Prior to the invention of tension rods, drum skins were attached and tuned by rope systems—as on the Djembe—or pegs and ropes such as on Ewe Drums. These methods are rarely used today, though sometimes appear on regimental marching band snare drums.[1] The head of a talking drum, for example, can be temporarily tightened by squeezing the ropes that connect the top and bottom heads. Similarly, the tabla is tuned by hammering a disc held in place around the drum by ropes stretching from the top to bottom head. Orchestral timpani can be quickly tuned to precise pitches by using a foot pedal.


I have been playing piano since the early 1980s, and I earned a Bachelor of Music with an audio production and piano focus from Ithaca College as well as a Masters in Music in keyboard collaborative arts from the University of Southern California. For the past 20 years, I’ve been a professional music director and have performed myriad musical styles on different instruments in concert halls and on nightclub stages. I also taught music for 10 years at a private Los Angeles middle and high school.
No matter how you choose to distinguish yourself - acoustic-electric, custom, signature model, extended range or the tried-and-true standbys - one thing that will never change is that music is a personal thing. Only you can decide which bass guitar belongs onstage and in the studio with you, so you've got every reason to check out all the instruments here: chances are you'll know the right one when you find it.

At the heart of most stages is the acoustic drum set. It's made up of tom-toms, snares, at least one bass drum and an array of cymbals. You'll find all of those here, and there are choices for anyone. If you're just getting started as a drummer, you can get up and running fast with a shell pack or drum kit that gives you everything at once. Or, if you prefer, you can pick individual pieces ""a la carte"" to customize your own set from the ground up. The choice is yours.
Composers using electric bass include Christian Wolff (Electric Spring 1, 1966; Electric Spring 2, 1966/70; Electric Spring 3, 1967; and Untitled, 1996); Francis Thorne (Liebesrock 1968–69); Krzysztof Penderecki (Cello Concerto no. 1, 1966/67, rev. 1971/72; Capriccio for Violin and Orchestra, 1967); The Devils of Loudun, 1969; Kosmogonia, 1970; and Partita, 1971); Louis Andriessen (Spektakel, 1970; De Staat, 1972–1976; Hoketus, 1976; De Tijd, 1980–81; and De Materie, 1984–1988); Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen (Symfoni på Rygmarven, 1966; Rerepriser, 1967; and Piece by Piece, 1968); and Irwin Bazelon (Churchill Downs, 1970).
When playing bass solos, rock and metal bassists sometimes use effects such as fuzz bass or a wah-wah pedal to produce a more pronounced sound. Notably, Cliff Burton of Metallica used both effects. Due to the lower range of the bass, bass guitar solos usually have a much lighter accompaniment than solos for other instruments. In some cases, the bass guitar solo is unaccompanied, or accompanied only by the drums.
Like the electric guitar, the electric bass guitar is almost always connected to an amplifier and a speaker with a patch cord for live performances. Electric bassists use either a "combo" amplifier, which combines an amplifier and a speaker in a single cabinet, or an amplifier and one or more speaker cabinets (typically stacked, with the amplifier sitting on the speaker cabinets, leading to the term "half-stack" for one cabinet setups and "full stack" for two).
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Some basses, particularly expensive boutique instruments or custom-made guitars, use more unusual pickup configurations. Examples include a soapbar and a "P" pickup (found on some Fender basses), bassist Stu Hamm's "Urge" basses, which have a "P" pickup sandwiched between two "J" pickups, and some of funk bassist Bootsy Collins' custom basses, which had as many as five J pickups. Another unusual pickup configuration is found on some of the custom basses that virtuoso bassist Billy Sheehan uses, in which there is one humbucker at the neck and a split-coil pickup at the middle position.
There are many varieties of picks available, but due to the thicker, heavier strings of the electric bass, bassists tend to use heavier picks than those used for electric guitar, typically ranging from 1.14 mm–3.00 mm (3.00 is unusual). Different materials are used for picks, including plastic, nylon, rubber, and felt, all of which produce different tones. Felt and rubber picks sound closer to a fingerstyle tone.
Palm-muting is a widely used bass technique. The outer edge of the palm of the picking hand is rested on the bridge while picking, and "mutes" the strings, shortening the sustain time. The harder the palm presses, or the more string area that is contacted by the palm, the shorter the string's sustain. The sustain of the picked note can be varied for each note or phrase. The shorter sustain of a muted note on an electric bass can be used to imitate the shorter sustain and character of an upright bass. Palm-muting is commonly done while using a pick, but can also be done without a pick, as when doing down-strokes with the thumb.

Bass bodies are typically made of wood, although other materials such as graphite (for example, some of the Steinberger designs) and other lightweight composite materials have also been used. While a wide variety of woods are suitable for use in the body, neck, and fretboard of the bass guitar, the most common types of wood used are similar to those used for electric guitars; alder, ash or mahogany for the body, maple for the neck, and rosewood or ebony for the fretboard. While these traditional standards are most common, for tonal or aesthetic reasons luthiers more commonly experiment with different tonewoods on basses than with electric guitars (though this is changing), and rarer woods like walnut and figured maple, as well as exotic woods like bubinga, wenge, koa, and purpleheart, are often used as accent woods in the neck or on the face of mid- to high-priced production basses and on custom-made and boutique instruments.
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A well-known bass humbucker is the pickup used on the Music Man series of basses; it has two coils, each with four large polepieces. This style is known as the "MM" pickup for this reason, and many aftermarket pickup manufacturers (companies that make and sell pickups that you can custom-add to your bass) and custom bass builders incorporate these pickups in their designs. The most common configurations are a single pickup at the bridge, two pickups similar in placement to a Jazz Bass, or an MM pickup at the bridge with a single-coil pickup (often a "J") at the neck. These pickups can often be "tapped", meaning one of the two coils can be essentially turned off, giving a sound similar to a single-coil pickup.
In most implementations, a digital piano produces a variety of piano timbres and usually other sounds as well. For example, a digital piano may have settings for a concert grand piano, an upright piano, a tack piano, and various electric pianos such as the Fender Rhodes, the Wurlitzer, and the DX electric piano. Some digital pianos incorporate other basic "synthesizer" sounds such as string ensemble, for example, and offer settings to combine them with piano.
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