The bass guitar and double bass are both popular instruments that have seen a lot of crossover between genres. However, they are very different in a few ways.
The most important difference between the two instruments is that the double bass is larger and heavier than the bass guitar. This affects how it can be played and transported.
When you’re shopping for a bass guitar, there are several things to consider. One of the first is the size of the instrument.
A bass guitar is usually slightly smaller than a standard electric or acoustic guitar. This allows it to produce notes that are an octave lower than the guitar’s. This makes it an excellent choice for playing in a band, as it provides the foundation for other instruments to play off of.
Typically, bass guitars have a scale length of 34 inches or longer. This is called a “long scale.” The bass guitar was first introduced to the world in 1951 by Fender with their Precision bass.
Basses are available in a wide range of sizes, with the most common being three-fourths and full-size basses. These are the instruments that most bassists start with, but there are also a few smaller sizes, as well.
The size of the bass also affects how it sounds when plugged into an amplifier. Basses differ in tone depending on their wood quality, action, string type, and pickups.
Another important consideration is the style of music you’d like to play. Some genres, such as rock, metal, and jazz, lean towards different types of solid body basses.
A bass is a heavy and loud instrument, so it’s essential to choose a model that will be comfortable for you to play. You may want to look for a bass that comes with a hard case or gig bag. Regardless of your preferences, make sure to take the time to test out a variety of different options before you buy a bass.
There are a lot of different types of strings available for bass guitars. You’ll want to find strings that match your playing style, as well as the tone of your bass.
Roundwound Strings: These are the most common type of bass guitar string, and they feature a steel core wrapped with a round wire. This design produces a bright sound that’s popular with rock and metal musicians.
Flatwound Strings: A flatwound bass guitar string is similar to a roundwound, but instead of a round wire wrapping around the core, a flat wire is used. This design is supposed to emulate an upright bass: a warm, round, and thumpy sound that’s a great option for blues players, as it has a more traditional feel.
Nylon Tapewound Strings: These are a bit more versatile than the other two options, and they produce a deeper sound that’s ideal for jazz players. They also produce a softer and more responsive sound than roundwounds, which can be preferable for acoustic styles.
Stainless Steel Strings: These are another popular choice, and they offer a bright sound that’s perfect for funk and blues musicians.
Pure Nickel Strings: These are also a good choice for many music genres, and they’re known to produce a warmer tone.
Coated Strings: They’re a bit heavier than uncoated, but they can extend the life of your strings by helping them resist corrosion. They’re also a great option for a vintage vibe, as they can help bring out the natural tone of your bass.
The fingerboard is the area of the guitar neck where the strings are attached. The fingerboard can be made of a variety of different woods. It can also vary in terms of thickness and shape. This is a very important factor when choosing the right bass guitar.
In addition to the wood type of the fingerboard, you will also want to consider what type of frets are on the guitar. The frets can be jumbo or standard size. Frets can wear down over time due to long-term use and should be replaced when they start to corrode.
Many guitars have a curved fingerboard, while others have a flat one. This is determined by a calculation called radius, which determines how much the curve of the fingerboard will be.
A curved fingerboard is easier to play than a flat one. It is also less likely to “note out,” in which a string comes in contact with a higher fret during bends.
Some basses have a sharp rise or beveled edge that runs along the entire length of the fingerboard between the A and E strings. This is called a Romberg bevel. It was invented by Bernhard Heinrich Romberg, a German composer and cellist.
Some bassists prefer the Romberg bevel for its aesthetics, but it can lead to problems when playing chords or bending strings. It may also cause a buzzing sound when the strings vibrate. Fortunately, the trend is to have bass fingerboards with no bevel.
The scale is a key factor in the sound and feel of your bass guitar. It affects the fret spacing, string tension, and tone of your instrument.
Longer scale lengths provide more fret spacing and have higher string tension, resulting in more bright and snappy sound. Shorter scale lengths offer less fret spacing and have lower string tension, resulting in a more warm and full sound.
A shorter scale length will also result in a different set of harmonics. These harmonics will have a smaller amount of volume and will be lower in timbre when played on a short scale bass.
In addition to that, shorter scale basses will typically have thinner necks than standard or long scale bass guitars. This makes them easier to play for beginners, small hands, and those with limited experience.
This also means that the frets will be closer together, making it easier to play chords, fast melodic riffs, and finger stretches. Some players will even prefer short scale basses over long scale basses for these reasons.
Short scale basses tend to have a pronounced low end fundamental-centric thump and a distinct feel, which makes them popular with bassists who prefer a heavier bass tone. Traditionally, short scale basses were strung with the same strings as long scale bases and therefore had lower string tension, but nowadays there are specialized strings for short scale basses. These specialized strings are designed to eliminate that floppy feeling that is associated with a shorter scale bass.
The bass guitar is typically heavier than many other guitars because it requires more material and sturdier construction. This can include more timber, denser woods and heavier hardware, all of which add up to a more significant weight.
In addition, bass guitars often feature double cutaway designs which allow for easier access to the upper frets. These features are necessary to accommodate the large strings of a bass, which can be heavier than those of other guitars.
However, the extra weight can also cause discomfort for some people, especially if they play standing up or if they have back pain. This is why it is important to get a bass that is the right weight for your body.
Using a bathroom scale to determine the weight of your bass is a simple and convenient way to measure how heavy it is. Be sure to jot down your results and take them with you when you try out the instrument.
The most common acoustic basses weigh around 10 pounds, while electric basses can be as much as 12 pounds. The difference is noticeable, but it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker.
The sound of a bass guitar is very distinctive and can easily cut through the mix of instruments on a recording. This is why it’s often favored over the double bass for recording purposes.
The pitch range of a bass guitar is an octave lower than that of a regular guitar. This makes it easier for bass players to play notes that are more difficult to reach on a regular guitar.
A bass player also has a lot of control over the type of tone they want to create. They can use different pickups, amp settings, and pedals to get the best possible sound.
Another difference between a bass guitar and double bass is the type of strings used. A standard bass guitar will typically use flat wound strings, while a double bass uses round wound strings.
This will impact how a bass sounds when amplified and what it’s capable of playing. A bass with flat wound strings will tend to sound thicker and warmer, while a double bass will be more bright and lively.
When choosing a bass, it’s important to find one that matches your musical style and preferences. There are many models on the market with different sounds, including ones geared for specific genres such as metal and jazz.
To achieve a heavy sound on a bass, it’s best to use a pick combined with round wound strings. This can help you produce a distinct heavy sound that will stand out on a recording. This is especially helpful when playing in a band or group.