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Thomann's Cool Online Guides: E-Basses

2. Acoustic or electric

The acoustic bass

The acoustic
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
is mainly used where it can stand out best against other acoustic instruments. Acoustic basses are often seen on MTV ‘Unplugged’, be it in the form of either
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
guitars or upright basses for this TV show is all about the use of non-amplified (unplugged) instruments.Whenever an acoustic
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
is used with amplified instruments it needs to be amplified as well. This is usually done with a
MicrophoneA device which converts airborne sound into an electrical signal.
microphone
placed in front of the instrument or some type of special pickup-system.

A particular type of
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
guitar, reminiscent of a classical guitar in shape, is often seen in classical or folk ensembles. The acoustic
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
guitar has a large body which is far bigger than a
JumboSize and shape of a steel-strung acoustic guitar design originally associated with Gibson guitars such as the J-200. The jumbo body is large and much more rounded than the typical 'dreadnought' shape.
jumbo
western guitar. Of course the exact sound of an acoustic
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
depends on the choice of the wood. The listening experience is enjoyable, in any case, because the low frequencies don’t affect the human hearing and body in the way electric basses tend to.

The double bass

We all know the acoustic
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
as the exceedingly large version of the bowed or picked double
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
. It originated in classical orchestras but has also become established in the world of jazz in which it is mainly picked and is identified with many virtuoso musicians. Within rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly ensembles the double
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
is also highly regarded.The double
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
was developed in the 16th century from the violone as the member of the string family with the lowest range. The common modern double
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
played in orchestras is more than six feet tall and usually features four strings, although five-stringed versions are also available. The tonal range of the four-stringed double
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
can be extended downwards using a special lever (low C extension) which allows the player to tune down the lowest string in a single move. In order to bow the
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
, an adequate
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
bow is needed.

The electric bass

Within the entire pop genre and especially in rock music, the electric
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
is well established although jazz bassists also like to use electric basses nowadays as well when it comes to amplified or rock-orientated types of jazz music.In modern music production there has been a general tendency towards using sampled
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
sounds played by keyboardists. But this particular case will not be discussed in this guide.

What exactly constitutes the electric bass? First of all, everything you’ve learned about the wood types, design and electrical equipment of electric guitars applies to the electric
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
as well. Only the
PickupA device for converting sound into an electronic signal, usually by direct contact with the instrument body or by magnetic interaction with the strings, as opposed to a microphone which picks up sound vibrations in the air.
pickups
have a slightly different layout and are placed differently on the instrument.

The standard electric
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
features four strings tuned to E-A-D-G. This tuning matches the four lowest strings on a guitar.
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
Bass
strings, however, are considerably thicker as they are tuned an octave below a guitar. Tuning a
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
is done in the same way as a guitar.

There is a certain trend among advanced rock musicians for using five- or six-stringed basses. A five-stringed
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
features an additional lower B-string while the six-stringed has another high C-string on top. This expert-setup, however, shouldn’t concern beginners as handling a four-stringed
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
is already enough of a challenge.

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