In addition to pressing down one note at a time, bassists can also press down several notes at one time with their fretting hand to perform a double stop (two notes at once) or a chord. While double stops and chords are used less often by bassists than by electric guitarists playing rhythm guitar, a variety of double stops and chords can be performed on the electric bass. Some double stops used by bassists include octaves. Chords can be especially with effective on instruments with higher ranges such as six-string basses. Another variation to fully pressing down a string is to gently graze the string with the finger at the harmonic node points on the string, which creates chime-like upper partials (also called "overtones"). Glissando is an effect in which the fretting hand slides up or down the neck, which can be used to create a slide in pitch up or down. A subtle glissando can be performed by moving the fretting hand without plucking or picking the string; for a more pronounced effect, the string is plucked or picked first, or, in a metal or hardcore punk context, a pick may be scraped along the sides of the lower strings.
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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.
An acoustic piano produces reverberation in its soundboard and in the room where it is played. Digital pianos often have a feature to electronically simulate reverberation as well. Other digital pianos may have additional reverberation options such as a "stage simulation." Some also have chorus, tremolo, and phaser effects, all of which are generated by digital signal processing.
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.
Most basses have a volume potentiometer ("pot" or "knob"), which can be turned up or down, and a tone potentiometer, which rolls off the high frequencies when it is turned to the player's right. Some basses may also have a pickup selector control or switch, to select single-coil or humbucking pickups. Since the 1980s, basses are often available with battery-powered "active" electronics that boost the signal with a preamplifier and provide equalization controls to boost or cut bass and treble frequencies, or both. Some expensive basses have even more equalization options, such as bass, middle and treble.
The placement of the pickup greatly affects the sound, timbre and tone of the instrument. A pickup near the neck joint emphasizes the fundamental and low-order harmonics and thus produces a deeper, bassier sound, while a pickup near the bridge emphasizes higher-order harmonics and makes a "tighter" or "sharper" sound. Usually basses with multiple pickups allow blending of the output from the pickups, with electrical and acoustical interactions between the two pickups (such as partial phase cancellations) allowing a range of tonal and timbral effects.
A fully electronic kit is also easier to soundcheck than acoustic drums, assuming that the electronic drum module has levels that the drummer has pre-set in her/his practice room; in contrast, when an acoustic kit is sound checked, most drums and cymbals need to be miked and each mic needs to be tested by the drummer so its level and tone equalization can be adjusted by the sound engineer. As well, even after all the individual drum and cymbal mics are soundchecked, the engineer needs to listen to the drummer play a standard groove, to check that the balance between the kit instruments is right. Finally, the engineer needs to set up the monitor mix for the drummer, which the drummer uses to hear her/his instruments and the instruments and vocals of the rest of the band. With a fully electronic kit, many of these steps could be eliminated.
Trigger pads and drums, on the other hand, when deployed in a conventional set-up, are most commonly used to produce sounds not possible with an acoustic kit, or at least not with what is available. Any sound that can be sampled/recorded can be played when the pad is struck, by assigning the recorded sounds to specific triggers . Recordings or samples of barking dogs, sirens, breaking glass and stereo recordings of aircraft taking off and landing have all been used. Along with the more obvious electronically generated sounds there are synthesized human voices or song parts or even movie audio or digital video/pictures that (depending on device used) can also be played/triggered by electronic drums.
Multi-scale fingerboard is an alternative design for guitars and bass guitars in which the lower-pitched strings gain more length and the higher-pitched strings get shorter, similar to the string lengths on a grand piano. The reason for the uneven scale length across strings is that it evens out the tension across all of the strings, it evens the timbre across the strings, and extending the lower string scales allows the string to produce harmonics that are more in tune with the fundamental.
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.
A pick (or plectrum) produces a more pronounced attack, for speed, or personal preference. Bass with a pick is primarily associated with rock and punk rock, but player in other styles also use them. Jazz bassist Steve Swallow often plays with a pick, while Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters uses one for a heavier tone. Mike Gordon of Phish uses a pick while also incorporating slapping techniques into his playing. Picks can be used with alternating downstrokes and upstrokes, or with all downstrokes for a more consistent attack. The pick is usually held with the index and thumb, with the up-and-down plucking motion supplied by the wrist.