The drum head has the most effect on how a drum sounds. Each type of drum head serves its own musical purpose and has its own unique sound. Double-ply drumheads dampen high frequency harmonics because they are heavier and they are suited to heavy playing. Drum heads with a white, textured coating on them muffle the overtones of the drum head slightly, producing a less diverse pitch. Drum heads with central silver or black dots tend to muffle the overtones even more. And drum heads with perimeter sound rings mostly eliminate overtones (Howie 2005). Some jazz drummers avoid using thick drum heads, preferring single ply drum heads or drum heads with no muffling. Rock drummers often prefer the thicker or coated drum heads.
There are several reasons for this division. When more than one band plays in a single performance, the drum kit is often considered part of the backline (the key rhythm section equipment that stays on stage all night, which often also includes bass amps and a stage piano), and is shared between/among the drummers. Oftentimes, the main "headlining" act will provide the drums, as they are being paid more, possibly have the better gear, and in any case have the prerogative of using their own. Sticks, snare drum and cymbals, and sometimes other components, are commonly swapped though, each drummer bringing their own. The term breakables in this context refers to whatever basic components the "guest" drummer is expected to bring. Similar considerations apply if using a "house kit" (a drum kit owned by the venue, which is rare), even if there is only one band at the performance.
I then set out to a few local Los Angeles music stores to get my hands on some keys, talk to the store employees who work around these instruments every day, and start to whittle down the list. After contacting manufacturers to request samples and/or to get suggestions on pianos that might better fit our guidelines (or, in one case, to inform us of a model that was being discontinued), the list was narrowed down to seven keyboards.
The Alesis Recital Pro is $100 less expensive than our runner-up, but it doesn’t sound that way. The built-in sounds are good, and with its touch buttons and LCD readout, the keyboard is the easiest and most intuitive to use of our picks. It doesn’t come with a sustain pedal, so it will require an extra purchase of about $20 to make it fully functional. Although it doesn’t sound quite as good or play quite as well as our main pick, it’s clearly the standout value.
Kawai’s exceptional line of digital pianos is the result of a never-ending effort to create the world’s most authentic and innovative digital pianos. Relying on our rich experience in building fine acoustic pianos, Kawai builds digital pianos that offer the finest touch and tone available. Wooden-key actions, Harmonic Imaging sound technology, USB digital audio and the unique Soundboard Speaker System are just a few of the innovations found in our digital pianos and keyboards.
Several colleges offer electric bass training in the US. The Bass Institute of Technology (BIT) in Los Angeles was founded in 1978, as part of the Musician's Institute. Chuck Rainey (electric bassist for Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye) was BIT's first director. BIT was one of the earliest professional training program for electric bassists. The program teaches a range of modern styles, including funk, rock, jazz, Latin, and R&B.
The Berklee College of Music in Boston offers training for electric bass players. Electric bass students get private lessons and there is a choice of over 270 ensembles to play in. Specific electric bass courses include funk/fusion styles for bass; slap techniques for electric bass; fingerstyle R&B; five- and six-string electric bass playing (including performing chords); and how to read bass sheet music. Berklee College alumni include Jeff Andrews, Victor Bailey, Jeff Berlin, Michael Manring, and Neil Stubenhaus. The Bass Department has two rooms with bass amps for classes and ten private lesson studios equipped with audio recording gear. Berklee offers instruction for the four-, five-, and six-string electric bass, the fretless bass, and double bass. "Students learn concepts in Latin, funk, Motown, and hip-hop, ... jazz, rock, and fusion."
The sound of electronic drums and cymbals themselves is heard by the drummer and possibly other musicians in close proximity, but even so, the foldback (audio monitor) system is usually fed from the electronic sounds rather than the live acoustic sounds. The drums can be heavily dampened (made to resonate less or subdue the sound), and their tuning and even quality is less critical in the latter scenario. In this way, much of the atmosphere of the live performance is retained in a large venue, but without some of the problems associated with purely microphone-amplified drums. Triggers and sensors can also be used in conjunction with conventional or built-in microphones. If some components of a kit prove more difficult to "mike" than others (e.g., an excessively "boomy" low tom), triggers may be used on only the more difficult instruments, balancing out a drummer's/band's sound in the mix.
Types of bass lines vary widely, depending on musical style. However, the bass guitarist generally fulfills a similar role: anchoring the harmonic framework (often by emphasizing the roots of the chord progression) and laying down the beat in collaboration with the drummer and other rhythm section instruments. The importance of the bass guitarist and the bass line varies in different styles of music. In some pop styles, such as 1980s-era pop and musical theater, the bass sometimes plays a relatively simple part as the music emphasizes vocals and melody instruments. In contrast, in reggae, funk, or hip-hop, entire songs may center on the bass groove, and the bass line is usually prominent in the mix.
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.
Most bass players stand while playing, using a strap over the shoulder to hold the instrument, although sitting is also accepted, particularly in large ensemble settings, such as jazz big bands or in acoustic genres such as folk music. Some bassists, such as Jah Wobble, alternate between standing or seated playing. It is a matter of the player's preference as to which position gives the greatest ease of playing and what a bandleader expects. When sitting, right-handed players can balance the instrument on the right thigh or like classical guitar players, the left. When sitting, no strap is required. Balancing the bass on the left thigh usually positions it in such a way that it mimics the standing position, allowing for less difference between the standing and sitting positions. Balancing the bass on the right thigh provides better access to the neck and fretboard in its entirety, especially the lower-pitched frets.
Six strings are usually tuned B0–E1–A1–D2–G2–C3—like a four-string bass with an additional low B string and a high C string. Some players prefer B0–E1–A1–D2–F♯2–B2, which preserves the intervals of standard six-string guitar tuning (an octave and a fourth lower) and makes the highest and lowest string the same note two octaves apart. While less common than four or five-string basses, they appear in Latin, jazz, and other genres, as well as in studio work where a session musician's single instrument must be highly versatile, and to facilitate sightreading in the recording studio. Alternative tunings for six-string bass include B–E–A–D–G–B, matching the first five strings of an acoustic or electric guitar with an additional low B, and E–A–D–G–B–E, completely matching the tuning of a six-string guitar but one octave lower allowing the use of guitar chord fingerings. Rarer tunings such as E–A–D–G–C–F and F♯–B–E–A–D–G provide a lower or higher range in a given position while maintaining consistent string intervals. In 1974, Anthony Jackson worked with Carl Thompson to create the Contrabass guitar (BEADGC). Later, Jackson brought his ideas to Fodera and worked with Ken Smith to create a wider-spaced Contrabass guitar, which evolved to the modern six-string bass.
Composers using electric bass include Christian Wolff (Electric Spring 1, 1966; Electric Spring 2, 1966/70; Electric Spring 3, 1967; and Untitled, 1996); Francis Thorne (Liebesrock 1968–69); Krzysztof Penderecki (Cello Concerto no. 1, 1966/67, rev. 1971/72; Capriccio for Violin and Orchestra, 1967); The Devils of Loudun, 1969; Kosmogonia, 1970; and Partita, 1971); Louis Andriessen (Spektakel, 1970; De Staat, 1972–1976; Hoketus, 1976; De Tijd, 1980–81; and De Materie, 1984–1988); Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen (Symfoni på Rygmarven, 1966; Rerepriser, 1967; and Piece by Piece, 1968); and Irwin Bazelon (Churchill Downs, 1970).
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.
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.
Tapewound (double bass type) and flatwound strings are sometimes used with the fretless bass so the metal string windings do not wear down the fingerboard. Tapewound and flatwound strings have a distinctive tone and sound. Some fretless basses have epoxy-coated fingerboards, or fingerboards made of an epoxy composite like micarta, to increase the fingerboard's durability, enhance sustain, and give a brighter tone.
Fender also began production of the Mustang Bass; a 30-inch (762 mm) scale length instrument used by bassists such as Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads and Bill Wyman of The Rolling Stones ("P" and "J" basses have a scale length of 34 inches (864 mm), a design echoed on most current production electric basses of all makes). In the 1950s and 1960s, the instrument was often called the "Fender bass", due to Fender's early dominance in the market. The Fender VI, a baritone guitar, was tuned one octave lower than standard guitar tuning. It was released in 1961, and was favored by Jack Bruce of Cream.
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.
During the 1990s, as five-string basses became more widely available and more affordable, an increasing number of bassists in genres ranging from metal to gospel began using five-string instruments for added lower range—a low "B" string. As well, onboard battery-powered electronics such as preamplifiers and equalizer circuits, which were previously only available on expensive "boutique" instruments, became increasingly available on mid-priced basses. From 2000 to the 2010s, some bass manufacturers included digital modelling circuits inside the instrument on more costly instruments to recreate tones and sounds from many models of basses (e.g., Line 6's Variax bass). A modelling bass can digitally emulate the tone and sound of many famous basses, ranging from a vintage Fender Precision to a Rickenbacker. However, as with the electric guitar, traditional "passive" bass designs, which include only pickups, tone and volume knobs (without a preamp or other electronics) remained popular. Reissued versions of vintage instruments such as the Fender Precision Bass and Fender Jazz Bass remained popular amongst new instrument buyers up to the 2010s. In 2011, a 60th Anniversary P-bass was introduced by Fender, along with the re-introduction of the short-scale Fender Jaguar Bass.
In the two-handed tapping styles, bassists use both hands to play notes on the fretboard by rapidly pressing and holding the string to the fret. Instead of plucking or picking the string to create a sound, in this technique, the action of striking the string against the fret or the fretboard creates the sound. Since two hands can be used to play on the fretboard, this makes it possible to play interweaving contrapuntal lines, to simultaneously play a bass line and a simple chord, or play chords and arpeggios. Bassist John Entwistle of The Who tapped percussively on the strings, causing them to strike the fretboard with a twangy sound to create drum-style fills. Players noted for this technique include Cliff Burton, Billy Sheehan, Stuart Hamm, John Myung, Victor Wooten, Les Claypool, Mark King, and Michael Manring. The Chapman Stick and Warr Guitars are string instruments specifically designed to play using two-handed tapping.
Some basses, particularly expensive boutique instruments or custom-made guitars, use more unusual pickup configurations. Examples include a soapbar and a "P" pickup (found on some Fender basses), bassist Stu Hamm's "Urge" basses, which have a "P" pickup sandwiched between two "J" pickups, and some of funk bassist Bootsy Collins' custom basses, which had as many as five J pickups. Another unusual pickup configuration is found on some of the custom basses that virtuoso bassist Billy Sheehan uses, in which there is one humbucker at the neck and a split-coil pickup at the middle position.
Much the same considerations apply to bass drum pedals and the stool, but these are not always considered breakables, particularly if changeover time between bands is very limited. Swapping the snare drum in a standard kit can be done very quickly. Replacing cymbals on stands takes longer, particularly if there are many of them, and cymbals are easily damaged by incorrect mounting, so many drummers prefer to bring their own cymbal stands.
Although these kits may be small with respect to the number of drums used, the drums themselves are most often normal sizes, or even larger in the case of the bass drum. Kits using smaller drums in both smaller and larger configurations are also produced for particular uses, such as boutique kits designed to reduce the visual impact that a large kit creates or due space constraints in coffeehouses, travelling kits to reduce luggage volume, and junior kits for very young players. Smaller drums also tend to be quieter, again suiting smaller venues, and many of these kits extend this with extra muffling which allows quiet or even silent practice in a hotel room or bedroom.
An uncommon form of digital piano that resemble a grand piano, usually with a more precision keyboard action and high-quality sound system built into the unit's cabinet in a similar manner as the strings on a grand piano. These pianos are mostly high-end novelty models offered by only small number of manufacturers, and often has higher prices than an average acoustic piano.