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An Overview of Bass Guitars

An Overview of Bass Guitars
Jazz and rock stars made them famous, and now they are as deeply entrenched in the music scene, that it will be a very long time before they are replaced by something else. We are speaking of the bass guitars. What follows is a little layperson's knowledge about the bass guitar.
Neil Valentine D'Silva
Last Updated: Mar 28, 2019
Strings of Bass guitar
As the name indicates, a bass guitar is an instrument that is used for playing the bass notes of music, which are actually the lower notes. This music that requires more refined notes in a lower tone.
Rock Band Guitarists
In a general band or orchestra, the bass guitar is always played in tune with a lead guitar. While the lead guitar hits the high notes, the accompanying bass guitar does the important task of underlining the high notes with softer low sounds.
Today, bass guitars are a part of almost every ensemble music performance. The bass sounds produced by these guitars make every kind of music sound really good. These have been a long time favorite of jazz musicians, but it is also used to an amazing degree of success in rock as well as metal rock music.
It has a special place in the southern and classic rock genres of music. In several jazz performances, as also performances of fusion, Latin, rock, blues, and funk, the bass guitar can also be used as a solo instrument.
Bass Guitar and Ordinary Guitar
ordinary guitar
For a music novice, a bass guitar might look quite much like an ordinary guitar.
Most people do not even know that there are different types of guitars, for that matter. But for those people who really care, it must be said that the bass guitar is totally different from an ordinary guitar. It is like saying chalk is the same as cheese.
The following are some striking differences:
  • The normal guitar is always bigger in size. The bass guitar has a longer body and a greater length, which also means that its strings are longer.
  • The ordinary guitar has six strings, but the bass guitar generally has only four strings, which are all that are needed to produce the bass sounds. However, there are models available with five and even six strings, but they are not much favored by professional guitarists.
  • Another very subtle difference is the four strings of the bass guitar are tuned one octave lower than the four lower strings of an ordinary guitar. That is the reason why a person who is acquainted to playing on an electric guitar will find that the sound is not the same on a bass guitar.
Electric Bass Guitar and Semi-acoustic Bass Guitar
The electric bass guitar that's so much en vogue today in the music world is actually a derivative of the double bass that was used in the '50s and '60s. That makes the current version of the guitar a much evolved musical instrument.
Indeed, people started tinkering with the bass guitar since as early as the '20s, and that is clearly evident in the sounds of today, which are much more sophisticated. It can be said that the popularity of jazz music played a major role in the popularity of the bass guitar.
Jazz music needs this guitar to be heard quite distinctly, or the other instruments will drown its sound. Rock music which reached its dizzying heights of popularity also needed the guitar to be strong in a similar fashion. The double bass guitars that were used in those times were just not sufficient.
That is the reason music experts began experimenting with bass sounds for the guitar. The best solution for this problem came in the form of the invention of the electric bass guitar, which had wonderful sound amplification devices attached to it.
Another major improvement is the semi-acoustic bass guitar. These guitars are designed very innovatively to provide maximum resonance for the sound. Music with resonance has a high-quality feel to it, and is much favored in concert performances with live bands. This guitar has a hollow middle, which provides the modification for the resonance of sound.
It can also be externally connected to an amplifier (it has connections provided at the back). That is the reason why rockers favor this type today. It gives them the choice to play it as an ordinary bass guitar with acoustic amelioration, or to use it as an electric guitar whenever they want to.