What Is A Bass Guitar?

by | Dec, 2019 | Blog

The Bass Guitar. When I mention to people that I play it, I am greeted with expressions of cluelessness, confusion, and wry smiles. Often the replies I get range from “What’s a bass guitar?” to “Oh, cool.” and “You play guitar?!”. 90% of the students a bass teacher has don’t play bass, but a rather electric or acoustic guitar.

The problem is that no-one really knows about the bass or its import. That is why I have decided to write this article, to spread the knowledge and import of bass to the masses.

Point To Understand What Is A Bass Guitar.

  • First point; The purpose of the bass.

Although it seems to use the same electronics, pickups, and strings, the bass guitar is not an electric guitar. You use an electric guitar to follow the melody, aid the singers, and wow the crowds.

You use bass to drive the band, keep the rhythm constant, and add power to the song. Because of the low notes, a bassist usually will play single notes at a time, as more than one note at a time tends to sound very discordant.

However, the lower notes add power to the song and drive the rhythm of the band. You can remove the electric guitar, singer, piano, or drums from a band and still make it work… but remove the bass, and the songs sound empty and weak. Therefore, the purpose of the bass is to add power and strength to the band.

  • Second point; What is a bass?

Ordinary guitars have 6 strings, some have 7, and others have 12. Ordinary bass guitars have 4 or 5 strings. Newer basses have 6 strings, and custom ones go up to 12 strings (although it ends up looking more like a sitar than a bass).

The low string on a 5-string bass is the B two octaves lower than middle C on a piano, an E, four notes up are the lowest string on a 4-string bass. The strings on a bass are a lot thicker than normal guitars, the reason being that the lower a note needs to be, the longer and thicker the string is (have a look at the inside of a piano).

There are frets on the bass just like a regular guitar, however, they’re further apart to allow for proper intonation (due to the longer and thicker strings).

The bass guitar is to music like salt is to cooking. The other ingredients you add don’t matter as long as they are cohesive, however, without salt your food will be bland and unappealing.

The bass adds power to the song, solidity to the timing, and flavor to the song. No matter what genre you use, from dubstep to country, to metal… bass is always needed, and always the driving force behind a song.

Although you only play single notes on the bass, because they’re so low, they flow right through everything and it permeates the room.