The acoustic-electric guitar is not uncommon. Most of the major guitar manufacturers design and make them. However, an acoustic-electric bass is something else and not seen so often. That is one reason to have a closer look at the Best Choice Products 22-Fret Full-Size Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar.
We all know the bass is a vital cog in the machinery of music. Some would say music is incomplete without it. I would agree, but I would, I’m a bassist.
Along comes Leo…
But until Leo Fender came along with his Fender Precision bass in the early 50s, there was a problem. And even then, there still was, because musicians who used one blew up their speakers cabinets. Hence the Fender Bassman amp was released the year after.
Jazz and early rock n roll saw double basses, but it was clear that wasn’t any good. Volumes were rising, and the bottom end disappeared. There had to be a bass that could be heard.
They were around…
The first of its kind was probably the Regal Bassoguitar in the 30s. It worked, but you couldn’t pick it up to play it, and it wasn’t amplified and hardly audible. It wasn’t until the mid-50s that the first real acoustic bass was developed. But by then, the ‘Fender boys’ were strutting their stuff. Acoustic bass was thereafter relegated to very quiet musical soirees.
The acoustic bass has always been around. Non-bass players don’t see it, but i is quite widely used in certain circles. Mike Oldfield uses one as an example. But volume is a problem for live work. The acoustic-electric bass is a good idea, an acoustic, almost vintage sound that can be heard.
There are a few to choose from, but before we take a look at this bass, who are Best Choice products?
Best Choice Products
On the headstock of the bass guitar is the logo ‘BC’. Presumably, this stands for Best Choice. It is an interesting brand in that as a company; they sell just about everything. Most things are labeled with their brand name, but obviously, they cannot manufacture everything.
With the guitars, Best Choice ‘source’ their guitars and then inspect them. Where they source them from, we have no idea, nor can we specifically identify a location.
They are very similar to other online companies selling products without a physical store. With the guitars though they do not stock the well-known brand names. This, of course, brings down the price and makes them cost-effective.
But How Good Are They?
Let’s find out as we take a closer look at the Best Choice Products Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar…
There will be no-frills with this bass guitar, so don’t get too excited. It is very much a ‘what you see is what you get’ item. It is likely to suit people who want to try out bass to see if they enjoy it. Or possibly, musicians, bass or otherwise, who want a bit of bass unplugged at home.
I am going to try and be as objective as I can with this instrument. In saying that, I want to emphasize this. If you are looking for a bass that will play straight out of the box, it is probably best to move on. This is going to take some setting up. When that has been done, it will be a reasonable instrument.
If you want to find out more, which we suggest you do, then stick around…
The price point of this bass gives the impression that it has been made in China or another Asian country. Now, many of the guitars today are made there. Many of them are very good; indeed, some are not. The major manufacturers have excellent quality controls in place to root out any problems before shipping.
Best Choice Products probably have quality control in the US, where it is possibly too late to get rid of problems. We only say these things to give you a little advance warning about the necessity for a proper set-up.
Regardless, let’s take a closer look at it…
This is no small size design, and it is quite a decent size at 44 inches long. That makes it about the same size as the average acoustic guitar. It is quite lightweight though at 5.5 pounds.
It is made of a very thin plywood veneer on top, back, and sides. And it has a light natural finish to the top and a darker, almost mahogany color to the back and the sides. There is a nicely apportioned cutaway to give full access to the fingerboard.
To be fair, it actually looks quite attractive. The important thing to note is that it does not have a solid wood top. But then I don’t know of any guitar at this price that does.
It has a dark scratchplate, similar to a Yamaha design, and a very tasteful edging around the body. There is also a nice rosette around the soundhole. There are controls on the top of the guitar, but we shall deal with those later.
Very cheap materials are used in its manufacture, but then it is a cheap bass. But, it looks quite nice and doesn’t seem to have too many production problems. So we would say the build quality is ok, especially when you consider the price.
You can’t argue with the quality of the Mahogany neck. I wouldn’t say it was the finest Mahogany, but Mahogany it is. It also has a Rosewood fretboard, which is another plus. It is a short scale bass at a 30 inches scale. There are 22 frets, all of which are available courtesy of the cutaway.
However, one thing you may find you have to do is to get your file out. You may have to take a little off the edges of the frets. Some of them may be sharp, especially for children’s fingers.
This is not a slimline neck, but having said that, it isn’t what you call wide. A young player should be able to cope with the neck size.
Up at the top, there are four chrome die-cast tuners on a nice looking headstock. The nut is plastic and has a gauge of 1.65 inches, and the saddle is also plastic measuring 2.75 inches. There is a plain and simple wooden bridge.
This is another area where some adjustments might need to be made to lower the action. You won’t know that until it is delivered. It is quite a simple operation if you have an idea of what you are doing. If not, get a local luthier to do a full set-up, you will be very glad you did.
It has a built-in preamp and pickup with decent controls. The control panel is situated as we said earlier on the top of the guitar. It has slider controls for bass, middle, treble, and presence, as well as a rotating volume control knob.
There is also a battery warning status light. Next to the volume control is the battery compartment, which takes a 9-volt battery. A tuner is not included, that would probably be asking too much?
If you approach playing this guitar with an open mind, then you will be surprised at its sound quality. It is actually quite good. The big sound compartment gives you a good low-frequency resonance and a balanced bottom end.
However, there isn’t too much in the way of brightness. That is because we suspect that the top wood is very budget level. But generally speaking there really can be no complaints. Plugged in, it is also quite reasonable. It is not going to sound like a $500 instrument, but it certainly sounds better than its price tag says it ought to.
How Does It Play?
This at the outset is probably its weakest point, but once it is set up, it will play fine. Initially, though, there may be problems with intonation and the height of the strings. I say may, some instruments will be fine and take just minor adjustments as every guitar does.
These issues though can be solved, of course. Once they are, the neck plays quite smoothly and isn’t too thick to get your hands around.
Best Choice Products 22-Fret Full-Size Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar – Pros and Cons
- Extremely affordable.
- A good-looking bass.
- Build quality is acceptable, considering the price.
- Sound is better than you would expect, both acoustically and amplified.
- Needs a good set-up.
- Fret edges may be sharp due to low-quality finishing in the factory.
- No tuner, which are standard on electro-acoustics normally.
- Lacks brightness.
More superb Bass Guitar Options
Looking for a few more options? No problem, check out our reviews of the Best Acoustic Bass Guitars, the Best Bass Guitars, the Best 5 String Bass Guitars, the Best Short Scale Bass Guitar, and the Best Bass Guitars for Kids currently available.
Best Choice Products 22-Fret Full-Size Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar – What We Think
As I have said on a number of occasions in this review, you will get what you pay for. This is a very basic acoustic-electric bass guitar. And it will almost certainly need a bit of setting up. And on delivery, it won’t play or sound like a $500 guitar. But for the money, it is a reasonable buy.
The sound it produces is quite good, amplified, or acoustically. As long as your expectations levels are not too high, you won’t be disappointed. For some situations, for a starter as an example, it’s a good solution and a reasonable introduction to the king of instruments (yes, I’m biased). For someone wanting to play some bass at home, it is also good.
I have to admit that I was expecting the worst with this bass and ended up being quite surprised. That is a good lesson to not judge a book by its cover. For the money, it is a good buy.
Happy bass playing.
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