It’s rather odd that I look so serious here. But I’m actually extremely impressed with this bass and very glad to have had the opportunity to give it a test drive.
At first glance you may just see another 4-string acoustic electric bass, but this has a number of features that set it apart from pretty much anything in its class.
This bass is a Takamine TB10 acoustic electric bass.
I first came across this bass model about two years ago while doing research for Bass-Aholic. Well, some might say I was just surfing the net. Well that’s research isn’t it? At that time I hadn’t come across that many acoustic basses. This one immediately caught my attention. Firstly because it was fretless, but also because of it’s styling. The two large f-holes and dark stain give it an air of string instrument building from a bygone era. It really is quite stunning, don’t you think?
But beyond it’s styling are a number of features that are pretty uncommon in acoustic basses. One is that the fingerboard is curved like a double-bass. This potentially allows you to bow the instrument like a bass-violin. I didn’t test this concept and I’m wondering if the cutouts in the body are deep enough to actually bow each string correctly.
The other unique feature is a fully integrated tailpin. Often when basses have this feature they will have one that is detachable. This one adjust up into the body of the instrument in the same way as an upright bass or cello would.
Both of these features allow you to play the instrument like an upright bass. I’m not sure that you would ever want (or need) to do that except that the body of this bass is enormous. Takamine’s website does not give body dimensions, but I’m sure this is the largest bass guitar that I’ve ever held. So if you want to play it and your not all that tall, you may want to play it upright.
Other styling features are both attractive and functional are, what appears to be antiqued brass machine heads and extensive use of ebony.
The spec states the fingerboard and bridge are ebony and it appears the heavy wooden tailpiece is the same. However the grain of the bridge and tailpiece in these photos looks more like rosewood. But who am I to argue?
Takamine has long been an innovator in acoustic/electric preamps and this one is top notch. The TB10 comes with Takemine’s “Cool Tube” preamp. The preamp actually has utilizes one 12AU7 vacuum tube. But because the heat generated by a vacuum tube could affect the tonewoods and sound of the instrument, the tube runs at 3 degrees above ambient room temperature.
An interesting feature of the preamp is an extra RCA jack that can be used to connect a secondary pickup or microphone.
The preamp has a second gain control to allow mixing the two input sources. (more on cool tube)
Oddly, there is no mention of an XLR connection. This would allow for phantom power. This preamp uses 4-AA batteries which add weight and will need to be replaced or recharged after 24 hours of use. So having phantom power available would reduce a number of headaches.
For a bass of this quality and size a good quality case is a must. This bass comes with an acoustic style hardshell case, that’s obviously custom made for just this bass. When Clint carried it through the door of my my house I was shocked by the size of the case and quite curious to see what was inside.
Overall this bass is impressive. Quality and technology inside and out.
Really the only question about a bass like this is how much use you would get out of it. It’s really not your typical general purpose bass. Despite that, it’s *very* cool and a great addition to the collection of any true Bass-Aholic.
A great big thanks to Clint Wilson for sharing another bass from his collection!
The posted website price for this bass $4299.99 USD. A big price, but a lot-a bass for the buck.
“Stay Tuned for Bass Number 101 of 101 Basses!”