Bass bodies are typically made of wood, although other materials such as graphite (for example, some of the Steinberger designs) and other lightweight composite materials have also been used. While a wide variety of woods are suitable for use in the body, neck, and fretboard of the bass guitar, the most common types of wood used are similar to those used for electric guitars; alder, ash or mahogany for the body, maple for the neck, and rosewood or ebony for the fretboard. While these traditional standards are most common, for tonal or aesthetic reasons luthiers more commonly experiment with different tonewoods on basses than with electric guitars (though this is changing), and rarer woods like walnut and figured maple, as well as exotic woods like bubinga, wenge, koa, and purpleheart, are often used as accent woods in the neck or on the face of mid- to high-priced production basses and on custom-made and boutique instruments.
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The keyboard action of an acoustic grand piano is composed of black and white keys, graded hammers, and numerous other components working in harmony when each note is pressed. This beautifully designed mechanism allows gifted pianists to express a wealth of feeling and emotion in their music, as they appreciate and respond to the tactile nuances transmitted through the keyboard.
In the 1980s and beyond, electric bass was used in works by Hans Werner Henze (El Rey de Harlem, 1980; and Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, 1981), Harold Shapero, On Green Mountain (Chaconne after Monteverdi), 1957, orchestrated 1981; Alfred Schnittke's Symphony No. 3 (1981); Steve Reich's Electric Counterpoint (1987) and 2x5 (2008), Wolfgang Rihm (Die Eroberung von Mexico, 1987–91), Arvo Pärt (Miserere, 1989/92), Steve Martland (Dance works, 1993; and Horses of Instruction, 1994), Sofia Gubaidulina (Aus dem Stundenbuch, 1991), Giya Kancheli (Wingless, 1993), John Adams (I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky, 1995; and Scratchband, 1996/97), Michael Nyman (various works for the Michael Nyman Band), Mark-Anthony Turnage (Blood on the Floor, 1993–1996), numerous works by Art Jarvinen.
I brought in several other pianists for our test panel. Liz Kinnon is a pianist/arranger/composer/educator from Los Angeles who has performed with artists such as Dizzy Gillespie and Andy Williams. She was an orchestrator on the animated shows Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, and Histeria. At the Colburn Community School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles, she teaches jazz piano and is the Director of Adult Jazz Combos. She was Ryan Gosling’s piano coach for La La Land and recently worked with Simon Pegg and Juno Temple for the film Lost Transmissions.
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.
"Jazz" pickups (referring to the original Fender Jazz Bass), also referred to as "J pickups", are wider eight-pole pickups that lie underneath all four strings. J pickups are typically single-coil designs, though there are a large number of humbucking designs. Traditionally, two of them are used, one of them near the bridge and another closer to the neck. As with the halves of P-pickups, the J-pickups are reverse-wound with reverse magnetic polarity. As a result, they have hum canceling properties when used at the same volume, with hum cancellation decreasing when the pickups are at unequal volume, and absent if the player uses only one pickup. 'J' Style pickups tend to have a lower output and a thinner sound than 'P' Style pickups. Many bassists combine a 'J' pickup at the bridge and a 'P' pickup at the neck, so they can blend the two sounds.
If you really want to distinguish yourself as a bassist, it can pay to think outside the box and go for something a bit less traditional. For example, there are musical styles and occasions where an electric bass may be slightly out of place. In those cases, you can turn to an acoustic-electric bass. These have a classic sound all their own, and if you're headed to a festival or singing around a campfire, they'll do the job even without an amplifier handy.
Of all the instruments in the band, drums and percussions have a role that's one of the most unique - and also one of the most important. When you play the drums, you're setting the pace and creating the song's rhythm. It's up to you to really get your listeners feeling the music. That's a tough challenge, but it's also a fun and rewarding thing to do. Here in this section, you'll find all the drums and percussion essentials to get it done.
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 a traditional piano, a digital piano features a keyboard. A digital piano's keyboard is weighted to simulate the action of a traditional piano and is velocity sensitive so that the volume of the sounds depends on how hard the keys are pressed. Many instruments now have a complex action incorporating actual hammers in order to better simulate the touch of a grand piano.
Most electric bass guitars use magnetic pickups. The vibrations of the instrument's ferrous metal strings within the magnetic field of the permanent magnets in magnetic pickups produce small variations in the magnetic flux threading the coils of the pickups. This in turn produces small electrical voltages in the coils. Many bass players connect the signal from the bass guitar's pickups to a bass amplifier and loudspeaker using a 1/4" patch cord. These low-level signals are then strengthened by the bass amp's preamplifier electronic circuits, and then amplified with the bass amp's power amplifier and played through one or more speaker(s) in a cabinet.
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Double-drumming was developed to enable one person to play the bass and snare with sticks, while the cymbals could be played by tapping the foot on a "low-boy". With this approach, the bass drum was usually played on beats one and three (in 4/4 time). While the music was first designed to accompany marching soldiers, this simple and straightforward drumming approach eventually led to the birth of ragtime music when the simplistic marching beats became more syncopated. This resulted in a greater 'swing' and dance feel. The drum set was initially referred to as a "trap set", and from the late 1800s to the 1930s, drummers were referred to as "trap drummers". By the 1870s, drummers were using an "overhang pedal". Most drummers in the 1870s preferred to do double drumming without any pedal to play multiple drums, rather than use an overhang pedal. Companies patented their pedal systems such as Dee Dee Chandler of New Orleans 1904–05. Liberating the hands for the first time, this evolution saw the bass drum played with the foot of a standing percussionist (thus the term "kick drum"). The bass drum became the central piece around which every other percussion instrument would later revolve.
Drummers using electronic drums, drum machines, or hybrid acoustic-electric kits (which blend traditional acoustic drums and cymbals with electronic pads) typically use a monitor speaker, keyboard amplifier or even a small PA system to hear the electronic drum sounds. Even a drummer playing entirely acoustic drums may use a monitor speaker to hear her drums, especially if she is playing in a loud rock or metal band, where there is substantial onstage volume from huge, powerful guitar stacks. Since the drum kit uses the deep bass drum, drummers are often given a large speaker cabinet with a 15" subwoofer to help them monitor their bass drum sound (along with a full-range monitor speaker to hear the rest of their kit). Some sound engineers and drummers prefer to use an electronic vibration system, colloquially known as a "butt shaker" or "throne thumper" to monitor the bass drum, because this lowers the stage volume. With a "butt shaker", the "thump" of each bass drum strike causes a vibration in the drum stool; this way the drummer feels their beat on the posterior, rather than hears it.
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.
Timbales are tuned much higher than a tom of the same diameter, and normally played with very light, thin, non-tapered sticks. They have relatively thin heads and a very different tone than a tom, but are used by some drummers/percussionists to extend the tom range upwards. Alternatively, they can be fitted with tom heads and tuned as shallow concert toms. Attack timbales and mini timbales are reduced-diameter timbales designed for drum kit usage, the smaller diameter allowing for thicker heads providing the same pitch and head tension. They are recognizable in 2010s genres and in more traditional forms of Latin, reggae & numerous world music styles. Timbales were also used on occasion by Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham. Gong drums are a rare extension to a drum kit. The single-headed mountable drum appears similar to a bass drum (sizing around 20–24 inches in diameter), but has the same purpose as that of a floor tom. Similarly, most hand drum percussion cannot be played easily or suitably with drum sticks without risking damage to the head and to the bearing edge, which is not protected by a metal drum rim, like a snare or tom. For use in a drum kit, they may be fitted with a metal drum head and played with care, or played by hand.
In addition to the keyboard by itself, there are different bundles available on Amazon. A Beginners Bundle includes the CS-67 stand, SP-33 pedal board, CB7 bench, and a polish cloth. The Essentials Bundle comes with a padded bench, X-stand (not a double-X like we recommend), and a pair of headphones. It’s nice that the bundles are there, but I’d suggest buying things separately to make sure you get what you need and nothing unnecessary.
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.
The digital piano is a specific kind of electronic keyboard that acts as a compact and lightweight alternative to a standard piano. Today's digital pianos feature hammer action keys (88-key being the norm) to emulate the sound and playability of their acoustic counterparts very accurately; some models can even replicate the sound of a pipe organ, Hammond organ and harpsichord. They have many other advantages as well: digital pianos are more affordable, their volume can be controlled and they never have to be tuned. Most digital pianos even have a headphone option for musicians who live in apartments where volume might be an issue. Because of these many benefits, digital pianos are often preferred over acoustic pianos by music educators and their pupils - this includes for amateur performances and school recitals.
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.
Some digital piano implementations, like Roland V-Piano, Yamaha MODUS, Casio Celviano Grand Hybrid, and the software-based Pianoteq, use mathematical models based on real pianos to generate sound, which brings the ability to generate sounds that vary more freely depending on how the keys have been struck, in addition to allow a more realistic implementation of the distinctive resonances and acoustical noises of real pianos.