly different sound than Rosewood, and of course a different feel on a fretless, but I think the type of string will make the biggest difference. What kind of strings were on the RA you borrowed?

The Turner basses come strung with TI Acousticore strings which have a nylon core wrapped in phosphor bronze. They have a softer attack then conventional bass strings and if you choose a fretless Ren bass you can get a lot of mwah going. The fretted Ren's get some mwah, too, but not as much and to be honest if you use Acousticore strings the "sound" of the frets is not very prevalent.

I tried putting round wound strings on my Ren. The tone was punchier but it still sounded like a Renaissance bass. I prefer the Acousticore strings, though, much more unique tone and they are incredibly touch responsive. You can coax a lot of different tones out using your hands. They do take a bit of getting used to, though, since they tend to "roll" a bit under your fingers until you get the hang of them.

I also encounter a lot of resistance to the idea of using something other than an upright in an acoustic band. A lot of guys just want the traditional look of an upright but some also want the upright sound and of course if they want you to use a bow sometimes it isn't going to happen with a RA or Turner bass.
edwardofhuncote
Member
Username: edwardofhuncote

Post Number: 94
Registered: 6-2014
Posted on Friday, November 07, 2014 - 11:10 am:   Edit Post

Another helpful hint on Acousticore strings, particularly on fretless basses... sand the bronze windings with ultra-fine sandpaper, then polish with 0000 steelwool. Clean regularly with FastFret. (or something like it)

A fretless Renaissance bass is one of the coolest most organic bass sounds out there. (IMO-E of course) I use one regularly when playing those old-time blues tunes with my cousin's ensemble. I'm totally biased toward Turners, but that said, Rob Allen basses are extremely fine instruments as well, equal or surpassing quality.
cozmik_cowboy
Senior Member
Username: cozmik_cowboy

Post Number: 1791
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Friday, November 07, 2014 - 10:57 pm:   Edit Post

How many bluegrass players oes it take to change a lightbulb?

Four. One to change the bulb and three to complain it's not real because it's electric.

Peter
mario_farufyno
Senior Member
Username: mario_farufyno

Post Number: 1074
Registered: 9-2008
Posted on Saturday, November 08, 2014 - 5:30 am:   Edit Post

Have you ever tested Carvin's AC-40f? Mahogany body, Ebony unlined fingerboard and that piezzo tone. Not a perfect accoustic string bass tone but fairly close with nylon flats, not distant from Godin's tone but much more affordable (not tryed Rob Allen's or Rick Turner's to compare it with).
hammer
Senior Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 617
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Saturday, November 08, 2014 - 7:07 am:   Edit Post

The Rob Allen I borrowed had the TI acousticore strings on it. Haven't tried the Carving but if I can find one I'll take a look. The Turner I was looking at was sold before I got a chance to check it out. So at this point its down to a 34 5-string fretless Rob Allen MB 2 or a RA fretless Mouse 30. I had never played fretless before the last practice but found the long scale RA I borrowed a lot easier to adjust to than my recent move from 4 to 6 string. Wondering if a short scale fretless would be more difficult to play. Anyone ever had experience with one?
5a_quilt_top
Advanced Member
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 388
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Monday, November 10, 2014 - 10:59 am:   Edit Post

TI Acousticore strings will sound radically different on a Rob Allen than the LaBella nylon tape wound strings that are recommended.

IMO, the LaBella tape wounds are critical to getting closer to approximating upright tone / vibe with an RA bass.

However - the Acousticores do sound real good on the Turner.

Re: lined vs. unlined fretboard: according to Mr. Allen, the strings and the woods used for the neck and body will have the greatest influence over tone, with the neck wood having the most influence. He advised me that the tonal difference between a lined and an unlined fretboard is imperceptible.
sonicus
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 3734
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Monday, November 10, 2014 - 11:48 am:   Edit Post

I liked a lined fingerboard for those well intonated upper register double and triple stop glissandos .
hammer
Senior Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 637
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Sunday, December 07, 2014 - 3:40 pm:   Edit Post

Ended up purchasing A Rob Allen Fretless 5 string in walnut. The fact that over the last month I've had the chance to play a borrowed RA but not a Turner (and loved it) was the deciding factor. It should arrive here Wednesday. Special thanks to Gregory (edwardofhuncote) who provided great advice and put me in touch with the seller.
hammer
Senior Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 638
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Sunday, December 07, 2014 - 3:48 pm:   Edit Post

Ended up purchasing a 5-string Rob Allen MB-2 in walnut. The fact that I've had a chance to play one I had the opportunity to borrow for the last month (and the group likes the tone) and feel very comfortable with it tipped the scales over a Turner. It should arrive Wednesday. Special thanks to all who provided ideas and advice especially Gregory (edwardofhuncote) who put me in touch with the seller.
edwardofhuncote
Intermediate Member
Username: edwardofhuncote

Post Number: 123
Registered: 6-2014
Posted on Sunday, December 07, 2014 - 7:01 pm:   Edit Post

Congrats hammer. Now you gotta help me get Alembic to develop us a line of Alembicoustics
.. piezos & filters. =)
hammer
Senior Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 639
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Sunday, December 07, 2014 - 8:52 pm:   Edit Post

I'd love to. A few years ago, I visited just prior to my son's graduation from college to show him a Further I was having made for him as a graduation present. At that time, there was an "acoustic" body in the shop that, according to Mica, some of the staff were playing around with. I never heard what happened and that was back in 2012.
5a_quilt_top
Advanced Member
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 399
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Monday, December 08, 2014 - 8:39 am:   Edit Post

Congrats!

Not to detract from our hosts, but you won't be sorry with the RA.

Just make sure to use the recommended LaBella tape wound strings.

BTW: I've been running mine through an AER Amp One and, after some EQ refinement, I think I've settled on a tone that sits in the mix nicely with acoustic instruments.
edwardofhuncote
Intermediate Member
Username: edwardofhuncote

Post Number: 125
Registered: 6-2014
Posted on Monday, December 08, 2014 - 10:40 am:   Edit Post

I would be VERY interested in what, if anything, came forth from that playing around. In fact, I volunteer myself to test-pilot a whole new line. =)
edwin
Senior Member
Username: edwin

Post Number: 1869
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Monday, December 08, 2014 - 10:47 am:   Edit Post

Here's an Alembic with piezos built in. Apparently, they're for synth control, but maybe they could also be used as an audio source?
edwin
Senior Member
Username: edwin

Post Number: 1870
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Monday, December 08, 2014 - 10:48 am:   Edit Post

Here's an Alembic with piezos built in. Apparently, they're for synth control, but maybe they could also be used as an audio source?

http://alembic.com/club/messages/631/67349.html
edwardofhuncote
Intermediate Member
Username: edwardofhuncote

Post Number: 129
Registered: 6-2014
Posted on Tuesday, December 09, 2014 - 5:34 am:   Edit Post

A-ha. =)

I don't have much interest in synth output, but would love to combine piezos with MXY's and filters for each. That's about as slick of an installation as I've ever seen, but right on par with what you'd expect from our hosts here.
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 5916
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Tuesday, December 09, 2014 - 6:00 am:   Edit Post

I have RMC saddles (like in the above thread) on my Alembicized Fernandes Masterhand. When played exclusively, without any signal from the Alembic pickups in the mix, it gives a reasonable acoustic sound.

Bill, tgo
hammer
Senior Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 641
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 10:07 pm:   Edit Post

So my fretless Rob Allen arrived today. A nice bass that does provide a different sound than my Alembics that should blend nicely with the band. I must admit, however, that my first thoughts on initially playing it were, "this is a toy compared to my Alembics."
rustyg61
Senior Member
Username: rustyg61

Post Number: 1414
Registered: 2-2011
Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 11:32 pm:   Edit Post

I can relate Brian, my Schector 5 string feels like a toy compared to my Alembic. It feels like it is made out of plastic compared to the solid feel of my SCSD. That is why I decided to take my wife's advice & have a 5 string Europa built!
rustyg61
Senior Member
Username: rustyg61

Post Number: 1415
Registered: 2-2011
Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 11:51 pm:   Edit Post

I can relate Brian, my Schector 5 string feels like a toy compared to my Alembic. It feels like it is made out of plastic compared to the solid feel of my SCSD. That is why I decided to take my wife's advice & have a 5 string Europa built!
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 3623
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2014 - 12:58 am:   Edit Post

Nothing better than New Bass day Brian. I know exactly how you feel as I received my new(ish) NS CR5M upright yesterday and couldn't keep my hands off it. My first thoughts were 'Jeez - this thing is huge compared to my Alembics :-)

Graeme
5a_quilt_top
Senior Member
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 403
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2014 - 8:15 am:   Edit Post

Hammer -

Congrats! Let us know how it works out for you.

Re: Alembic vs. Rob Allen = apples & oranges.

I would be hard-pressed to obtain the Rob Allen tone from any of my current Alembics - and vice-versa.

My motto: use the correct tool for the task at hand!

That having been said, I would 100% guarantee that my RA would be collecting dust (or sold) should our hosts venture forth and develop an equivalent product (hint...).

I shudder to think of how awesome that would sound (and look).

Hmmm...maybe I need to transfer my thoughts to the "Dreaming..for now" section.
dfung60
Senior Member
Username: dfung60

Post Number: 602
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Sunday, December 14, 2014 - 2:48 pm:   Edit Post

There's really no substitute for the "thud" of a real acoustic upright. I've never owned one, but have recorded them a number of times.

I recently got an NS Design CR4M electric upright. It sounds more like an acoustic upright than any 34" scale bass, but it's quite different sounding than a real acoustic. I'm not a good enough player to tell, but my friends who are accomplished on upright tell me that it feels about right, minus all the physical landmarks that they get from the body and neck joint. Of course, it's much easier to move around. One friend plays in a bluegrass band and said it would probably pass, but the NS bass has the most radical styling of the EUBs, which might be a problem.

I have a Turner Ren 5 fretless. The Acousticore strings give it a very distinct sound, but it's not like an upright at all. As someone mentioned above, it is clearly the king of fretless "mwah" - completely controllable by your touch.

I've also got a Veillette IV fretless 5-string bass. This bass is called the "Paris" now (and unfortunately got a lot more expensive). This is a really beautifully hand-crafted instrument that is great to play. Mine has Alvarez electronics, but the new ones have the Turner-Duncan DTAR system. This is a 35" scale instrument (same as Turner 5-strings) and came with nylon LaBella strings that are much more organic sounding than steels. It's a very, very nice instrument. The Rob Allens have been mentioned many times here - this is a very similar vibe.

You can get a surprisingly close sound with those LaBella strings on a Godin Acoustibass, which is usually pretty cheap when you can find them. This instrument is build like a Precision with a routed body and thin top and LR Baggs pickup. Again, clearly not a solidbody bass, but no upright.

It's hard to get a real dreadnought-style bass that sounds good even amplified. There was a Martin that was expensive and didn't sound good. The Steve Klein-designed Taylor AB was a marvel of design and construction (this is the one with a wedge-shaped body and the soundhole off to the side), but they didn't really sound good either. I have an old Kramer Ferrington bass from the 80's that actually plays really well and sounds pretty good. I liked the sound of this better than the Tacoma Thunderchief, although the Thunderchief was a very good value.

David Fung

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