Both acoustic bass and electric bass guitar come with their own attributes. Since each one has its pros and cons, it may be difficult to choose whether you should start with an acoustic or an electric bass guitar?
The acoustic bass guitar is a great choice for practicing at home without an amp or to rehearse something quitely. As a whole, acoustic basses are very boxy sounding and have unbalanced string volume, unless you invest a decent amount of money on it.
Is Acoustic Bass Good for Beginners?
Here’re some of my points that will guide you through whether or not acoustic bass is the right instrument for you?
Amplifier is not Required
One of the obvious yet key benefits of having an acoustic bass is: You don’t need to plug your bass into the amp. It’s one of the main reasons why many players buy acoustic basses in the first place.
Whether you want to take it to the camp or beach or want to travel with your bass anywhere, acoustic bass is a great option. You don’t have to lug around with the heavy amplifiers and cables and stuff, It’s just you and your bass.
Delivers Unique Sounding Tone
Apart from the “no need of amp” thing, I personally love the unique sounding tone and overall feel of them, which is almost impossible to get from an electric bass. Definitely, acoustic bass is not going to be as loud as electric bass but it’s a great experience to play an instrument that is free of any cables or wires.
If you’re just starting out with the bass guitar and looking for simplicity, acoustic bass is the best instrument for you. Check out both of these videos and See, what kind of music do you like the most, and Which music draws your soul into it?
Lightweight and Portable
Another great thing about the acoustic instruments: They come with a hollow-wooden body. Such body design not only reduces the body weight drastically but also makes the bass guitar very easier to handle.
No matter if you’re going to travel with your instrument or if you’re going to be standing while performing, a lightweight instrument can be a huge aspect, that you should definitely consider while making the decision.
Another face to this aspect is, somewhat larger body is required for clear sounding lower notes, which makes the instrument bulkier. that’s why you need to find the sweet spot between the quality of sound and the comfortable playing experience.
Higher Gauge Strings
The idea of putting metal strings on an acoustic bass might put you down due to the different sounds of metallic sliding. Usually, it’s not a huge issue but it becomes very noticeable due to the thicker strings
One more downside that arises due to thicker strings, you are required to press harder on the strings to play the clear notes, which damages both of your strings as well fretboard.
Personally, I use taper wound strings on my acoustic bass guitar. As they are made from nylon, they not only resolve the metallic sound issue but also enhances the playability and delivers you warm and detailed-rich tone.
Difference Between Acoustic Bass and Electric Bass
Although the electric bass guitar is more common in the music world due to its higher versatility and greater control over the sound. But acoustic bass has its own strengths and does come with a lot of unique values.
Here’re some of the factors that will help you to decide whether you should go with an acoustic or electric bass?
On average, electric bass guitars are more expensive as compared to acoustic basses. Although you can buy a bass guitar for under $100, but a decent electric bass cost you a minimum of $200 to $300. Whereas, acoustic basses start from about $150 and up.
When it comes to musical instruments, the price is highly influenced by different factors including brand name, quality of material used, and overall finishing. That’s why the budget is not a great factor to decide which type of bass you should go with.
Sound and Tone Versatility
Similar to the acoustic guitar, acoustic bass produce sound through the vibrations of the strings that are being amplified through the soundhole present in the body itself.
It doesn’t require any electricity to produce the sound, you can simply strum the bass and get clear-sounding tones. That’s why many players from Jazz, country, or from similar music genres prefer acoustic basses, as they allow you to produce richer tones without using even vocals or any other instruments.
On the other hand:
Electric bass works on the basis of magnetic pickups and a bass amplifier. Amplifiers not only help you to deliver louder sound but also provides you with so many tonal variation features.
You can literally use electric bass for any music genre, All you need to do is adjust the EQ settings and you’re ready to band. that’s the reason behind the popularity of electric basses and why most musicians stick with it.
Playability and Feel
The electric bass definitely has a clear edge over the acoustic one in terms of ease in playability.
Generally, An acoustic bass comes with a relatively wider body design combined with a thicker neck profile. If you’re an absolute beginner player, this factor will play a huge role in your learning curve.
Also, you need to press the strings a little bit harder to fret the notes, as there’s no amplifier is connected and sound production solely depends on the soundhole.
You need to understand, everything will fall into the place with consistent practice. The one thing where acoustic bass ace the electric one is the body weight. Most of the electric basses are solid body basses, unlike hollow wooden-body acoustic basses.
Hollow body drastically cut off the weight of the bass and make it much easier to handle while playing even for beginner players.
Difference in the Strings
Both standard acoustic and electric basses come with 4 strings made up of metal, but acoustic bass has little high gauge (thicker) strings that create more vibrations and thus a more loud sound.
On the flip side: In electric bass, magnetic pickups are responsible for the loudness of the tone, and thus thinner bass strings are used to enhance your overall playing experience.
Even though acoustic bass sounds louder than unplugged electric bass, but still it is not even close to the bass that is connected to the amplifier. Even if you’re going to perform for few people or in a smaller room, it’s difficult to hear some of the lower notes on the bass due to its relatively smaller body size.
That’s where acoustic-electric bass models came into the picture:
What about the Acoustic-Electric Bass?
Acoustic-electric bass models come with a hollow-wooden body (similar to the acoustic models) in addition to the magnetic pickups that allow you to connect with the bass amplifier.
That means you can play it as both acoustic and electric bass, depends on the situation and your preference. A decent acoustic-electric bass can take you through so many situations including jamming with other guitarists, small gigs as well as along at-home practice time.
What’s the Best Acoustic Bass for Beginners?
Although I’m not much into the acoustic basses, but I personally have Ibanez PCBE12 4-string bass that I brought around 1.5 years back.
It’s a great-priced model that comes with pretty solid-body construction and delivers a warm-sounding tone. I really like the way it projects the sound. Also, it features an under-saddle pickup combined with a preamp system that provides you wide tonal flexibility for your sound.
Can you Slap on an Acoustic Bass?
You could slap on an acoustic bass but it’s not going to sound good. Acoustic basses are not designed for the slapping playing technique because slap tone majorly relies on the punchiness of the tone which is difficult to get with an acoustic bass.
Can you Put Electric Bass Strings on Acoustic Bass?
You can put electric bass strings on an acoustic bass but you won’t get the unique sounding tone for which acoustic bass guitars are popular. Usually, acoustic basses come with thicker bronze strings that provide you with significant resonance, unlike nickel strings.
Can You Play Acoustic Bass without Amp?
You can play acoustic bass guitar without using an amplifier because acoustic bass produces sound through its hollow-wooden body and not through the pickups. The vibration of the strings are being transferred and amplified using a soundbox present in the body itself.
Are Acoustic Bass Guitars Worth it?
Even though acoustic basses are not considered as a great option to play in bands or to jam with other louder guitars or drums, It is a great sounding instrument that delivers you detailed-rich, warm tone that is suitable for blues and jazz kind of stuff.
All I can say is, if you’re going to buy an acoustic bass guitar, you should be clear about your budget, skill level, and music style.
If you find this article helpful and have some insights to share with me, feel free to put it down in the comment section. Also, do share this helpful article with your fellow friends. Happy Music!
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