Bassists trying to emulate the sound of a double bass sometimes pluck the strings with their thumb and use palm-muting to create a short, "thumpy" tone. Monk Montgomery (who played in Lionel Hampton's big band) and Bruce Palmer (who performed with Buffalo Springfield) use thumb downstrokes. The use of the thumb was acknowledged by early Fender models, which came with a "thumbrest" or "Tug Bar" attached to the pickguard below the strings. Contrary to its name, this was not used to rest the thumb, but to provide leverage while using the thumb to pluck the strings. The thumbrest was moved above the strings in 1970s models (as a true thumbrest) and eliminated in the 1980s. Nevertheless, some reissued versions of vintage Fender basses in the 2010s do include a thumbrest.
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.
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.
Detuners, such as the Hipshot, are mechanical devices the player operates with the thumb on the fretting hand to quickly retune one or more strings to a pre-set lower pitch. Hipshots typically drop the E-string down to D on a four-string bass. Rarely, some bassists (e.g., Michael Manring) add detuners to more than one string, or even more than one detuner to each string, so they can retune during a performance and access a wider range of chime-like harmonics.
On modern band and orchestral drums, the drumhead is placed over the opening of the drum, which in turn is held onto the shell by a "counterhoop" (or "rim"), which is then held by means of a number of tuning screws called "tension rods" that screw into lugs placed evenly around the circumference. The head's tension can be adjusted by loosening or tightening the rods. Many such drums have six to ten tension rods. The sound of a drum depends on many variables—including shape, shell size and thickness, shell materials, counterhoop material, drumhead material, drumhead tension, drum position, location, and striking velocity and angle.
Drummers use a variety of accessories when practicing. Metronomes and beat counters are used to develop a sense of a steady pulse. Drum muffling pads may be used to lessen the volume of drums during practicing. A practice pad, held on the lap, on a leg, or mounted on a stand, is used for near-silent practice with drumsticks. A set of practice pads mounted to simulate an entire drum kit is known as a practice kit. In the 2010s, these have largely been superseded by electronic drums, which can be listened to with headphones for quiet practice and kits with non-sounding mesh heads.
There are a range of different string types including all-metal strings, which are available in many varieties of winding or finishing, each of which produce different tone, including roundwound, flatwound, halfwound, ground wound, and pressure wound); as well as metal strings with different coverings, such as tapewound and wound with plastic coatings. The variety of materials used in the strings gives bass players a range of tonal options. In the 1950s and early 1960s, bassists mostly used flatwound strings with a smooth surface, which had a smooth, damped sound reminiscent of a double bass. In the late 1960s and 1970s, players began using roundwound bass strings, which produce a brighter tone similar to steel guitar strings, though flatwounds also remained in use by players seeking a vintage tone. Roundwounds have a brighter timbre (tone) with longer sustain than flatwounds.
One of the main things to consider when looking at a 4-string bass (and every bass for that matter) is the material used to make its body. Bass guitars are traditionally made of different varieties of wood and feature a solid, hard-bodied design. Alder is a favorite amongst musicians because it produces a clear, full-bodied sound. For warmer, smoother tones, a mahogany bass might be the one for you. Another aspect to look into is a fretted or fretless electric bass guitar. On a fretted bass, the frets divide the fingerboard into semi tone divisions. These models make learning the bass easier because you have a guide for finger placement. Fretless basses offer a different sound because without frets the strings are directly pressed into the wood of the neck. This produces a softer sound because the string is in direct contact with the musician's finger and also allows you to slide up and down the neck with ease. The electric bass guitar is said to be the cornerstone of the band. It establishes the beat and brings a booming, punchy sound to the music. From Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Paul McCartney of the Beatles, musicians have been playing the bass for decades in modern, mainstream music groups. No matter what skill level you're at right now, these is certainly an electric bass guitar that will meet and exceed all your sound and style needs.
The standard design for the electric bass guitar has four strings, tuned E, A, D and G, in fourths such that the open highest string, G, is an eleventh (an octave and a fourth) below middle C, making the tuning of all four strings the same as that of the double bass (E1–A1–D2–G2). This tuning is also the same as the standard tuning on the lower-pitched four strings on a six-string guitar, only an octave lower.
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.).
In some styles or settings, such as country music clubs or churches, small venues, or when a live recording is being made, the drummer may use a transparent perspex or plexiglas drum screen (also known as a drum shield) to dampen the onstage volume of the drums. A screen that completely surrounds the drum kit is known as a drum booth. In live sound applications, drum shields are used so that the audio engineer can have more control over the volume of drums that the audience hears through the PA system mix or to reduce the overall volume of the drums, as a way to reduce the overall volume of the band in the venue. In some recording studios, foam and fabric baffles are used in addition to or in place of clear panels. The drawback with foam/cloth baffle panels is that the drummer cannot see other performers, the record producer or the audio engineer well.
Electronic drum pads are the second most widely used type of MIDI performance controllers, after electronic music keyboards.:319–320 Drum controllers may be built into drum machines, they may be standalone control surfaces (e.g., rubber drum pads), or they may emulate the look and feel of acoustic percussion instruments. The pads built into drum machines are typically too small and fragile to be played with sticks, and they are usually played with fingers.:88 Dedicated drum pads such as the Roland Octapad or the DrumKAT are playable with the hands or with sticks, and are often built to resemble the general form of a drum kit. There are also percussion controllers such as the vibraphone-style MalletKAT,:88–91 and Don Buchla's Marimba Lumina.
The type of shell also affects the sound of a drum. Because the vibrations resonate in the shell of the drum, the shell can be used to increase the volume and to manipulate the type of sound produced. The larger the diameter of the shell, the lower the pitch. The larger the depth of the drum, the louder the volume. Shell thickness also determines the volume of drums. Thicker shells produce louder drums. Mahogany raises the frequency of low pitches and keeps higher frequencies at about the same speed. When choosing a set of shells, a jazz drummer may want smaller maple shells, while a rock drummer may want larger birch shells. For more information about tuning drums or the physics of a drum, visit the external links listed below.
In the jazz scene, since the bass guitar takes on much of the same role as the double bass—laying down the rhythm, and outlining the harmonic foundation—electric bass players have long used both bass guitar methods and jazz double bass method books. The use of jazz double bass method books by electric bass players in jazz is facilitated in that jazz methods tend to emphasize improvisation techniques (e.g., how to improvise walking basslines) and rhythmic exercises rather than specific ways of holding or plucking the instrument.
Since the 1960s, the bass guitar has largely replaced the double bass in popular music as the bass instrument in the rhythm section. While types of basslines vary widely from one style of music to another, the bassist usually plays a similar role: anchoring the harmonic framework and establishing the beat. Many styles of music include the bass guitar, including rock, heavy metal, pop, punk rock, country, reggae, gospel, blues, symphonic rock, and jazz. It is often a solo instrument in jazz, jazz fusion, Latin, technical death metal, funk, progressive rock and other rock and metal styles.
Digital pianos typically use analog sensors for its keyboard action, as opposed to digital sensors of a regular keyboard and synthesizer. These sensors notably works in a similar way to those used in analog joysticks found on video game controllers, in which they the velocity input is converted from the key movement as well, not just the initial pressure of the key sensor.
Electronic drums are used for many reasons. Some drummers use electronic drums for playing in small venues such as coffeehouses or church services, where a very low volume for the band is desired. Since fully electronic drums do not create any acoustic sound (apart from the quiet sound of the stick hitting the sensor pads), all of the drum sounds come from a keyboard amplifier or PA system; as such, the volume of electronic drums can be much lower than an acoustic kit. Some drummers use electronic drums as practice instruments, because they can be listened to with headphones, enabling a drummer to practice in an apartment or in the middle of the night without disturbing others. Some drummers use electronic drums to take advantage of the huge range of sounds that modern drum modules can produce, which range from sampled sounds of real drums, cymbals and percussion instruments (including instruments that would be impractical to take to a small gig, such as gongs or tubular bells), to electronic and synthesized sounds, including non-instrument sounds such as ocean waves.
Just like the acoustic instruments they're derived from, digital pianos come in different sizes. They also offer dozens of options for your perusal, so you can weigh all kinds of factors to find the right model for you. For instance, if you're looking to pack a lot of piano into as small a space as possible, consider instruments such as the Williams Allegro 88-Key Digital Piano or the Casio CDP-120. These are fairly compact pianos, but that doesn't limit the breadth of their samples and sound settings.