From One String Guitars to Optical Pickups – The Wonders of Modern Bass Guitars

by | Dec, 2019 | Blog

The standard electric bass guitar has four strings, although five and six-string ones are fairly easy to locate. And acquiring one with greater than six strings is simply a case of paying extra for a custom boutique guitar.

However, there is an alternative scale to move towards, and you may be surprised to learn that three-string and even two string instruments are available. And for the ultimate challenge – a single string electric bass model!

A wide variety of techniques have been employed by those who design, manufacture and play electric bass guitars. And many of these techniques have focused on trying to extend the range of notes available.

Such as being able to provide more than one octave of notes at any single position or increasing the range of tones available. In addition to reducing the number of strings, different ways of tuning have been explored, including for example a tenor bass or piccolo bass.

One String Guitars

Another way that extended range of octaves that have been included has been to increase the number of strings to 12 or even 15. In this way, multiple octaves can be included, with strings being paired against those an octave above or below. This is the same way in which standard 12 stringed items are used.

As well as developing alternative ways of enhancing or affecting the voice, tone. And range through the number of strings and the way they are arranged, the pickups play an important role too.

Electric bass guitars use two basic types of pickup – although these are always electrical. The basic way in which the standard pickup works is by detecting the small electric charge generated by the vibrating metal string near the magnet. This electrical signal is fed through to an external amplifier and the sound created.

Instead of using these pickups, some models have piezoelectric pickups and these work on a more mechanical method. These pickups detect the physical movement of the strings rather than the electrical current the movement generates.

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Because this is a non-magnetic pickup, based on a physical movement. The tone and sound are quite different and are said to compare more closely to the sound produced by an acoustic bass guitar. Again, as no magnetic detection is used, the strings don’t have to be steel or even metal, and both nylon and silicone have been used fairly commonly.

A third alternative, though rare, is the optical pickup. In these cases, LEDs, or Light Emitting Diodes track the movement of the strings optically, and then these tones are reproduced electrically. Because no magnets are used, and the pickup is purely optical. The buzz or hum associated with this kind of instrument is able to be left out, producing a much clearer, brighter note.

Today more and more electrical bass instruments are including in-built electric circuitry which boosts the signal at the point of pickup. And also allows for some alteration of the tone and voice before the signal is sent to the external amplifier – previously only included in the high end, boutique models.
Source by Victor Epand