View Full Version : NBD: Shortbass One

07-28-2015, 03:46 PM
Since I've been playing with a group that won't let me use an amp I've been experimenting. Most recently I borrowed a Fender Acoustic Bass with steel strings. It was loud enough to be heard but I thought the smell strings sounded terrible.

Since the Shortbass One is supposed to be the loudest of the various acoustic ukulele basses I decided to see if I could find one. I got one from England that was a store demo. With shipping it was a bit more than half of what a new one would have been. I had to settle for the 12 fret fretted version although I thought I would have preferred the 14 fret version (a little louder) and fretless. Since this is an experiment and I could not find a single one to try and they aren't sold in the US I figured that I'd go for the less expensive one. If I decide to sell it someone else will be happy to find one in the US at a reasonable price. If I really like it and decide that I really really want the 14 fret and fretless I can always get one of those down the line.

Well it arrived in a little over a week, and to my surprise looks like a new instrument. The picture I was sent showed some scratches and the store owner said that it showed wear. As it turns out you need a magnifying glass to see the scratches. It also came with a pretty nice gig bag.

So the first thing about it is that the body is pretty huge. Bigger than the Fender Acoustic bass body. The tuners don't seem to be genuine Road Toad but some kind of cheap copy. When the bass arrived there was way way too much wrap on the posts so I rewound them and cut off a bunch. It comes with the Aquila Red strings. They aren't bad. Thinner and tighter than the Pahoehoe's and not as sticky as the Silver Rumblers.

The big question: Is it loud enough? And I don't know. Honestly, I think the volume is a bit less than the Fender. I was hoping for a shade more. If I play with a pick and really push it I can get a bit more volume. I have to do that with the Fender too. My guess is that the 14 fret version would be about 10% louder. I'm kind of glad that I got the fretted version because I'm finding I have to put a little more attention into my right hand to drive the top for volume, which means I can't be quite as attentive to my left hand - which I need to be when playing fretless.

I think its an open question whether it will be loud enough. It is less loud than a double bass. It is louder than a Kala u-bass. it sounds good but it certainly didn't give me a moment of "Aha at last an acoustic bass I can play acoustically". Instead it gave a moment of "Mmmm, we'll see."