The bass has always played an important role in the music of yesterday and most modern music today. No matter what the instrument is, a bass line is usually always represented in some form or another, from the lower instruments of an orchestra, to the bass notes played by a solo acoustic guitarist, the bass line serves as the foundation and root for the music. Music would sound hollow and incomplete without a driving bass line. With the advent of jazz, blues and then rock and roll, a different type of instrument was needed to play a strong bass line. This is when the bass guitar came into play.
Bass guitars have been around since the 1930’s though not quite in the exact same form as the Fender bass guitars that we know today, but you could say that their predecessors, the acoustic Basses, have been around for many years longer.
The bass guitar was different from the bass that everyone had been familiar with for many years though. Instead of playing it vertically and either plucking the strings or pulling a bow across the strings, the bass guitar is played just like a regular guitar and is held horizontally.
From a distance, the electric bass guitar could easily be mistaken for an electric guitar as the both look very similar with the same solid body shape, however the bass usually has a longer neck. Also, unlike an acoustic guitar which is hollow, with a sound hole to allow for amplification, the sound of a Fender bass guitar is amplified by plugging it in to an amplifier and speaker.
With four strings tuned in 4ths just like the four lowest strings of a regular guitar except tuned an octave lower, the bass guitar is similar to the guitar and guitarist sometimes play bass and vice versa. While guitars are primarily strummed and picked, the bass can be played with a variety of techniques as well including, fingering, picking, slapping,thumb play, muting thumping and more. Because of it’s close relationship to the drums and the pulse of the music, the bass guitar is considered to be a rhythm section instrument.