Bass Guitar History
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 lack of amplification.
The drums, banjos and other instruments in the band drowned out the
sound of the bass. Until the 1950 when the first electric bass came
into existence with modern amplification techniques.
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
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 new soundscapes.
In night clubs, combo amplifiers are used. These amplifiers are fixed
with single loud speakers to make them portable and effective.
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 large following which likes to use its own
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 flavor 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.
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