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Types of Bass Guitars

Stephen Rampur Jun 3, 2019
Bass guitars are generally categorized according to the number of strings, type of music played, and fret options. Read this write-up to get a detailed explanation.
I didn't follow the standard rules of bass playing, and many musicians on many different instruments who became noteworthy for their unique or particular style did a very similar thing. - Billy Sheehan
The bass guitar is a wonderful musical instrument which is mainly used as a backup for providing a low tone in the background of a song. You might have observed that songs without the bass playing in the background sound kind of empty and lifeless.
To be able to play a bass guitar, it is advised that you get to know the basics of guitar chords on acoustic or electric guitars. Knowing the different sorts of bass guitars is one of the first guitar lessons you should take.
You need to understand that bass guitars are not differentiated according to particular classes, but are classified as per specifications such as number of strings, fretted or fretless, and acoustic or electric.

Number of Strings

The number of strings play a very important role in the scale and pitch of the bass guitar sound. If you take a look at a standard bass guitar in a music instrument shop, it would have four strings. A majority of bassists prefer to use the four-stringed bass for simple songs.
There are five, six, and eight-stringed bass guitars as well; which are normally used in guitar songs with complicated riffs and extreme octave changes. More the number of strings, greater is the extent of the lead playing on the bass guitar. Note that playing six and eight-stringed basses can be challenging and certainly demands a lot of practice.

Acoustic or Electric

Basses are also sorted out on the basis of whether they are acoustic or electric. Acoustic basses are those which, like rhythm acoustic guitars, have a sound box to amplify sound. Since their sound is not audible without electric amplification, they are usually fitted with pickups.
Owing to the clear and low bass sound; these types are used mostly by country, classical, and jazz musicians. Electric basses are those which do not have a soundbox, but have powerful pickups and solid bodies. They can be used in metal, contemporary, and rock music genres.

Fretted or Fretless

Frets are very significant for knowing on which fret the fingertips are to be placed to get the precise tone. They are the embedded metal lines on the fretboard, which give musicians the idea about the appropriate note. Fretted bass guitars are normally used the world over.
However, you would not find many musicians using fretless bass guitars. This is because these guitars are extremely difficult to play. If you do not place your fingertips on appropriate positions on the fingerboard, the note tends to change. These fretless instruments are usually preferred by professional musicians who have spent years in the music industry.

Brands and Body Style

There are many brands who produce bass guitars along with other musical instruments. Some of the best brands are Fender, Ernie Ball Music Man, Yamaha, Ibanez, Warwick, Warmoth, and Gibson. Warwick and Warmoth are two popular companies who manufacture customized guitars for consumers.
The body style in the product lineup of different bass guitars may also vary. Some guitars come in bodies styled like violins, Les Paul models, Flying V, Gibson Explorer and SG, etc. The body style, however, does not have an effect on the sound quality of the instrument.
If you are a beginner and want to buy a bass guitar, it is suggested that you go in for a four-stringed electric one.