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lksmks792

What if ... Fender Acoustasonic bass?

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In case you missed it: Fender have over the last couple of years released a series of 'Acoustasonic' guitars. These (kind of) hollowbodied instruments (first a tele, later a strat and recently a jazzmaster) have electric-like body shapes and necks but feature an array of electronics to emulate several different acoustic guitars. There's also a regular electric guitar pickup on board. 

I've never seen one in the flesh let alone played one and I'm not really interested enough to buy one (they're about 1500 euros/pounds if I'm not mistaken) but they do seem like an interesting alternative to the usual choice between acoustics/electrics to me. If you want to know what they sound like: Fender seem to have sent out the last jazzmaster model to about every guitarist youtuber they could find. At least in the videos they sound pretty convincing. There's quite a lot of marketing to this of course, but the fact that they've released two more models after the first one at least indicates the original acoustasonic telecaster hasn't been an utter sales disaster.

All of this made me think: what if Fender would release an acoustasonic bass? What would it look like, could it work, what sounds would be in it, would any one be interested in it? Looking at the guitars, there could be an array of possibilities for bass sounds (like upright/fretless/shortscale emulation? who knows).

Anyway I thought I'd just put this here, in case any one was interested in the thought experiment.

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........  I never thought of this,  I'm gutted and down trodden, ( dabs corner of eyes),   I've just bought an Ibanez semi acoustic for a different sound to my short scale Gretsch.  YES,  certainly for a gigging musician that could really work,  never mind us all having a shed full of different instruments,   one for each song.

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If only Fender had released a hollow bodied bass in the past.... #FenderHMT

bursthmt-angle2.jpg

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Not sure about this FMT, but has the more usual Fender headstock.

e2919a8379bed715e5e9e5c8d4a634a2.jpg

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They're nice looking basses!

I think the difference with the Acoustasonic is the digital doohickery inside. It focuses on a wide range of acoustic voices but also has emulated clean and distorted Telecaster sounds in there, to go straight to a P.A.

I think the closest thing would be the Line6 Variax, which had a lot of different bass voices built in. It seemed like a great idea, but didn't really seem to catch on. Digital is slowly becoming more commonplace not just in effects but also amp emulation, so I wouldn't be surprised if things like the Acoustasonic and Variax do eventually start to appear again.

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1 hour ago, Dood said:

Not sure about this FMT, but has the more usual Fender headstock.

e2919a8379bed715e5e9e5c8d4a634a2.jpg

I'd forgotten about those. Nice looking bass imo, very much my thing. Japanese, iirc? A reissue of one of those would be nice as well.

The difference with acoustasonic instruments is, as Jus Lukin pointed out, about the electronics on the inside (modelling if you will). The Variax must have been of some inspiration when Fender were developing it but the execution seems to have been better than Line6's (or at least the sales figures are). Might have had something to do with marketing and the Fender name tag of course. 

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3 hours ago, Jus Lukin said:

I think the closest thing would be the Line6 Variax, which had a lot of different bass voices built in. It seemed like a great idea, but didn't really seem to catch on. Digital is slowly becoming more commonplace not just in effects but also amp emulation, so I wouldn't be surprised if things like the Acoustasonic and Variax do eventually start to appear again.

I think it kind of is around and about but in pedals and not onboard the instrument. My 10plus year old boss bass pedal had effects to make a rosewood board sound like maple, passive sound like active, single coils sound like humbuckers... The effects processing is out there, am sure someone could make a Helix patch that makes a precision sound like a Stingray. I just don't think the instrument needs it onboard because of this.

With a guitar I think it "translates" easier, visually and practically, to have the acoustic body emulating an electric rather than a bass. However I would be happy if they made one, it could be a collectors item! 

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Posted (edited)

My friend has just bought a Strat Acoustasonic and loves it. Thanks to lockdown I’m yet to have a go. I have the TaylorT5Z which is similar to the Fender and predates. Has more trad controls - acoustic pickup and 2 pickups and I’ve thought several times that this would make a good bass.

I also have a Spector Spectorcore which is pretty much what we’re talking about. Semi hollow body (but not much acoustic sound) Fishman piezo in the bridge and a magnetic pickup. I like it, but I notice that it seems to have disappeared from the Spector website, which probably means they’ve stopped making it. 
I’m guessing that Fender and Spector found that the market for such basses is pretty minimal. There is still the Ibanez one but that does have the magnetic pickup.

EC8FC486-4923-4004-B39E-501973B4A00D.jpeg

Edited by Grahambythesea
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Anyone else forseeing a setting on the Fender Acoustasonic Jazz which produces a slap tone when you're just playing it normally

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Carvin do a very 'Fender Acoustisonic' type bass:

(Stock picture, not my bass!)

Screenshot_20210322-202014_Chrome.thumb.jpg.60cc60dca92c276597a9cbef4a08269b.jpg

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I've owned both the Fender (above) and a Spectorcore (also above) - been disappointed by both. 

They seem to have many owners, for a short time and get moved on. Mine eventually sold - via my buyer - to somebody on the continent - hopefully they have a better experience than I did.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, TheGreek said:

I've owned both the Fender (above) and a Spectorcore (also above) - been disappointed by both. 

They seem to have many owners, for a short time and get moved on. Mine eventually sold - via my buyer - to somebody on the continent - hopefully they have a better experience than I did.

I always found that, if a bass was meant to be used for its acoustic qualities, it would need a soundboard similar in size to an upright. I’m yet to hear an “acoustic bass” that doesn’t sound like a cardboard box with rubber bands on...

Edited by skej21
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Some years ago, when I started going to open mic, the guys suggested I got an acoustic bass. I tried loads from inexpensive Ibanez to Taylor and Martins. None of them were worth playing without an amp. So |I bought a semi-acoustic. I played it for quite a few weeks but realised that I prefered playing my usual bass. Acoustic basses looked great on Unplugged but suck acoustically. Maybe we should call them hollow bodied.

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These instruments really aren't anything to do with acoustic guitars, though they can impersonate them. 

 

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Posted (edited)

I quite like the idea of the acoustasonic, I can see it coming into it's own for people who like to make loops.

But at the same time you could get a lot of the way there with a solid body electric with EQ and drive pedals.

Edited by Cato

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On 22/03/2021 at 21:03, Ricky Rioli said:

Anyone else forseeing a setting on the Fender Acoustasonic Jazz which produces a slap tone when you're just playing it normally

Gawd, what on earth would happen if you then played slap on it?

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My experience of electro-acoustic basses have all been disappointing. The larger body ones, not the thin line types mostly shown here  

They all need plugged in, and once plugged in, they do the thing that solid body guitars were designed to avoid - they feed back. Plus the bridges are usually not that easily adjustable. A fun idea that doesn’t work out in my experience.

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16 hours ago, Ricky Rioli said:

Here's a rather more useful review

 

Great review.  When I first saw them I thought "Ew!", but it sounds great! 

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1 hour ago, funkle said:

My experience of electro-acoustic basses have all been disappointing. The larger body ones, not the thin line types mostly shown here  

They all need plugged in, and once plugged in, they do the thing that solid body guitars were designed to avoid - they feed back. Plus the bridges are usually not that easily adjustable. A fun idea that doesn’t work out in my experience.

Thanks for the reminder - I'm often tempted by low priced acoustic basses on eBay even though I know I'll hate it. Your reminder just reinforced my resolve against impulse buying one.

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The acoustasonic guitars aren't really meant to be played acoustically, I think the 'acoustic styling' is mostly there because the modelling is based on acoustic guitars.

If fender would produce an 'acoustasonic' bass, I think the modelling would rather be focused on different styles of bass (upright, fretless, P/J, short scale, ...). It wouldn't have to be semi-hollow.

Imho semi hollow electric guitars (like thinline teles) are mostly about aesthetics and lightness. A semi hollow bass wouldn't actually sound very different from a solid bodied one (if you just put magnetic pickups in it, I mean). And as has been said above: there's a good reason upright basses are so big - if they could be made half the size, they probably would be. I'm actually surprised so many manufacterers still produce such an array of acoustic basses, given the fact nobody seems to really like them.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, lksmks792 said:

The acoustasonic guitars aren't really meant to be played acoustically, I think the 'acoustic styling' is mostly there because the modelling is based on acoustic guitars.

I agree that the actual unamped sound probably wasn't a major design consideration. But with the use of piezo pickups, having an acoustic-style pin bridge sitting on a thin spruce top probably helps those parts of the instrument to vibrate in a similar enough way to an acoustic guitar to produce a recognisably 'acoustic' tone through the piezo.

Edited by Beer of the Bass
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53 minutes ago, Beer of the Bass said:

I agree that the actual unamped sound probably wasn't a major design consideration. But with the use of piezo pickups, having an acoustic-style pin bridge sitting on a thin spruce top probably helps those parts of the instrument to vibrate in a similar enough way to an acoustic guitar to produce a recognisably 'acoustic' tone through the piezo.

I completely agree. Iirc there's also a mic picking up any tapping etc one the body, to allow for percussive elements in loops etc. 

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