Since 2011 German bass luthier Warwick built several fretless Thumb NT 7 basses for Jeroen Paul Thesseling, featuring a 34-inch (864 mm) scale with subcontra tuning F♯–B–E–A–D–G–C . Yves Carbonne developed ten- and twelve-string fretless subbass guitars. In 2017 a 13 string bass tuned Ab00–Gb–Db–B–E–A–D–G–C–F–Bb–Eb–Ab4 was built by Prometeus guitars giving the fullest range to a string instrument allowable by current string technology.
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.
The "Fender Bass" was a revolutionary new instrument for gigging musicians. In comparison with the large, heavy upright bass, which had been the main bass instrument in popular music, folk and country music from the early 1900s to the 1940s, the Fender bass could be easily transported to shows. The bass guitar was also less prone to unwanted feedback sounds when amplified, than acoustic bass instruments. In 1953 Monk Montgomery became the first bass player to tour with the Fender bass guitar, in Lionel Hampton's postwar big band. Montgomery was also possibly the first to record with the bass guitar, on 2 July 1953 with The Art Farmer Septet. Roy Johnson (with Lionel Hampton), and Shifty Henry (with Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five), were other early Fender bass pioneers. Bill Black, playing with Elvis Presley, switched from upright bass to the Fender Precision Bass around 1957. The bass guitar was intended to appeal to guitarists as well as upright bass players, and many early pioneers of the instrument, such as Carol Kaye and Joe Osborn, were originally guitarists.
Strumming, usually with finger nails, is a common technique on acoustic guitar, but it is not a commonly used technique for bass. However, notable examples are Stanley Clarke's bass playing on the introduction to "School Days", on the album of the same name, and Lemmy who was noted for his use of chords, often playing the bass like a rhythm guitar.
Chords are not used that often by electric bass players. However, in some styles, bassists may sound "double stops", such as octaves with open strings and powerchords. In Latin music, double stops with fifths are used. Robert Trujillo of Metallica is known for playing "massive chords"  and "chord-based harmonics"  on the bass. Lemmy of Motörhead often played power chords in his bass lines.
The smallest and largest drums without snares, octobans and gong drums respectively, are sometimes considered toms. The naming of common configurations (four-piece, five-piece, etc.) is largely a reflection of the number of toms, as only the drums are conventionally counted, and these configurations all contain one snare and one or more bass drums, (though not regularly any standardized use of 2 bass/kick drums) the balance usually being in toms.
In the mid-1970s, Alembic and other boutique bass manufacturers, such as Tobias, produced four-string and five-string basses with a low "B" string. In 1975, bassist Anthony Jackson commissioned luthier Carl Thompson to build a six-string bass tuned (low to high) B0, E1, A1, D2, G2, C3. In comparison with a standard four-string bass, Jackson's six-string adds a low B string and a high C string. These 5 and 6-string "extended-range basses" would become popular with session bassists as they reduced the need for re-tuning to alternate detuned configurations like "drop D", and also allowed the bassist to play more notes from the same position on the fretboard with fewer shifts up and down the fingerboard, a crucial benefit for a session player sightreading basslines at a recording session.
The fretting hand can also be used to sound notes, either by plucking an open string with the fretting hand, or, in the case of a string that has already been plucked or picked, by "hammering on" a higher pitch or "pulling off" a finger to pluck a lower fretted or open stringed note. Jazz bassists use a subtle form of fretting hand pizzicato by plucking a very brief open string grace note with the fretting hand right before playing the string with the plucking hand. When a string is rapidly hammered on, the note can be prolonged into a trill.
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.
Piezoelectric pickups (also called "piezo" pickups) are non-magnetic pickups that use a transducer to convert vibrations in the instrument's body or bridge into an electrical signal. They are typically mounted under the bridge saddle or near the bridge and produce a different tone from magnetic pickups, often similar to that of an acoustic bass. Piezo pickups are often used in acoustic bass guitars to allow for amplification without a microphone.
As for the experienced and more dedicated guitarists who’d love to set their standards higher, the high-end guitars are the ones to go for. These come with a better electronic system and the top-notch hardware; the same also goes for the tonewoods. Besides sounding better to the ear, a high-end bass guitar will serve you longer and of course, you will feel better.
Many basses have just one pickup, typically a "P" or "MM" pickup, though single soapbars are not unheard of. Multiple pickups are also quite common, two of the most common configurations being two "J" pickups (as on the stock Fender Jazz), or a "P" near the neck and a "J" near the bridge (e.g., Fender Precision Bass Special, Fender Precision Bass Plus). A two-"soapbar" configuration is also very common, especially on basses by makes such as Ibanez and Yamaha. A combination of a J or other single-coil pickup at the neck and a Music Man-style humbucker in the bridge has become popular among boutique instrument builders, giving a very bright, focused tone that is good for jazz, funk and thumbstyle.
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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.
The meanings of both numbers and letters vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, and some sticks are not described using this system at all, just being known as Smooth Jazz (typically a 7N or 9N) or Speed Rock (typically a 2B or 3B) for example. Many famous drummers endorse sticks made to their particular preference and sold under their signature. Besides drumsticks, drummers will also use brushes and rutes in jazz and similar softer music. More rarely, other beaters such as cartwheel mallets (known to kit drummers as "soft sticks") may be used. It is not uncommon for rock drummers to use the "wrong" (butt) end of a stick for a heavier sound; some makers produce tipless sticks with two butt ends.
Trigger sensors are most commonly used to replace the acoustic drum sounds, but they can often also be used effectively with an acoustic kit to augment or supplement an instrument's sound for the needs of the session or show. For example, in a live performance in a difficult acoustical space, a trigger may be placed on each drum or cymbal, and used to trigger a similar sound on a drum module. These sounds are then amplified through the PA system so the audience can hear them, and they can be amplified to any level without the risks of audio feedback or bleed problems associated with microphones and PAs in certain settings.
Over the decades, the possibilities of what a musician can do with a digital piano have grown tremendously. With technology advancing by the second, players are discovering new, innovative ways to manipulate their sound - even beyond the use of volume, expression and sustain pedals. MIDI (short for Musical Instrument Digital Interface) was introduced in the early 1980s and allows digital pianists to connect their instrument to a computer so it can control (or be controlled by) other sequencers and instruments. MIDI digital pianos often have a disk drive to upload other MIDI data. Common effects and instruments that MIDI can offer are: tremolo, phasers, chorus, stringed instruments and drum sounds. Digital Pianos (including models with MIDI connection) are offered by many respected musical instrument brands, with Williams and Yamaha being among the most popular.
In 1953, following Fender's lead, Gibson released the first short scale violin-shaped electric bass, with an extendable end pin so a bassist could play it upright or horizontally. Gibson renamed the Electric Bass in 1958 to the EB-1. Also in 1958 Gibson released the maple arched top EB-2 described in the Gibson catalogue as "A hollow-body electric bass that features a Bass/Baritone pushbutton for two different tonal characteristics". In 1959 these were followed by the more conventional-looking EB-0 Bass. The EB-0 was very similar to a Gibson SG in appearance (although the earliest examples have a slab-sided body shape closer to that of the double-cutaway Les Paul Special).
In most genres, a "clean" bass tone (without any amplifier-induced "overdrive" or "distortion") is desirable, and so while guitarists often prefer the more desirable distorted tones of tube-transistor amplifiers, bassists commonly use solid-state amplifier circuitry to achieve the necessary high output wattages with less weight than tubes (though smaller tubes can often still be found in the low-power "preamplifier" sections of the system, where they provide a warmer, smoother character to the bass tone for relatively little additional weight). A few all-tube bass amplifiers are still available, notably from the Ampeg brand.
Although we might take some flak from guitarists, we bassists know the truth: a band just wouldn't be the same without the deep, rumbling tones of the bass laying the foundation for everyone else. Any instrument can play a memorable tune, but it's up to the bass guitar to really put in the heartbeat and soul that separates a great song from an average one. Naturally, giving a great performance is all about being in touch with your instrument, and for that, you'll want to take a careful look at the basses here to find the one that fits you best.
Heavy metal bass players such as Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath), Alex Webster (Cannibal Corpse), Cliff Burton (Metallica), and Les Claypool (Primus, Blind Illusion) have used chime-like harmonics and rapid plucking techniques in their bass solos. Geddy Lee of Rush has made frequent use of bass solos, such as on the instrumental "YYZ". In both published Van Halen concert videos, Michael Anthony performs unique maneuvers and actions during his solos. Funk bassists such as Larry Graham began using slapping and popping techniques for their solos, which coupled a percussive thumb-slapping technique of the lower strings with an aggressive finger-snap of the higher strings, often in rhythmic alternation. The slapping and popping technique incorporates a large number of muted (or 'ghost' tones) to normal notes to add to the rhythmic effect. Slapping and popping solos were prominent in 1980s pop and R&B, and they are still used by some modern funk and Latin bands.
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