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Acoustic and acoustic-electric bass guitars

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Acoustic and acoustic-electric bass guitars
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User reviews on Acoustic or acoustic-electric bass guitar products

Takamine B-10 Archtop (Takamine - B10)

By MGR/Golem, 15/03/2009
Playing in small ensemble, no drums, and usually small venue as well, I can really hear my bass, so this baby is the ultimate. However, it's a pretty BIG baby. It's 34" 4-string and it barely fits in its crib, a hardshell cello case !

Unable to afford a new one, I got a mint used one for about half of the discount new price. I got it from the GC in Nashville ... so it's got a few good Nashville vibes in it !

This is the reall deal FL URB mimic of the bass "guitar" world. It's built like a violin family instrument, not like an acoustic geetar. About the only thing that is not 'fiddle famerly' is the lack of deep fiddle-like reverse curves to allow arco playing. The out line of the body is like a single-cut geetar so you can actually put it across your leg and play it horizontally.

On a strap, it hangs vertically. It comes with NO strap buttons, so I installed them to allow vertical on-strap playing. It also comes with a SERIOUS end pin for stand-up [not like the Gibby-Epi joke of an endpin].

The neck is like an URB neck scaled down to 34". It has the huge profile, tight radius, wide spacing, and high bridge of and URB so pizz-URB cadence and playing style are imposed. It has the long tail piece and true viola-style archtop build, so the it has the sound to complement the style.

The tail piece is more advanced than the traditional viola type. It's two parallel pieces of differing length [like a jazz guitar] but there is another feature adjusts the pressure the tailpiece bears onto the top of the body. It's NOT a true trapeze or viola style. The pivot is relocated so it's above the archtop and about 2" inward ["neckward"] from the rear [butt end] edge of the archtop. Anywayz, it's not just a pivoted tail piece ... it's also a lever. On eend has the string anchors and the other end bears on the body [via a brass plate]. The bearing pressure is adjustable and affects the tone and resonance. Verrrry cool.

It has a floating bridge, anchored only by string pressure. Therefore, there are no side markings on the neck. The headstock is kinfa 'Giant Gibson', IOW not a fiddle famerly scroll.

It has a piezo and Takamines top of the line solid state module with reverb, user presets, etc. It can be quickly and easily interchanged with their OTHER top line module, a tube driven thing, which is now standard on newer B10s.

Height adjuster wheels would be welcome on the bridge.

I replaced the tolex "bullet" case with a cello case, cuz the "bullet" case design just doesn't scale up to this size in a manner that is user friendly or lightweight.

The digital EQ-pre runs on two AA batteries that last about 10 hrs. Not expensive, but inconvenient, and the battery door is not attached. If you drop it and step on it, you are all done playing. I carry a spare which was "no-charge" from Takamine, so I guess they are aware of this.

Instead of a bass bar and sound post, it has two bass bars. Compared to a cello, the body is about 3" shallower and the neck joint is about 6" closer to the butt end, but the width is the same. Overall length of the whole ax is the same, cuz the scale is 4" longer. Quality is similar to any decent plywood URB, and the finish is more like a guitar, complete with binding. Bridge is much like any wooden archtop bridge, but huge. Bridge has not heght adjuster wheels, and the piezo is INSIDE it. It does have intonation compensated shape for the saddle area.

There is a removeable hatch on the rear in case you need to service anything inside.

The neck DOES have a truss rod.

This is an amazing ax. It is the furthest thing imaginable from a general purpose bass guitar, and even very dissimilar to any "acoustic bass guitar", but if you have a context in which to play it, it's quite versatile in its own way, and very closely challenges an URB at half the size.

It is the only 'production model' bass of its genre. The [2008] street price is about $3K. All others are luthier-built basses in the $5K to $10K range [google Bill Moll archtop bass]. TWIMC, it's built in Japan.

None of my minor complaints cast enuf shadow on the special qualities of this well made ax to deprive it of a '5' rating, which is not to say I'm comparing it to the luthier-built giant archtops. This is the only "factory" model, and it's built as well as any Martin geetar, plywood URB, or other top shelf, non-custom, acoustic stringed instrument. A '5' it truly is !

This review was originally published on

Carvin AC40-FL Semi Acoustic Fretless (Carvin - AC40 Fretless)

By MGR/Golem, 18/08/2011
This is the basic version ... no binding or fancy burst finish, just clear glossy. It appears to be a cedar top on a mahogany body with mahogany neck. FB is ebony. I play Olde Skool: American Songbook, non-rocky blues, etc. I play in two small ensembles, both without any drummer, so the voicing of my ax is plainly audible, even to average listeners, IOW listeners who aren't 100% focused on our playing.

I found it on the GC online USED listings. I ordered it and it turned out to be a keeper. Keeper qualities, that can only be appreciated once you get the ax under your fingers ? OK, how can you NOT luuuvvv a 6 lb bass guitar ? Well, acoarst it hasta sound good to be a keeper, and it has a cool 'deep guitar' sound. Not URB-like, in contrast to,frinstintz, the Godin A4 ... but like a woody voiced 'deep guitar'. And it looks cool, in a simple 'Shaker Woodcrafter' sorta way.

<a href="GC, you know the URL">GC, you know the URL</a>

Cool features, beyond those mentioned above: 2+2 headstock [tiltback], string-thru-body, all mahogany plus an ebony FB [worth mentioning twice], simple 2-knob controls, 2-octave 34' scale, and acoarst all for reasonable price.

The lower 'waist' curve is a bit too far back, so there's extra reach to the low notes for sit-down playing. The string spacing is a bit narrowing than the standard 19mm spacing of almost all 4-string basses. It's about the same as a Berger, so not a huge problem to play ... but a wider neck would mean more mahogany and ebony singing along with the strings.

Overall quality seems up to reliable gigging level, and cosmetically it's OK. There's some clouding of the glossy finish ... not surface hazing from careless cleaning but a slightly 'milky' look instead of 'water clear' on a couple of the curves on the sides. Everything fits together without any odd seams or rough spots. It has a set neck, and I prefer a bolt-on neck for FL, especially where there's a non-adjustable bridge [so I can tilt the neck to tweak the set-up].

The tone is,as mentioned above, woody 'deep guitar' ... meaning it has a slight twang, even with black nylon flats. It has it's own voice, neither 'acoustic bass' nor typical 'electric bass'. The woody component of its voice varies with the tone control and with the EQ of the amp, and is not so strongly present that it can't disappear almost completely at the deepest EQ. The overall package of voice and features, and looks, and acoarst price/value is excellent, for my tastes. You can get a Godin for similar money, and that is far more 'acoustic' [I have one] but is also much larger/heavier. I dig them both, each for its own qualities. I'm rating it a 4 ... it's definitely above average, but a 5 would be a Rob Allen or a Rick Turner.

This review was originally published on

The fretless version (Kala - UBASSFL-1)

By stompboxjon, 01/11/2012
The Kala U-Bass is a 4 string fretless bass guitar that comes in a mahogany finish. The U-Bass is made for the road; it even fits carry on standards for airport regulations. The do make one that is not fretless too. This right handed bass guitar has a beautiful finish on it that will look great no matter where you are playing it at. It does actually look a lot more expensive than it really is. The U-Bass only cost 599 USD and can be purchased at all of your favorite guitar or music stores and online. The finger board material is Rosewood and so is the bridge or tailpiece. It has custom hipshot tuners and it has 1 pickup. There is no neck pickup or middle pick.


The U-Bass does come with a case; it is a hard foam case that will protect your guitar from everyday travel damage and scratches. You will need to hear the U-Bass in order to fully get a grasp on how great it really is. The first time that I heard this bass I just closed my eyes and let the sound of it sell me on it. I knew right away that I would end up purchasing this guitar sooner or later.


The sound and tones are great, they suite all styles of music that I am involved in. The bass is very clean and full.


Overall, there are a lot of basses that I have used and a lot of them I like a lot. The only thing that can really separate the U-Bass from some of my other basses is the fact that it has a very good tone and an amazing finish on it. It is also pretty light and well made. For the price, it is a great investment for any bass player beginner to the pro level.

News Acoustic or acoustic-electric bass guitar

[NAMM] Tombstone offers acoustic-electric guitars

Published on 01/15/15
The Tombstone brand is known for its instrument cases, but ESP will also design acoustic-electric guitars under the same name.

Forums Acoustic or acoustic-electric bass guitar