Best Acoustic Bass Guitars: In-Depth Reviews
Most of us have probably played an acoustic guitar at some point in our lives, either at a party or in school. But it seems unfair for only 6 stringed guitarists to experience the stripped back, raw sound of an acoustic instrument. That’s where the acoustic bass guitar comes in.
An acoustic bass guitar provides you with a richer tone than that of a typical bass guitar, making it the ideal instrument for jazz and country songs. Or, if those genres aren’t your style, then you may like the ease of playing an acoustic bass guitar. Simply pick it up, kick back and you can jam to your favourite songs with ease.
Indeed, the acoustic bass guitar is not for everyone, refer to the buyer’s guide below to determine if this is the right type of guitar for you. For those musicians who would love an acoustic bass guitar, you are going to want to buy the best model for you.
I would go with the Fender Cd-60sce beginner acoustic-electric bass guitar. Its deep tones resonate with the beats I’m aiming for and makes my stripped back rock covers all that more impactful. Especially when paired with the right amp and after I have twiddled with the in-built treble controls. No longer will I be left out or unheard during acoustic sessions, and neither will you.
Top-Rated Acoustic Bass Guitars Reviewed
|Boulder Creek Guitars Ebr1-Tb4
- Top: Spruce
- Back: Mahogany
- Strings: 4
Now I know what you’re thinking, how can a beginner’s guitar of any kind be one of the best on the market?
Well, it was a former Fender employee who collaborated with the famous Ernie Ball in the 1950s to make the first-ever acoustic bass guitar. Therefore, it is only fitting that a Fender model sits at the top of the ranks for best acoustic bass guitar.
As for the beginner’s label of this model, it deserves a more endearing name. It is mostly called a beginner’s acoustic bass guitar as it has a tapered neck and more comfortable strings to make it easier for beginners to play. That being said, the tone that this guitar can produce is far beyond that of a typical beginner’s model.
The only issue is that, like most acoustic bass guitars, you will not get much of a sound without an amp. You will still get some sound if you’re sitting on your sofa practising by yourself, but you will not be heard over other instruments without added amplification.
Luckily, Fender has kept the need for an amp in mind when designing the Cb-60sce bass guitar. They have cleverly incorporated typically electric elements like an in-built tuner and treble control. So not only will your bass playing be heard but you can also alter the brightness of your sound to give your music a slightly different sound.
– Designed to be easier to play
– Has a beginner’s price tag
– Offers a professional tone
– Needs an amp to be hear
- Top: Spruce
- Back: Mahogany
- Strings: 4
As with any acoustic instrument, the best sounds are going to be delivered when the best materials are used. Takamine knows this, which is clear if you have ever had the chance to enjoy one of their 6-stringed acoustic guitars. Their Gb30ce acoustic bass guitar received the same quality treatment.
Mahogany has been used for the back and sides of the guitar, delivering a rich sound while the spruce top offers a sense of luxury and grandness. Both in sound and style.
Likewise, the fingerboard has been manufactured to the typical high quality of Takamine, complete with a comfortable rosewood neck. While you may be paying a higher price for the Gb30ce acoustic bass guitar’s luxury quality, you may find it to be worth every penny.
What sells this acoustic bass though is the electrical elements built to suit your style of sound. A TK-40B preamp has been included which gives you a three-band EQ, allowing you to adjust your tone accordingly once the guitar has been rigged up to an amp.
Not only that, but complete control over your sound with a volume control means that your acoustic bass guitar will never be drowned out again. Especially so with the additional bass boost, adding that extra thump to your rhythm. A good bass should be felt and heard, a rule that Takamine has followed and applied when making this acoustic bass guitar model.
– Hard to match the quality design
– A range of pre-amp elements
– Complete tonal control
– Far more expensive than other models
– A good amp is needed for maximum use
- Top: Mahogany
- Body: Spruce
- Back: Basswood
- Neck: Mahogany
- Fretboard: Mahogany
- Strings: 4
What sets this Boulder Creek acoustic bass guitar apart from others on the market is its noticeable larger body. Some descriptions even go as far as to call the bass’s body a jumbo size. The reasoning behind this design is to combat the typical lack of volume that usually comes with acoustic bass guitars.
Without an amplifier to hand, the chances are that acoustic bass guitar players will be played over rather than played with. To rectify this, Boulder Creek Guitars took a look at other acoustic bass type instruments, like the orchestral double bass, and designed their Ebr1-Tb4 bass guitar around them.
The double bass can sound louder without an amp because of its body size, hence why the body of the Ebr1-Tb4 has a larger than normal design. This acoustic bass guitar also features not one, but two sound holes positioned both on top of the body and on the front for maximum volume output without an amp.
Much like an electric bass guitar, the top of the body on this Boulder Creek acoustic bass guitar has been cut away to allow you access to the 22-fret design. Bass guitar players often lack a full fretboard when they play an acoustic bass, but the Boulder Creek Ebr1-Tb4 makes sure that you can express your full musical range without limitations.
That being said, there is only so loud that an acoustic bass guitar can be when the deeper sounding notes are played. So, while the unique build does amplify sound in a way that other models may not, there is still going to be a limit to how loud you can go without an amplifier.
– A louder acoustic sound
– Full 22-fret design
– Jumbo body can be uncomfortable
– Certainly more expensive
Acoustic Bass Buyer’s Guide
For many bass players, you may not have ever had the chance to use an acoustic bass guitar. Unlike 6 stringed acoustic guitars, which at this point have become a mainstream item, acoustic basses are not as popular and therefore are not as easy to get a hold of. As such, you may not entirely understand how they work. Let me explain.
The first thing to know (and which I have hinted at throughout this article) is that acoustic bass guitars do not create enough volume alone. The notes are too low and the acoustic body too small to be heard and appreciated like typical acoustic guitars.
To avoid disappointment, it is important to keep this in mind when you are shopping for an acoustic bass guitar for the first time. Especially if you are planning on buying an acoustic bass for live concerts or to record music, then you will need an amplifier that can enhance the bass’s sound as well as volume.
No matter what type of guitar you play, most arguably the most important element of the instrument is the strings. Most acoustic bass guitars come with strings that are significantly heavier than an electric bass so that more vibrations can be generated when plucked or strummed. Due to the thickness of the strings, they are harder to play so be sure to prepare for calluses on your fingers.
If you have never played the bass guitar before but want to buy specifically an acoustic bass guitar, make sure to get a model that is aimed at beginners. Special adjustments would have been made so that you will not have to press the strings as hard, and you can focus on practising your rhythm rather than tearing up your fingers.
Usually, beginner models will be less expensive than other models as they will not necessarily use the best quality materials. Instead, brands will focus on how to make their acoustic bass guitars easier to play for those with little experience, e.g., softer strings.
Speaking of strings, there are some models like the Gold Tone 4 String Bass Guitar Mbass-25 that are well known for their use of silicon rubber strings. Gold Tone are not the first brand to have used rubber strings as Fender have also featured them on some of their earlier acoustic bass guitars.
A lot of bass players swear off of silicone rubber strings on their acoustic guitars as they bend extremely easily and can cause difficulty when playing. However, others love these strings because of the radically unique sound that they create. I would advise that you try and find a music store that supplies acoustic bass guitars with rubber strings so that you can get a real feel for the instrument. That way you can decide if rubber strings are the way to go for you.
Another key component to consider when buying an acoustic bass guitar is the electronic components that have been built into its design. As mentioned, you will need an amp if you are planning on playing your acoustic bass with your band or for a live concert. For the acoustic bass to create that deep, desired sound when plugged into an amp, you will need to make sure that the model has good pick-ups.
Much like with electric bass guitars, the pick-ups will boost your volume instantly with the use of an amp which is what you want. They will also help to ensure that the deep tones of your bass strings will be heard clearly.
Simply put, if an acoustic bass guitar does not have any type of pick-ups built into it then you should not buy the guitar. Unless somehow the designers have figured out a way to amplify the sound without any electric component which would be great.
To help make an acoustic bass guitar suit your style, manufactures will include various customisable electric parts that you can alter on the guitar. Changing the setting will therefore change the sound of your acoustic bass guitar.
The most frequently used component is the volume dial so that you can make your bass louder or quieter without having to alter the amp directly every time. Some will include bass boosting dials which you can fiddle around with to give you a deeper, more tonal sound (ideal for if you are planning on playing a live acoustic concert and still want the audience to experience some of that heart-thumping bass).
Of course, the deciding factor for most people when it comes to buying any new instrument is the price tag. Unfortunately, due to their scarcity compared to other instruments, acoustic bass guitars often come at a higher-than-average cost.
Your best bet is to ensure that you know your reason for wanting an acoustic bass guitar in the first place. When you figure out your reason for wanting an acoustic bass then you can decide what you want features you want it to include.
You may decide that a full 22 fret acoustic bass is unnecessary for your music, so you may not need to aim for the higher-priced models. Likewise, you may want a guitar that has a range of customisable pre-amp options to create a unique sound just for your audience. The choice is really up to you. But as a rule: the more features, the higher the price.
To summarise, in my own opinion with my background in rock music, I would highly recommend the Fender Cd-60sce beginner acoustic-electric bass guitar. As I have mentioned, typically the more features that an instrument has, the higher the price. But with this model, you will get a better than average acoustic bass while still having the ease of a beginner’s guitar.
The key thing to remember when buying an acoustic bass guitar is the need for an amplifier otherwise you will not be able to properly hear what you play due to the thicker, harder strings creating a deeper sound. That being said, make sure to get an amp that will harmonise with your acoustic bass rather than work against it.
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