acoustic bass help for newbie

Intro - I play guitar at a jamming session at a local pub, easy listening, acoustic with a Knopfler sound alike and no bassist. Last week someone brought a (Fender) acoustic bass which I borrowed for an hour or so. I have played a bit of electric bass a number of years ago but am reluctant to play now as I'm currently no good & do not wish to mess up the sound. The acoustic allowed me to mess around without doing this, & I want to buy one!

Advice needed - What should I look for? I don't want to waste money on a cheapie, but don't have money to burn, how much need I pay? Any recomendations?

all advice greatfully received, Neal

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Hello Neal,

I only have one EAB; a 5-string, fretless "Starfire" I bought s/h off eBay. The sound is absolutely fine (it feeds back if I point it at the amp, but that's electro-acoustics for you. You can get soundhole plugs). The problem is pretty shoddy factory quality. It was a lefty bass, but came fitted with a righty nut. Nuff said. I notice that someone on FleebUS ( is selling one with a BIN of $40 because the bridge is lifting up from the body. A simple fix for a decent tech, but it doesn't say a lot about them.

I think these are worth a look;

as they can be easily had for £60 or less and p+p, which isn't a lot of money. Spruce top (good) but nasty, phosphor bronze strings by the looks so I'd budget for a decent set of nickel roundwounds to replace them straight away. I think it'd be worth trying without risking any big loss of money. With bass acoustics, I don't think tone is such a huge issue; the playability is more important. Look for a return/refund policy.

Ebay is definitely worth looking at.

I got a 'Vintage' Acoustic for £110 (I think) it's ok for the money. One thing it has, and I would recommend looking out for, is a dreadnought size body, I've heard and played a few acoustics (I go to quite a few acoustic nights) and many just don't hold up against a guitar and voice stick a bongo/bodhran or whatever in there and you may as well go sit down.

My Phosphors lasted about 3 mins, nasty nasty sound, agree on the nickels.

Main problem with mine is the electrics, the G makes no sound through the amp, at all! Never got to the bottom of it, but it does support the arguement for checking out returns policy.

thanks for the comments, interesting opinion re: the tone, worth thinking about.
Any comments about the Hohner HAB-40N currently on ebay?

Tim's absolutely right that an unplugged acoustic bass doesn't come through. Perfect if you don't want mistakes to be heard, but a little amp is required if you want to get even slightly noticed.

I haven't got a useful op on the Hohner you spotted. EABs are fairly rarely spoken of so there isn't even much commentary on the web. The only things I can say are (1) phosphor bronze strings again - yuck and (2) those sides look suspiciously like tackywood. I don't recognize that grain at all. The EQ is the standard, generic type that you get on this price level and does its job OK. I wouldn't throw in a bid much above £50 for it myself.

The trouble is, I don't think there's a lot of quality EAB out there for less than £300. Unless you want to go for it, I'd settle for something at almost throwaway money just to see if it lights your fire. If not, you haven't lost much. Ergo, the Chinese-made, £70 guitars are a good trial.

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