By Sandra Stammberger
The bass guitar has been derived from the double bass, which
was used in the late 1950's. Having 4 strings, these
instruments add the lower tones to a musical performance.
Experimentation with the bass had started as early as the
1920's. It wasn’t until the 50's however, that a proper bass
instrument was formed.
In the mid 20th century jazz became popular. As double bass's
were used those days, they were often not heard due to the
of amplification. The drums, banjos and other instruments in
band drowned out the sound of the bass. Until the 1950 when
first electric bass came into existence with modern
The bass guitar is played like all guitars with the player
holding it close to his body in a horizontal position. The
strings are plucked with hand or with the plectrum. In the
1970's, the slapping technique became popular.
Today, the bass guitar ranges from 4 strings up to 11 strings.
The 5, 6 and 7 strings providing the mid range while the 11
string starts from a lower than human hearing going up to a
very high active. Electric bass guitar players use various
configurations. These changes are made by using preamplifiers
and speaker sets. Signal processors are also varied to provide
In night clubs, combo amplifiers are used. These amplifiers
fixed with single loud speakers to make them portable and
The body of the instrument can be of wood or graphite. A wide
range of finishing is applied to make it look good. IT can be
colored or simply clear white. The work done on the body is
fine engineering and delicate balances have to be maintained.
A hot debate rages on what to call this instrument. For non
musicians, the term bass guitar is common, while hard core
players like to call it electric bass or simple electric bass.
Slowly but surely however, this instrument has gathered a
following which likes to use its own jargon.
The electric bass is a part of modern country music, post 1970
jazz and funk. Used mainly to provide backing, it adds a depth
to the music. This instrument has added a whole new color to
our musical pleasure. In sole music particularly, the bass
guitar is effective.
Are sound effects used? Well, yes and no. As the bass guitar
sets the tone for the rest of the band, sound effects are not
often used, unlike electric guitars. Modern bands however have
started experimenting with distortion units to add a new
to the bass and low key that they provide behind the music.
As we go into a new century, electric bass's become more and
more popular. All bands use it today to add a subtle
background. Many groups like U2 even use it to give a haunted
feeling increasing emotional attachment with the music. Newer
techniques have made this instrument a crucial part of any
musical group today.
About The Author: Sandra Stammberger is the editor of The Bass
Guitar. Get detailed information on playing guitar along with
comprehensive resources on the best guitar online shops and
guitar supply. www.thebassguitar.info