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Stub Mandrel

Low-end Acoustic Basses - best buys?

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18 minutes ago, BassApprentice said:

Regarding strings - while not cheap LaBella do some very bright Tapewounds. Specifically the White Nylon/Copper Nylons. Zero finger noise but still bright enough. 

 

Nobody seems to ever mention them but I really like the Fender 9120m black tapewounds. Really bright for tapes, more like rounds with the tone rolled back slightly rather than thumpy flats territory, almost feel slippery with the glossy tape and you should be able to pick them up for around £25. On one bass I swapped them for D'Addario half rounds as the Fender tapes were too bright, I've had LaBella white nylons on the same bass and they had less top end than the D'Addario half rounds. 

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I loved the Michael Kelly Dragonfly fretless I had a few years back. Cost something like £275. I sold it because the scale length was longer than my other basses and that, combined with the fretboard inlay, meant I was never sure where I was on it. I replaced it with a Warwick Alien Dlx fretless but to be honest I preferred the MK. 

My sole acoustic bass these days is also an old Alien Standard with a neck like a pencil. Cost me £200 used.  I’ve never played another with such a thin neck. In 2 minds about the strings; it currently has bronze but thinking of trying flats or tapes. I really enjoy playing it, although the amplified sound is a bit meh, hence the possible string change. 

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Assuming then that it will be used with some form of amplification, I’d recommend the Washburn AB20 or AB10. The slimmer body means it is easier to manage, and the neck / playability / sound of mine is great. I’ve had it for over 20 years and tried a few other types since then, but nothing that makes me want to swap it. Always strung it with Fender bronzewounds ( made by D’Addario?) but after reading this thread I quite fancy trying some other strings now.

Friend of mine has an Ibanez (not sure what model but was around £200 I think) and it’s pretty good, especially for the money.

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11 minutes ago, casapete said:

Assuming then that it will be used with some form of amplification, I’d recommend the Washburn AB20 or AB10. The slimmer body means it is easier to manage, and the neck / playability / sound of mine is great. I’ve had it for over 20 years and tried a few other types since then, but nothing that makes me want to swap it. Always strung it with Fender bronzewounds ( made by D’Addario?) but after reading this thread I quite fancy trying some other strings now.

Friend of mine has an Ibanez (not sure what model but was around £200 I think) and it’s pretty good, especially for the money.

Also one for sale on here for £275 incl hard case.

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32 minutes ago, BassApprentice said:

Or this Ibanez Talman? 

Screenshot_20190909_201742.jpg

Don't... anyway only a fool would call that 'low end' whatever teh price tag 🙂

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Well, I got this:

s-l1600.jpg

Minor scuffing, but essentially a £400-£500 bass of £70 🙂

I like the sound and feel of Tanglewoods, but it might need a bit of a setup, if it hasn't been done already. MIght put black tapewounds on it.

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On 03/09/2019 at 22:41, Maude said:

Nobody seems to ever mention them but I really like the Fender 9120m black tapewounds. Really bright for tapes, more like rounds with the tone rolled back slightly rather than thumpy flats territory, almost feel slippery with the glossy tape and you should be able to pick them up for around £25.

I used them on my P Bass for ages, really interesting sound from them and they feel great too. 

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7 minutes ago, uk_lefty said:

I used them on my P Bass for ages, really interesting sound from them and they feel great too. 

I use D’addario tapes on my main basses , but I bought the fender ones to try and they are still in the packet because I didn’t like the look of the glossy finish,   Does the gloss wear off after time? 🙂

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15 minutes ago, uk_lefty said:

I used them on my P Bass for ages, really interesting sound from them and they feel great too. 

I'm assuming they reduce the handling noise on an acoustic...?

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2 minutes ago, Reggaebass said:

I use D’addario tapes on my main basses , but I bought the fender ones to try and they are still in the packet because I didn’t like the look of the glossy finish,   Does the gloss wear off after time? 🙂

Can't say I noticed them being especially glossy. They don't feel slippery or sticky or anything. I use fast fret anyway so the stickiness or lack of is probably influenced more by that. They don't shine a lot under stage lights if thats the worry? They're great value, I had them on my bass for over a year and have saved them back to use again. Think I got them for less than £15 but it was a fair while ago so I could be mistaken. 

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1 hour ago, Stub Mandrel said:

I'm assuming they reduce the handling noise on an acoustic...?

Yes, no finger noise at all. They almost sound like rounds but don't have any of the clatter on an acoustic. 

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I borrowed a Fender from a friend two weeks before an acoustic gig to get used to playing it. Sounded ok at home while definitely different to my usual P bass. On the night of the gig though I found it to be a pretty disappointing experience. Admittedly the monitoring was poor and while I could hear both acoustic guitars and small drum kit the bass was totally lost and I played every song from memory without hearing anything.  It did kill any GAS I had for an acoustic bass and I'd rather use something like a Horner Shorty properly amplified were we to do the acoustic show again. 

 

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11 hours ago, NoRhino said:

I borrowed a Fender from a friend two weeks before an acoustic gig to get used to playing it. Sounded ok at home while definitely different to my usual P bass. On the night of the gig though I found it to be a pretty disappointing experience. Admittedly the monitoring was poor and while I could hear both acoustic guitars and small drum kit the bass was totally lost and I played every song from memory without hearing anything.  It did kill any GAS I had for an acoustic bass and I'd rather use something like a Horner Shorty properly amplified were we to do the acoustic show again. 

 

I'm surprised; all of the acoustic guitars/basses with a fitted preamp I have tried have similar output to a normal active bass, let alone a passive one.

Was it just a lack of volume or a lack of 'presence'?

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6 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

Was it just a lack of volume or a lack of 'presence'?

Lack of everything. We didn't provide the PA. We did discuss it amongst ourselves afterwards and decided that if we do an acoustic set again we need to be in total control of the PA and do a full soundcheck.  You'd have thought that 40+ years of gigging would have  told us that anyway. :scratch_one-s_head:People in the audience said we sounded good and they could hear everything.

I also managed to bruise the inside of my forearm where it rubbed against the bass body.  Mibbe acoustic basses and I just aren't meant to be.  GAS is still at a peep.

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1 hour ago, NoRhino said:

I also managed to bruise the inside of my forearm where it rubbed against the bass body. 

I'm more worried about guitarist's nipple... may have to get a pair of pasties!

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It will be six weeks before I can get my hands on this bass. In the meantime my brother has traumatised me with a video of him playing it upside down (he's a lefty and somehow he can play them both ways up) and worse ... he says his partner has threatened to stick a plectrum holder on it - wrong in so many ways!

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On 12/09/2019 at 18:24, Stub Mandrel said:

I'm more worried about guitarist's nipple...

I’m thinking of tasking @Jabba_the_gut to build his basses with a tit chamfer, I’m sure it would be a money spinner.

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