While many bass guitarists thrive on electric basses, acoustic bass guitars still hold quite a bit of charm. Unlike the electric bass guitar, which is solid body, the acoustic bass guitar is hollow bodied, similar to the acoustic guitar. Unlike acoustic guitar however, the acoustic bass typically requires amplification since it is often too quiet to hear by itself. Below we have given you an overview of what we consider to be the best acoustic bass guitars available.
An Acoustic Bass Guitar Primer
If you’re unfamiliar with acoustic basses, a fair way to think of them is just as a big, bulky acoustic guitar. They have a wide hollow body with a soundhole, just as an acoustic guitar might.
In order to get those nice low bass tones, acoustic basses tend to be pretty heavy. Not to mention bulky.
This is one of the first big things to think about when purchasing an acoustic bass. Just how much bass do you want? And how “acoustic” are you hoping for?
The truth is, most of the sounds we associate with the bass guitar rely quite heavily on amplification. To actually get that thump, to have that commanding low end, you really need big speakers to move a lot of air.
So when it comes to an acoustic bass, the only way to move enough air to even get into that register is by using huge thick strings and having a beefy body with a lot of room for it to resonate.
That means you’ll be holding quite a bit of wood as you play your acoustic bass! The larger models with thicker wood offer a lot more acoustic tone that can create a pretty pleasing low-end completely unplugged.
Despite their “acoustic” nature, the majority of acoustic bass guitars come equipped with some kind of pickup which allows them to be plugged in. Some of the smaller, more lightweight and portable acoustic bass guitars seem to have this in mind more than trying to be a true acoustic instrument.
Keep in mind when you’re looking at acoustic bass guitars that scaling them down for portability or easy handling comes at a real cost of the “acoustics” of the instrument.
The Role of Bass Guitar
The bass guitar enables a variety of approaches to performance: from “walking” bass lines derived from jazz; playing countermelodies or imitating the bass drum and snare parts of the drum set; to fully soloistic lines imitating or doubling saxophone or guitar lines; to “lead” bass guitar parts that at once solo and lay down a groove; to bass solos leading into doubling the guitar part, but an octave lower; to providing coloristic and percussive effects; and much else besides.
Paul McCartney, Tony Levin, Mike Watt, and Chris Squire are just some of the most well-known artists who plays acoustic bass guitar. This instrument is very rare and not usually seen in a band. But this doesn’t mean that it is not needed because the fact is, the sound from it is important.
The majority of acoustic basses are fretted, but a significant number are fretless instead.
Nowadays, it is rare to find a performing band without a bass player. As a young and aspiring bassist of a group, you should be happy to know there is always a high demand for bassists, especially good ones. Traditionally, the acoustic bass guitar performs two basic and essential roles within a band, these are:
- Bass provides the rhythmic foundation
- Bass provides the harmonic foundation
our Top 5 best acoustic bass guitar picks
Dean EAB The Best Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar
If you have a passion for playing guitar, do not underestimate your capability. You are neither too old nor too young to play guitar. Neither are your hands too small or too big. It would be best if you equipped yourself with the right instruments, and you will master the basic guitar playing techniques with time.
The Dean EAB Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar is a perfect four-string starter guitar that suits beginner bass players. The guitar feels very comfortable, and it is loud enough for the jam session. You can play the guitar with or without an amp.
If you want to rock your listeners on stage, this baby will never let you down. It is designed with onboard electronics that allow you to take it right on stage. The guitar also works well for home recording, giving you a perfect sound you would always love to hear in the best acoustic bass guitar.
Fender CB-60SCE Beginner Acoustic-Electric Beginner Bass Guitar - Natural
The CB-60SCE is a mid-range bass guitar with excellent sound and electronics, and of course, it carries the iconic Fender name. Featuring a concert body and a slim-taper neck, this Fender is an easy-to-play electro-acoustic bass that seems to beat everything else in its class.
The Fender CB-60SCE is one of few guitars that offers great features and sound at a decent price point. It’s my personal favorite, and I have no hesitation recommending it to anyone looking to buy an Electro-Acoustic Bass since it’s a strong contender for the best acoustic bass guitar title.
Another Fender bass, you can find the FA-450CE in a variety of colors. The sunburst model looks best in my opinion and also has a more professional finish. I like the use of a two by two headstock as it provides better tuning retention and doesn’t mess too much with the string action or tension.
The Viking bridge is also a nice touch. The bass is made mostly of mahogany, with the exception of its Nato neck. Speaking of the neck, it has a 9.5” radius. This makes it just the right size to play in any genre without much trouble.
One of the better aspects of the FA-450CE is perhaps the Fishman preamp. Not only does this help create a clear tone but it also allows for customization. Along the volume control, the instrument features bass and treble controls for customized tone shaping.
The overall sound is rich and has great note articulation. The voice is warm but not too warm that it muddies the lower strings.
Note that the bass has a 32” scale. It’s a bit bigger than most, hence the better resonance and wider melodic range. But, it’s also one of the reasons why I don’t recommend it to beginners. It’s a bit more physically demanding to use at its full potential.
You should also change its strings right away as the stock strings have the smallest gauge. And they’re not particularly great on the fingers either.
Fender Kingman SCE Acoustic Bass Guitar
A few steps up from the Fender Beginner bass we looked at above, the Kingman is something aimed at the more seasoned player.
The Fender Kingman is a very unusual looking instrument. That’s because it features a Stratocaster-style neck and headstock attached to a massive Dreadnought-style acoustic guitar body. Just to distinguish it even further, Fender finished off the Kingman with beefy chrome fret markers.
Even more unique is the Kingman’s tone. For the price tag, it’s almost like buying a high-end bass for a mid-range value. The Kingman sounds great unplugged and has enough heft to really get some volume and projection. It’s a great instrument to put to work in a purely acoustic jam, as it can muster enough volume to find its place in the mix.
Should you prefer to plug it in, the Kingman is decked out with Fishman pickups and electronics. The preamp includes the equalization features you’d expect like bass, middle, and treble, but also features some interesting additions: Notch, Brilliance, and Phase, to give you even more tone sculpting options right from the side of the bass.
If you’re looking for a quality acoustic bass but don’t want to go too crazy on the price, the Kingman is a must-see.
Taylor GS Mini-e Maple Bass
In the GS Mini-e, Taylor has done something quite remarkable. Although the GS Mini-e is a short scale bass and quite a small instrument compared to some of its competition, it manages to have a remarkably warm bass tone and a decent lower register.
At first, the size of this acoustic bass guitar is quite deceptive. It looks like one of the little acoustic bass guitars which have been made only with their pickup in mind and unplugged sound like little more than your electric bass unplugged might.
Instead, the Mini-e brings a satisfying low-end even completely unplugged. Plugged in, the built-in pickup offers a whole new palette of sounds to experiment with.
Plus, this acoustic bass is rocking the classic Taylor acoustic guitar look. It features a beautiful Sitka Spruce top, a dark ebony wood fretboard atop a Sapele neck, with the back and sides also composed of layered Sapele.
Should you decide to go electric with it, the built-in ES-B electronics provide a pickup, tuner, as well as volume and tone controls, right on the side of the bass.
Conclusion- Choose Your Best Acoustic bass Guitar
The are many acoustic bass guitars to choose from and you will need to find one that fits your style and sound preference. While all of the acoustic basses above sound amazing, you may prefer playing one over the other. Some have a stronger, grungier sound, while others have a much more mellow tone. We recommend trying out as many bass guitars as possible to determine which one is right for you.
Another great guitar’s buying guides: