Intro

Welcome to my acoustic bass guitar (ABG) blog. I am a long-time electric bass player who, after years of flirting with the idea, has finally dived headfirst into the world of ABG. Initially I had no intention of writing a blog about it. Having read my teen diaries through splayed fingers, cringing with embarrassment all the way, I already knew that some things are best left unwritten. However after a month of being into it, a blog seems like a useful and natural thing to do. There are two main reasons for this:

1. Information. When I started to research buying a good ABG there was little available. I found fragments – a videoclip here, a forum comment there – but nothing cohesive that answered the questions I had or gave first-hand insight into what I should look for.

2. Community/Inspiration. No one seems to be talking about it! When I first started playing bass I was obsessed by it, practicing for hours every day and constantly pushing myself to improve. At some point along the way that just stopped. For years I’ve been cruising – playing good music, learning a lot of other things but my bass skills have been locked in amber. Moving onto ABG has turned all that around. I’ve turned into a kid again, hurrying home to play on it, making myself late for appointments with ‘one last riff’. It’s great to have refound my passion, and I’d like to share that feeling in this blog, along with any tips and resources I can find.

So let’s see where this thing leads. Please feel welcome to leave constructive comments here. My biggest hope is that rather than being a load of narcissistic flannel, this blog can grow into a useful resource for all ABG afficianados out there. I look forward to being inspired by your questions, expertise and enthusiasm, and warmly invite you to be a part of the beginnings of a proper online ABG community.

Advertisements

About wishpoosh

Producer, musician, video Editor
This entry was posted in General and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Intro

  1. Gordon Kyd says:

    Hi Wishpoosh,
    It’s funny how your post refects my experience in searching for an ABG and more over, how slowly letting the years get between you and your bass skills.

    I have played bass for over 18 years and in that time, many basses. The early years were the most liberating, discovering the instrument and music in in general was a passion that makes my involvement in bass playing NOW seem like a pathetically pale husk by comparison. As the years wore on, my skill base rose and the bands I was in became more professional and technical. Slowly my full time work began to slightly “interfer” with my music but it wasn’t until marriage and “responsibilities” that my wonderful musical journey began to suffer and the motivational rot started setting in.

    My last band grew very well, we played festivals and recorded fantastic music yet once I left the stage or studio, my basses were never touched and impromptu mucking around on the bass was a thing of history. There was once a time that my rig was only a power switch away but now my amp would only fit in a far away and consealed spot in my house that took a good part of 5 mins to set up. That takes the edge off spontatiously picking up the bass and noodling out riffs and ideas. This was something that was never a problem in my earlier years of bass playing. Anyway, this rant will come to a relevant point soon. During the height of my bassplaying playing, I thought that an acoustic bass would be a great move and something that would inspire new ideas and my interest in the instrument. About 4 years ago, after lots of internet research and loads of conflictive information regarding which acoustic bass to go for, I seized an opportunity to pick up a new 5 string fretless Epiphone ‘El Capitan’ bass based on a picture in a local instrument store’s catalogue. From the images and brief write ups on the net, I had a romanic notion that this bass was only one gene away from being a double bass and it would be everything I expected it to be. Going against every piece of knowledge I’d learnt about the “try before you buy” theory that had held me in good stead all these years, I purchased the instrument before the store had even got one in stock. When it came in, I picked it up and took it home. The thing was unplayerble as it wasn’t set up. I went to my local bass store, which couldn’t get me this bass in the first place (probably because they only deal in quality instruments!), and they set it up as best they could. To cut a long story short, after playing it live only twice and recording with it only once, I realized that this acoustic bass was a misery to play and made me miserable playing it. It sat in it’s case unused for the last 2 years unplayed. After leaving my last band two years ago due to “musical differences”, or more to the point, my musical indifference, I thought that my bass playing days were over as my passion to just pick up the bass and play for the joy of it had just gone.

    Then recently I started thinking about acoustic basses again and how having one at arms reach would reignite my passion for the instrument. You see, my SWR head and Eden XLT 4×10 has two years worth of dust and tax files on it and I can’t see any of it moving off it in any time soon but having a loud, acoustic bass that requires no amplification is “easy” to get into the swing, thus I started my second and more patient research into ABG’s again. I even pulled out that fretless 5 string and almost enjoyed playing it. After a few weeks of research, two acoustic basses stood out that were in price bracket that was suitable for me. One was the Tacoma Thunderchief because of it’s reputation for being the “loudest” acoustic bass available (according many sources) and the other was the Warwick Alien because it was also loud acoustically but also because acoustically it sounded so great AND was a pleasure to play. The Alien was said to sound sensational plugged in too. Now all I have to do is play them and make a decision. When I do, I’ll tell you which one I chose and I can feel already that which ever one it is, some fire is starting burn again.

    This is the part of your post that I could have written word for word: –

    “When I first started playing bass I was obsessed by it, practicing for hours every day and constantly pushing myself to improve. At some point along the way that just stopped. For years I’ve been cruising – playing good music, learning a lot of other things but my bass skills have been locked in amber. Moving onto ABG has turned all that around. I’ve turned into a kid again, hurrying home to play on it, making myself late for appointments with ‘one last riff’. It’s great to have refound my passion….”

    Thank you for sharing your store mate!

  2. wishpoosh says:

    Hi Gordon

    thanks for sharing back, it’s amazing how many similarities there are in our stories! I suspect there are many more bassists out there in the same position who’d appreciate some first hand experience and observations so it’s great that you’re adding your voice to this blog.

    The Epiphone does sound grim. I can’t personally see why manufacturers try sticking a 5th string on an ABG unless it’s to extend the range up rather than down. You’re lucky enough to get a good low E – going for the low B is delusional and, as you’ve attested, a sure-fire way of putting more people off ABGs for life.

    It’ll be really interesting to see which bass you decide on and how you get on with it – definitely drop us a comment here so we can see how you get on!

  3. Gordon says:

    Hi wishpoosh,
    I remember back in 1993 going to a music trade show when my passion for playing was at it’s ignorant best and seeing the Warwick Alien Acoustic Bass for the first time. It was like looking at an exotic woman and was WAAAY out of my price bracket at the time and would have been inappropriate for my skill level also. I think from memory it was around $3500 (Australian Dollars) and being only 17 years old and still a young pup at school, it was just a fantasy. I picked up the promo facts sheet flyer (which I still have to this day) and was intrigued by the fact it was an acoustic bass and I’d never seen one before and I was also fascinated by the wooden thumb rest which I thought was an awesome idea.

    As the years past I forgot about the Alien ABG except for a few thoughts of what it would be like to play when I became a more proficient musician. I remember never seeing it again and most retailers didn’t even know it existed. It just seemed to be a thing of my memory and could have been a figment of my imagination apart from the fact I still had that promo flyer to prove it was real.

    Then only in the last few years did I see it appear again but this time in virtually every store that stocked Warwicks. I wondered where it had gone and why more than ten years on it just appeared out of no where.

    As I did a little more research into acoustic basses and the Warwick Alien, I found a some interesting facts about it. It appears that the “current” model is made in Vietnam and uses plywood and unlike the original. Here is what some one who owns the only left hand ever made has to say:

    “THE FIRST 101 ALIENS WERE MADE BY LAKEWOOD HANDMADE GUITARS AND ARE SOME OF THE BEST ACOUSTIC BASS GUITARS MADE!!! THEY ARE VERY RARE NOW AND MOSTLY OWNED BY PRO STUDIO PLAYERS. BEING HANDMADE AND RATHER LARGE THEY DO NOT TRAVEL WELL BECAUSE THEY NEED CARE IN ALL THE CLIMATE CHANGES. THEY ARE HOWEVER WONDERFUL SOUNDING. MOST ELECTRIC BASS GUITAR PLAYERS NEVER GET TO PLAY A GOOD HANDMADE ACOUSTIC BASS SO THEY REALLY DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE MISSING. THE SOUND IS VERY UNIQUE, I OWN A NUMBER OF ACOUSTIC BASSES AND THE WARWICK HAS A VERY SPECIAL TONE , KIND OF LIKE THE LOW END OF A CEMBELO . I USE BRIGHT FLATS ON MY BASS BUT IT STILL HAS LOTS OF TWANG. THE WORKMANSHIP IS GERMAN PERFECT THE LOOKS ARE TIMELESS. THE PRICE A STEAL, THESE BASSES ARE SELLING FOR $4500 IN THE US VINTAGE MARKET AND GO FAST BECAUSE THEY ARE RARE. DO NOT CONFUSE THEM WITH THE NEWER VERSION WHICH IS MADE OF PLYWOOD AND SOUNDWISE FAILS TO COME CLOSE TO THE ORGINAL. THE PLYWOOD HOWEVER TRAVELS WELL. MY ALIEN IS ALSO LOUD ENOUGH TO PLAY IN AN ACOUSTIC BAND WITH OUT AMPING. A GREAT RARE BASS.”

    Check his page at and scroll down until you see the Warwick Alien: http://www.leftybass.com/e_baesse.htm

    I’ll be back to finish this post. To be continued……

  4. Gordon says:

    …….back again.

    It seems that somewhere in the 90’s the Warwick Alien was discontinued and that’s why it disappeared all those years but it had been reissued. Just a few days ago I have played a current Vietnamese made version (brand new) and it was great, lovely acoustic tone, sweet action and wonderful playability but not as loud as I would have liked. For the most part it is an excellent instrument and a far cry better than my Epiphone ‘El Capitain’ in every way: acoustic and plugged in. However, in the back of my head as I was playing it, I kept thinking that there was a higher quality, older and original version of the bass out there, being the early 1990’s model that was made in Germany. Obviously the original models would be way more expensive being made in Germany but that is their real origin, not South East Asia. Even though the new models are made in Vietnam, the quality is still exceptional but they still retail for around $1800 AUD new (more in the US!! Wow, that’s a first!), which is a little steep for me based on the fact that I’m not playing professionally any more. I have thought of selling one of my electric basses (1995 Status Graphite Series-1, 5 String) but I know I would regret that in the future for some reason.

    Then came the opportunity and bargain that came my way in the form of the Tacoma Thunderchief ABG……..

    ….. to be continued

  5. gordmiester says:

    As promised, I have posted some of my first impressions of my Tacoma Thunderchief 5 string Acoustic Bass Guitar. Here is a link to my blog, just copy and paste this in your browser:

    http://gordmiester.wordpress.com/

    I hope you enjoy my thoughts. There are still many more comments I have yet to post regarding the Tacoma….

  6. gordmiester says:

    wishpoosh, I hope you liked the theme and style of my blog, especially the photo I took of the Thunderchief which I’ve used as the custom header. Looks a little like someone else’s 😉

  7. wishpoosh says:

    Hi Gordon

    the blog looks great, strikingly reminiscent of something else I’ve seen 😉 Looks like you even photoshopped out the bass photo’s background, just like I had to do to hide the distracting chaos of my little studio! Great idea though, your thoughtful and illuminating reviews of the Tacoma deserve a much better platform than being hidden in the comments of this blog. Best of luck, I’ll be reading your progress with interest and referring to it here as much as possible.

  8. Pingback: Acoustic Bass Guitar « In Search of Acoustic Bass Utopia

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s