Yet another form is the portable digital piano which is what appear to be combining the capabilities of stage pianos, but with additional features similar to a conventional digital keyboard. These digital pianos are mostly designed for various purposes such as home, studio, classroom, stage or personal use. It is similar in form to a stage piano, but much lighter in weight, and having a more compact size. Unlike stage pianos, portable digital pianos were commonly equipped with built-in amplification and loudspeakers, usually has lower cost than other types, and its sound quality were often comparable or similar to that of a regular digital keyboards due to a simpler sound synthesis system, though some models, still utilize a similar sound engine as the more advanced model lineups of the same manufacturer.
Instruments handmade by highly skilled luthiers are becoming increasingly available in the 2010s. Exotic materials in high-end instruments include woods such as bubinga, wenge, ovangkol, ebony, and goncalo alves. Some makers use graphite composite to make lightweight necks More expensive basses often feature exotic woods. For example, Alembic uses cocobolo as a body or top layer material because of its attractive grain. Warwick bass guitars are well known for exotic hardwoods, making most necks out of ovangkol, and fingerboards from wenge or ebony. Some makers use solid bubinga bodies for their tonal and aesthetic qualities.
In other less mainstream genres, such as hardcore punk or metal, the pedagogical systems and training sequences are typically not formalized and institutionalized. As such, many players learn by ear, by copying bass lines from records and CDs, and by playing in a number of bands. Even in non-mainstream styles, though, students may be able to take lessons from experts in these or other styles, adapting learned techniques to their own style. As well, there are a range of books, playing methods, and, since the 1990s, instructional DVDs (e.g., how to play metal bass). In the 2010s, many instructional videos are available online on video-sharing websites such as YouTube.
However, contemporary classical composers may also write for the bass guitar to get its unique sound, and in particular its precise and piercing attack and timbre. For example, Steve Reich, explaining his decision to score 2x5 for two bass guitars, stated that, "[With electric bass guitars] you can have interlocking bass lines, which on an acoustic bass, played pizzicato, would be mud."
Macaque monkeys drum objects in a rhythmic way to show social dominance and this has been shown to be processed in a similar way in their brains to vocalizations suggesting an evolutionary origin to drumming as part of social communication. Other primates make drumming sounds by chest beating or hand clapping, and rodents such as kangaroo rats also make similar sounds using their paws on the ground.
In a jazz setting, the electric bass tends to have a much more expansive solo role than in most popular styles. In most rock settings, the bass guitarist may only have a few short bass breaks or brief solos during a concert. During a jazz concert, a jazz bassist may have a number of lengthy improvised solos, which are called "blowing" in jazz parlance. Whether a jazz bassist is comping (accompanying) or soloing, they usually aim to create a rhythmic drive and "timefeel" that creates a sense of "swing" and "groove". For information on notable jazz bassists, see the List of jazz bassists article.
Swing drummers such as Max Roach and Kenny Clarke had already deviated from the large marching band-style bass drums, finding that they were too loud and boomy. Bebop drummers continued this trend, and they started trying out smaller bass drum sizes in the drum set. Bebop drummers' experimentations with new drum sizes and new sounds led to the innovative concept of applying the busy "four on the floor" bass drum rhythms to a new larger cymbal called the ride cymbal. By focusing on keeping time on the new ride cymbal instead of the bass drum, the "feel" went from bass drum and hi-hat heavy, to a lighter melodic feel that has been explained as "floating on top of the time". This allowed drummers to express themselves in a more melodic fashion by playing the rhythms used by the guitar, piano and sax players using the new smaller, more focused bass drums and snare. Louie Bellson also assisted in the innovative sizes and sounds of the 1940s drum set by pioneering the use of two bass drums, or the double bass drum kit.
"Soapbar" Pickups are so-named due to their resemblance to a bar of soap and originally referred to the Gibson P-90 guitar pickup. The term is also used to describe any pickup with a rectangular shape (no protruding screw mounting "ears" like on P, J or MM pickups) and no visible pole pieces. Most of the pickups falling into this category are humbucking, though a few single-coil soapbar designs exist. They are commonly found in basses designed for the rock and metal genres, such as Gibson, ESP Guitars, and Schecter, however they are also found on 5- and 6-string basses made popular by jazz and jazz fusion music, such as Yamaha's TRB and various Peavey model lines. 'Soapbar pickups' are also called 'extended housing pickups', because the rectangular shape is achieved simply by making the pickup cover longer or wider than it would have to be to only cover the pickup coils, and then the mounting holes are recessed inside these wider dimensions of the housing.
Although there are far fewer university programs that offer electric bass instruction in jazz and popular music, some universities offer bachelor's degrees (B.Mus.) and Master of Music (M.Mus.) degrees in jazz performance or "commercial music", where electric bass can be the main instrument. In the US, the Manhattan School of Music has a jazz program leading to B.Mus. and M.Mus degrees that accepts students who play bass (double bass and electric bass), guitar, piano, drums, and melody instruments (e.g., saxophone, trumpet, etc.).
In the 1930s, musician and inventor Paul Tutmarc of Seattle, Washington, developed the first electric string bass in its modern form, a fretted instrument designed to be played horizontally. The 1935 sales catalog for Tutmarc's electronic musical instrument company, Audiovox, featured his "Model 736 Bass Fiddle", a four-stringed, solid-bodied, fretted electric bass instrument with a 30 1⁄2-inch (775-millimetre) scale length. The adoption of a guitar's body shape made the instrument easier to hold and transport than any of the existing stringed bass instruments. The addition of frets enabled bassists to play in tune more easily than on fretless acoustic or electric upright basses. Around 100 of these instruments were made during this period.
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The bare minimum requirements for a budget digital piano are to have 88 keys (the same number found on traditional acoustic pianos) and internal speakers to facilitate practicing without an amplifier. Beyond that, some amount of weighted key action (either semi-weighted or hammer action, more on this in a moment) and an accurate piano sound were the primary deciding factors for our picks. An included stand and sustain pedal were not requirements, as aftermarket options are readily available and inexpensive. (We discuss some options below.)
Keyboards, on the other hand, were designed to produce a much wider range of sounds than traditional pianos. Though they are sometimes good options for beginners, the range of available features on a keyboard make them more appropriate for intermediate to advanced musicians who are interested and capable of developing their own sound. It’s uncommon for such musicians to use a keyboard to create the same sounds that a traditional piano would make. Keyboards are usually much lighter than digital pianos, and they often do not have weighted keys. In short, keyboards are designed to be used by musicians and producers with more experience. Keyboards are often much lighter than digital pianos and have tones which number in the hundreds and sometimes thousands. They include a lot of technical options to allow the player to fully customize their sound.
No matter which digital piano you choose, you're in for something special. The instruments found on these pages all offer different features, so take a few minutes to think about your needs as a musician and go from there. Whether you go with a higher-end stage piano like the top-selling KAWAI MP11 Professional Piano or a student model Yamaha's NP12 61-Key Entry-Level Piaggero Ultra-Portable Digital Piano, any digital pianos here will enhance your musical journey.