Bass guitar

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  May 3, 2022

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The bass guitar (also called electric bass, or simply bass; ) is a stringed instrument played primarily with the fingers or thumb, by plucking, slapping, popping, (rarely) strumming, tapping, thumping, or picking with a plectrum, often known as a pick. The bass guitar is similar in appearance and construction to an electric guitar, but with a longer neck and scale length, and four to six strings or courses. The four-string bass, by far the most common, is usually tuned the same as the double bass, which corresponds to pitches one octave lower than the four lowest pitched strings of a guitar (E, A, D, and G). The bass guitar is a transposing instrument, as it is notated in bass clef an octave higher than it sounds (as is the double bass) to avoid excessive ledger lines. Like the electric guitar, the bass guitar is plugged into an amplifier and speaker for live performances. Since the 1960s, the bass guitar has largely replaced the double bass in popular music as the bass instrument in the rhythm section. While types of bass lines vary widely from one style of music to another, the bassist usually fulfills a similar role: anchoring the harmonic framework and establishing the beat. Many styles of music utilise the bass guitar, including rock, metal, pop, punk rock, country, reggae, gospel, blues, and jazz. It is often a soloing instrument in jazz, jazz fusion, Latin, funk, progressive rock and other rock and metal styles. Electric bass training is available from various colleges including the Bass Institute of Technology, the Berklee College of Music, and Humber College, and some universities offer degrees in electric bass, such as the Manhattan School of Music. Electric bassists can also take private lessons or learn by ear, by copying bass lines from records and CDs and playing in a number of bands.

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Neaera and a content marketer, dad, and love trying out new equipment with guitar at the heart of my passion, and together with my team, I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2020 to help loyal readers with recording and guitar tips.

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