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.
A drum kit — also called a drum set, trap set (a term using a contraction of the word, “contraption”), or simply drums — is a collection of drums and other percussion instruments, typically cymbals, which are set up on stands to be played by a single player, with drumsticks held in both hands, and the feet operating pedals that control the hi-hat cymbal and the beater for the bass drum. A drum kit consists of a mix of drums (categorized classically as membranophones, Hornbostel-Sachs high-level classification 2) and idiophones – most significantly cymbals, but can also include the woodblock and cowbell (classified as Hornbostel-Sachs high-level classification 1). In the 2000s, some kits also include electronic instruments (Hornbostel-Sachs classification 53). Also, both hybrid (mixing acoustic instruments and electronic drums) and entirely electronic kits are used.
The fretting hand can add vibrato to a plucked or picked note, either a gentle, narrow vibrato or a more exaggerated, wide vibrato with bigger pitch variations. For fretted basses, vibrato is always an alternation between the pitch of the note and a slightly higher pitch. For fretless basses, the player can use this style of vibrato, or they can alternate between the note and a slightly lower pitch, as is done with the double bass and on other unfretted stringed instruments. While vibrato is mostly done on "stopped" notes—that is, notes that are pressed down on the fingerboard—open strings can also be vibratoed by pressing down on the string behind the nut. As well, the fretting hand can be used to "bend" a plucked or picked note up in pitch, by pushing or pulling the string so that the note sounds at a higher pitch. To create the opposite effect, a "bend down", the string is pushed to a higher pitch before being plucked or picked and then allowed to fall to the lower, regular pitch after it is sounded. Though rare, some bassists may use a tremolo bar-equipped bass to produce the same effect.
Snare drum and tom-tom Typical ways to muffle a snare or tom include placing an object on the outer edge of the drumhead. A piece of cloth, a wallet, gel, or fitted rings made of mylar are common objects. Also used are external clip-on muffles that work using the same principle. Internal mufflers that lie on the inside of the drumhead are often built into a drum, but are generally considered less effective than external muffles, as they stifle the initial tone, rather than simply reducing the sustain of it.
A three-piece drum set is the most basic set. A conventional three-piece kit consists of a bass drum, a 14" diameter snare drum, 12"–14" hi-hats, a single 12" diameter hanging tom, 8"–9" in depth, and a suspended cymbal, in the range of 14"–18", both mounted on the bass drum. These kits were common in the 1950s and 1960s and are still used in the 2010s in small acoustic dance bands. It is a common configuration for kits sold through mail order, and, with smaller sized drums and cymbals, for kits for children.
The hi-hat cymbals (nicknamed "hats") consist of two cymbals mounted facing each other on a metal pole with folding support legs that keep a hollow support cylinder standing up. Like the bass drum, the hi-hat has a foot pedal. The bottom cymbal is fixed in place. The top cymbal is mounted on a thin pole which is inserted into the hollow cymbal stand cylinder. The thin pole is connected to a foot pedal. When the foot pedal is pressed down, a mechanism causes the thin pole to move down, causing the cymbals to move together. When the foot is lifted off the pedal, the cymbals move apart, due to the pedal's spring-loaded mechanism. The hi-hats can be sounded by striking the cymbals with one or two sticks or just by opening and closing the cymbals with the footpedal, without striking the cymbals. The ability to create rhythms on the hi-hats with the foot alone enables drummers to use both sticks on other drums or cymbals. Different sounds can be created by striking "open hi-hats" (without the pedal depressed, which creates a noisy sound nicknamed "sloppy hats") or a crisp "closed hi-hats" sound (with the pedal pressed down). As well, the high hats can be played with a partially depressed pedal.
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Piccolo basses are cosmetically similar to a four-stringed electric bass guitar, but usually tuned one whole octave higher than a normal bass. The first electric piccolo bass was constructed by luthier Carl Thompson for Stanley Clarke. To allow for the raised tuning, the strings are thinner, and the length of the neck (the scale) may be shorter. Several companies manufacture piccolo sets that can be put on any regular bass, thereby converting any bass into a piccolo bass. Because of the thinner strings, a new nut may be required to hold the strings. Some people prefer a slightly shorter scale, such as 30 or 28 inches (762 or 711 mm), as the higher tension required for longer scale lengths coupled with the thinner gauge of higher-pitched strings can make a long-scale piccolo bass difficult to play. The tuning varies with the personal tastes of the artist, as does the number of strings. Joey DeMaio from the heavy metal band Manowar plays with four strings on his piccolo bass. Jazz bassist John Patitucci used a six-string piccolo bass, unaccompanied, on his song "Sachi's Eyes" on his album One More Angel. Michael Manring has used a five-string piccolo bass in several altered tunings. Michael uses D'Addario EXL 280 piccolo bass strings on his four-string hyperbass, made by Zon Guitars.
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