The idea of an acoustic bass guitar might seem like a wild one to many. I do not judge you, because an acoustic bass guitar is kind of wild. After all it was invented later than its seemingly more modern brother, the electric bass guitar. Still, what seems even more wild to some is the idea that an acoustic bass guitar could be affordable. Well, there are such bass guitars, though quality ones are few and far in between. So let’s take a look at the Ibanez PCBE12MHOPN, the rare example of a high quality acoustic bass guitar.
The design of the guitar takes after the many more expensive examples of such acoustic bass guitars. The body is designed in the grand concert style, to emphasize the power of the guitar, and to produce clean and strong low tones without having to deal with the booming sound that the dreadnought is so prone to. This results in a powerful sound that has a quaint, warm tone to it. The coloring and the shape of the guitar give it a classical feel that would feel at home both in a bluegrass band and an acoustic blues band.
The body of the guitar is constructed entirely out of mahogany. That means the top of the guitar, the back and the sides as well. This means that the guitar has some powerful resonance with the lowest tones of a guitar, providing the musician with the bass that they only though possible in an electric guitar. The color of the mahogany works well with the overall style of the guitar, as it produces a more rustic aura for the instrument.
The neck of the guitar is built out of, you guessed it, mahogany. This one hardwood construction creates a consistent resonance with the lowest tones of the guitar, further amplifying the powerful low tones produced by it. The sturdy nature of the mahogany helps the guitar remain unwarped and undamaged for many years to come. The rosewood fretboard works well with the rest of the design, so that the guitar is consistently dark, in color and in tone.
The guitar comes with a B10 bridge system, made out of rosewood. This provides the strings with some nice action, while also increasing the low tone fidelity of the instrument to a whole new level.
The nut of the guitar is made out of a cheapish plastic material, which tends to wear down much faster than anyone would appreciate. Still, since this is an acoustic guitar, there is little noise to complain about.
The tuning machine of the guitar is designed in the rustic feeling of the rest of the instrument. The tuning stability leaves more to be desired as you spend more time tuning than you ever wished for.
There are people out there who will swear up and down Mississippi that the acoustic bass guitar will never be able to compare to the electric bass guitar in sound. Those people are wrong and even the cheapest bass guitar like this can prove it. The sound is powerful, with the projection taking over the entirety of any room the very first second the guitar is played. The high action results in strong notes, while the tone of the guitar is deep, warm and thick in a way that the electric bass guitar could never even dream of being. The sound is exceptional, well fitted for bluegrass, jazz, blues, country or any genre brave enough to try playing the acoustic bass guitar.
This cheap but rather well made example of what an acoustic bass guitar looks like and feels like is one of my favorite in the price range. It provides the player with a whole lot of power and character, while looking handsome and being cheap. Highly recommended if it is your first acoustic bass guitar.