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.
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Depending on the individual features of each digital piano, they may include many more instrument sounds other than regular piano samples. Many less expensive or average-priced digital pianos often include basic instruments such as string ensemble, electric piano, organs, harpsichord, guitar, and vibraphone, while a more expensive and advanced digital pianos may have a wider range of instruments such as synthesized sounds, wind instruments, traditional instruments, violins, drums, percussion, and a variety of effects, similar to that of a typical digital keyboard or synthesizer. Some digital pianos may also have a complete set of General MIDI implementation, in addition to the aforementioned basic sounds.
Another design consideration for the bass is whether to use frets on the fingerboard. On a fretted bass, the metal frets divide the fingerboard into semitone divisions (as on an electric guitar or acoustic guitar). Fretless basses have a distinct sound, because the absence of frets means that the string must be pressed down directly onto the wood of the fingerboard with the fingers, as with the double bass. The string buzzes against the wood and is somewhat muted because the sounding portion of the string is in direct contact with the flesh of the player's finger. The fretless bass lets players use expressive approaches such as glissando (sliding up or down in pitch, with all of the pitches in between sounding), and vibrato (in which the player rocks a finger that is stopping a string to oscillate the pitch slightly). Fretless players can also play microtones, or temperaments other than equal temperament, such as just intonation.
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."[62]
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.[8] 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.[9]
The fretting hand—the left hand for right-handed bass players and right hand for left-handed bass players—presses down the strings to play different notes and shape the tone or timbre of a plucked or picked note. One fretting technique is a finger per fret, where each finger in the fretting hand plays one fret in a given position, giving the advantage that full chromatic scale of over an octave and a half can be played with no up-down wrist movement. Also, the double bass-style technique can be used for fretting. This technique involves using four fingers in the space of three frets, especially in the lower positions (i.e., the fretting positions closer to the nut, where the space between notes is the widest). When considering the spacing between notes, this is a comfortable distance for the average person's hand size, however it requires more up-down hand movements. The main advantage of the "four fingers in three frets technique is less tendon strain, leading to a diminished likelihood of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). The image below (of a bassist performing tapping) shows the four-in-three.
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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.).
Bass guitars require a bass amp. It is possible to play a guitar through a bass amp, but you cannot play a bass through a guitar amp without damaging the amp. Amplifying low-frequency sounds is more challenging and requires both different equipment and more space compared to an ordinary guitar's amplification needs. Like guitar amps, bass amps can be combined or separated into the head and the speaker.
Drum kit music is either written down in music notation (called "drum parts"), learned and played "by ear", improvised or some combination of some or all three of these methods. Professional session musician drummers and Big Band jazz drummers are often required to read drum parts. Drum parts are most commonly written on a standard five-line staff. In 2016, a special percussion clef is used, while previously the bass clef was used. However, even if the bass or no clef is used, each line and space is assigned an instrument of the kit, rather than to a pitch. In jazz, traditional music, folk music, rock music and pop music, drummers are expected to be able to learn songs by ear (from a recording or from another musician who is playing or singing the song) and improvise. The degree of improvisation differs in different styles. Jazz and jazz fusion drummers may have lengthy improvised solos in every song. In rock music and blues, there are also drum solos in some songs, although they tend to be shorter than those in jazz. Drummers in all popular music and traditional music styles are expected to be able to improvise accompaniment parts to songs, once they are told the genre or style (e.g., shuffle, ballad, slow blues, etc.).
Maybe you're looking for something a bit more conspicuous, that you can make into the centerpiece of your music room? If so, you'll want to investigate options like the Yamaha Arius YDP-142 and Suzuki Micro Grand Digital Piano. These advanced instruments sound every bit as gorgeous as they look, and they offer the ability to record your and store your performances to listen again later or even to playback as accompaniments.
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