In the 1950s, Leo Fender, with the help of his employee George Fullerton, developed the first mass-produced electric bass guitar.[10] Fender was the founder of Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Company, which made popular brands of electric guitars, basses and amplifiers. Fender's Fender Precision Bass, which began production in October 1951, became a widely copied industry standard for the instrument. The Precision Bass (or "P-bass") evolved from a simple, un-contoured "slab" body design and a single coil pickup similar to that of a Telecaster, to a contoured body design with beveled edges for comfort and a split single coil pickup.
In 1929, when the stock market crash resulted in a global depression, one of the things that helped people cope with the trying years was swing jazz music. By the early to mid 1930's, big band swing was being embraced throughout the US, becoming the country's most popular form of music. The other contributing factor to the big band's success during the 1930s was the popularity of radio. The drum kit played a key role in the big band swing sound. Throughout the 1930s Chick Webb and Gene Krupa at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, increased the visual and musical driving force of the drummer and their equipment by simply being so popular and in demand- and they ensured that their drum kits became not only functionally developed but dazzling and well designed.[14] Jazz drummers were influential in developing the concept of the modern drum kit and extending playing techniques. Gene Krupa was the first drummer to head his own orchestra and thrust the drums into the spotlight with his drum solos.[citation needed] Others would soon follow his lead.

The snare drum is the heart of the drum kit, particularly in rock, due its utility of providing the backbeat. When applied in this fashion, it supplies strong regular accents, played by the left hand (if right handed), and the backbone for many fills. Its distinctive sound can be attributed to the bed of stiff snare wires held under tension to the underside of the lower drum head. When the stiff wire are "engaged" (held under tension), they vibrate with the top (snare-side) drum skin (head), creating a snappy, staccato buzzing sound, along with the sound of the stick striking the batter head.
In 1971, Alembic established the template for what became known as "boutique" or "high-end" electric bass guitars. These expensive, custom-tailored instruments, as used by Phil Lesh, Jack Casady, and Stanley Clarke, featured unique designs, premium hand-finished wood bodies, and innovative construction techniques such as multi-laminate neck-through-body construction and graphite necks. Alembic also pioneered the use of onboard electronics for pre-amplification and equalization. Active electronics increase the output of the instrument, and allow more options for controlling tonal flexibility, giving the player the ability to amplify as well as to attenuate certain frequency ranges while improving the overall frequency response (including more low-register and high-register sounds). 1973 saw the UK company Wal begin production of a their own range of active basses, and In 1974 Music Man Instruments, founded by Tom Walker, Forrest White and Leo Fender, introduced the StingRay, the first widely produced bass with active (powered) electronics built into the instrument. Basses with active electronics can include a preamplifier and knobs for boosting and cutting the low and high frequencies.

A player can use the fretting hand to change a sounded note, either by fully muting it after plucking it, or by partially muting it near the bridge to reduce volume, or make the note fade faster. The fretting hand often mutes strings that are not being played to stop sympathetic vibrations, particularly when the player wants a "dry" or "focused" sound. On the other hand, the sympathetic resonance of harmonically related strings are sometimes desirable. In these cases, a bassist can fret harmonically related notes. For example, while fretting a sustained "F" (on the third fret of the "D" string), underneath an F major chord being played by a piano player, a bassist might hold down the "C" and low "F" below this note so their harmonics sound sympathetically.

The long scale necks on Leo Fender's basses—with a scale length (distance between nut and bridge) of 34 inches (864 mm) — set the standard for electric basses, although 30-inch (762 mm) "short scale" instruments, such as the Höfner 500/1 "violin bass" played by Paul McCartney, and the Fender Mustang Bass are also common. Short scale instruments use the same E-A-D-G tuning as a regular long scale instrument. Short scale instruments are good choices for bassists with smaller hands, such as children or young teens who are just starting the instrument. While 35-inch (889 mm), 35 1⁄2-inch (902 mm), and 36-inch (914 mm) scale lengths were once only available in "boutique" instruments, in the 2000s (decade), many manufacturers began offering these "extra long" scale lengths. This extra long scale provides a higher string tension, which may yield a more defined, deep tone on the low "B" string of five- and six-stringed instruments (or detuned four-string basses).
Regardless of the model or series, a bass typically has four strings. They are tuned the same way as the first four strings on a regular guitar: E, A, D, and G. Some musical genres have alternative tunings, though. For example, metal often uses "drop D" tuning, where the E on the lowest string is tuned down a step to D. Most alternative tunings involve tuning down. Some basses have a fifth string. Usually this is added to the low end, where it becomes a B in standard tuning. In rare cases. it will be added to the high end, where it is known as a tenor fifth string and becomes a C. In even rarer cases, a bass can have six strings, using both the low B and the high C. The neck of the bass can be comprised of woods that range from maple to rosewood.

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The late Bernard Edwards, bass player with the Disco group Chic, was known to use a technique called chucking to pluck the bass strings with the forefinger of his right hand, in a manner similar to how strings are plucked with a plectrum.[58][not in citation given] Chucking uses the soft part of the forefinger and the nail of the forefinger to alternately strike the string in an up-down manner. The thumb supports the forefinger at the first joint, as though using an invisible plectrum. With a flexible wrist action, chucking facilitates rapid rhythmic sequences of notes played on different strings, particular notes that are an octave apart. Chucking is distinguished from plucking in that the attack is softer with a sound closer to that produced by the use of fingers. Chucking allows a mix of plucking and finger techniques on a given song, without having to take up or put down a plectrum. Examples of Edwards’ use of chucking on his Music Man Stingray bass can be heard on the intro and solo section of "Everybody Dance" and the foundation bass line of "Dance Dance Dance".

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