Acoustic bass guitar in recorded music?
April 26, 2014 2:33 PM   Subscribe

I've become curious about the musical potential of the acoustic bass guitar. Does anybody know of any recordings, in any genre, where this instrument is used to good effect?

Tonal qualities captured well or functions well in the mix or played superlatively or?

Aware of Blister in the Sun but of not much else.
posted by bertran to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
In my opinion, it is hard to record well so that it fulfills the role of a bass instrument in many situations.
posted by bongo_x at 3:38 PM on April 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Jonas Hellborg is worth a listen:
The Word
Octave of the Holy Innocents

You might also check out some oud players: Simon Shaheen, Munir Bashir.
posted by nixt at 5:25 PM on April 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

"The Word" is the best recording that I know of. Hellborg was playing a bass that a luthier in Germany had spent years building for him. Tony Williams plays drums. The album established Hellborg as a serious composer among critics, many of whom had probably been ready to turn on him after the "this guy is the new Jaco" hype in his early career.

His more recent albums, like "Personae" and "Good People In Times Of Evil", feature acoustic/electric hybrids, but I believe that "The Word" uses a purely acoustic instrument.
posted by thelonius at 5:39 PM on April 26, 2014

They use them a lot in MTV Unplugged sessions, most notably I think by Nirvana.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:32 PM on April 26, 2014

Gliding by Sky Cries Mary

Bass played by Krist Novoselic of Nirvana.
posted by otolith at 8:22 PM on April 26, 2014

Alice in Chains unplugged
posted by John Cohen at 9:38 PM on April 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yan Maresz on John McLaughlin's tribute to Bill Evans, Time Remembered, acoustic bass guitar was here the perfect choice to support an ensemble of nylon string guitars.
posted by amestoy at 12:22 AM on April 27, 2014

Michael Clem, the bassist from Eddie from Ohio, uses acoustic bass on some songs, and electric on others. Here's a video of them playing "Candido & America" with the acoustic bass, although the sound is pretty bad:
Some of their albums, including "This Is Me", list instruments by track. Over half the songs on that album use acoustic bass.
posted by jeffjon at 6:54 AM on April 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Aware of Blister in the Sun yt but of not much else.

That whole album is filled with acoustic bass goodness. Here's another good example, with a great bass solo at around 2:15:

Please Do Not Go
posted by grog at 1:06 PM on April 27, 2014

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