The bass guitar is a musical instrument that is also called an electric bass
and simply bass and is played with the fingers/thumb to pluck, slap, pop, tap or thumb the strings. Some bassists however prefer to use a plectrum to play this instrument. Basses are very similar in their construction as well as appearance to electric bass guitars but is different because it boasts of a neck that is longer and the length of the scale also happens to be longer.
Typically, these guitars can have four or five and perhaps even six strings. The four string version is very common and is tuned in more or less the same way as are double basses. Essentially, these guitars are transposing instruments and like the electric guitar, will be plugged into amplifiers and speakers when playing in front of live audiences.
From the fifties onward, double basses gave way to the basses as we know them today. This change took place because pop music was becoming very popular and pop musicians did not want to play on double basses. Basses could now be played in various styles but their primary function was to anchor the harmonic section and to lay down a beat. Basses are also an instrument that is used in different music styles including rock, pop, metal, reggae, ska, punk rock, dub, blues, country and jazz. Jazz musicians, fusion and Latin as well as funk musicians like to play solo on this instrument. Even rock bassists as well as heavy metal bassists are known to play a lot of solo on this instrument.
The first such instrument was developed in the thirties. It was a musician/inventor from Seattle, Washington, Paul Tutmarc who was the first to develop this instrument as we know it today. This was a fretted guitar that was designed to be played in a horizontal fashion. The first such instrument was called the Model 736 Bass Fiddle and had four strings and a solid body and it was fretted and had a scale that was 30 A� inches long.
Basses, when they were transformed into guitars, became a lot easier to hold. Not only were the bass guitars easier to hold but they were also easier to transport. Bassists also found that the frets on the neck of the instrument helped them to tune the guitar with considerable more ease as well as with more precision. At that time, there were about a hundred of these instruments available.
The fifties saw the introduction of mass production of basses and Leo Fender was the person who was responsible for such mass production. He came up with the Fender Precision Bass which came out in the year 1951 and his creation went on to become very popular and was a most widely copied musical instrument. This was indeed an instrument that revolutionized basses as it could be played with the same ease as when playing an electric guitar.
The Fender Precision was followed by basses from Gibson whose version was different as it was shaped like a violin. The first of these Gibson basses was christened the EB-1 which was then followed by EB-2.
When rock music exploded on the scene in the sixties, there was another explosion of basses which led to a proliferation of companies that came out with their own offerings.
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