One thing I adore about bassists is their genuinity! And I am not just shooting blanks; I have a list of valid proofs to back my claim. The first thing no one can deny is that one does not simply decide to be a bassist (NO! THAT IS NOT A MEME PUNCH LINE!). Bass guitar is such an underdog that only those who understand its importance, its power and beauty go for it. And for that; my friends, Needs a true ear trained musician. And that’s why there aren’t many bassists out there and the ones who are; Are crazy passionate!
There are generally two types of guys who pick up bass guitar.
A guy in a band situation- You have 2 guitarists in your band. The music is good but sounds empty, both of these guys look at each other, pull out the cell phones and start searching a bass guitarist in their contacts. They find a couple of them but none of them are willing to join you. So again they look at each other. So you guys toss a coin, and you lose the bet. Time to buy a new Axe! (Here, Axe= Guitar and not the lumber equipment to chop off the head of the toss winner.)
Sudden realization guy situation- You are at your local music store, waiting for your electric guitar to be restrung. Its gonna take 20 minutes or so, your glance falls on a black bass guitar and you are like ‘What the heck... lemme try it!’ So you ask the sales guy to get that guitar for you to try. You plug it in the amp and start playing chords only to find out it has 4 strings. Then you are like... meh... so you try smoke on the water and then slowly you start understanding that it takes a different style and techniques to play, when compared to good ol’ electric strat. After sometime your guitar is restrung and it’s time to go. But you already feel attached to that comfort in those fat strings and bold frets and Oh my gosh that awesome sound! Then suddenly you realize that you are in love. You leave the shop with a new guitar. So the bassist and the bass guitar lived happily ever after.
However there’s a lot to consider when purchasing a bass guitar; the wood, Active or passive pickups, Body style.
So let’s get all brainy and begin with all the technical things in the world of BASS GUITAR!
Tone-woods- Well, these are the kinds of standard wood types; guitar makers all around the world have agreed upon. Now, every piece has speciality of its own. These specialities are mentioned below. (Of course where else they can be) (-_-)
Alder- Alder is used extensively as bass guitar bodies for bodies because of its lighter weight. It creates a very balanced tone, with great clarity and a very full sound.
Agathis- Because of its fairly balanced tone with a slight emphasis on low-mid tones that gives it a rich sound and its inexpensive price tag it stands popular since years.
Basswood- Any experienced luthier would tell you that basswood is one those softest woods they had worked with and they are right, it’s butter-soft. But this quality is like two-edged sword; some bass players think this creates a flat sound, while others feel the short sustain is ideal for fast, complex playing techniques.
Mahogany- Mahogany is a fine grained wood with great musical properties. It produces a soft, warm tone that emphasizes the low-mid and lower-range tones, and creates longer sustain.
Maple- There any many species of maple woods used in musical instruments. But in general, maple wood produces brittle and bright tone. Almost all the types of these tone woods have beautiful natural pattern which look just great with transparent colour or no colour at all.
Active or Passive Pickups- As those wooden blocks are taken care of let’s begin with the actual device that sends the sound signal to the amp.
Passive- The first pickups to be used in bass guitars were passive. Passive pickups tend to have a warm, full, round, dynamic tone. Their fat, punchy tone is their appeal. Passive pickups do not give you much control over their tone. Basses have bass and treble controls much like your stereo system. On passive pickups you can only turn down (cut) these bass and treble frequencies. That means you can only take away treble or bass from the tone of the pickups. That’s not necessarily bad. You just have fewer options for shaping the tone of passive pickups.
Active- Active pickups use a pre-amp. The pre-amp is powered by a battery. This gives you more control over the tone coming out of your bass. How much control you have will depend on the features of the pre-amp. Some pre-amps simply have a bass and treble control while others have mid-range controls and other extras. Active pickups have a louder output than passive pickups. There is less signal loss on the way to the bass amp.
Oh Yea! Bass Guitar with 6 pack abs! Buffed body and... Seriously, what a silly joke! Anywho, what kind of company makes guitars without options for the musicians to choose from? None! Here are some options you may find fit for your bidding.
Acoustic bass- This type of guitar looks more like the standard acoustic guitars with a traditional dreadnought design. Its small size makes it perfect for studio or stage playing. Its size also makes it convenient to play as you sit or stand. In most cases acoustic bass guitar comes with basic electronic amplification that makes it easy to plug into a public address system. The guitar produces a quiet sound making it perfect for any kind of music genres.
Electric fretted bass- The electric fretted bass guitar is the most popular bass since it entered the market. The guitar has a solid body and can be equipped with many active pickups that use battery to operate or the traditional passive pickups that do not require the batteries for them to operate. They have single frets on the neck that allows one to have accuracy with the note while playing. Electric fretted bass has versatility and as a result of the many electronics available, it can be perfect for any style of music.
Electric fretless bass- This type of bass guitar shares all the characteristics of the electric fretted bass, with the only exceptions being the frets. Its sound is similar to the upright bass because both of them do not have frets. The guitar is played by pushing the string against the fretboard leading to a deeper natural bass tone compared to the fretted bass guitar. This type of bass guitar is mostly used in country, classical genres and of course... METAL!
Precision bass- This is another type of bass guitar that has one split coil electric pick up. It is one of the most popular types of bass guitars used even today. It produces a timbre that is different from that of other double bass guitar. It also has a less percussive thump and a clearer articulated fundamental tone.
Jazz bass- Jazz bass is a more articulate and defined sound compared to other types of bass guitars. It also has a brighter tone and richer in midrange. It is more perfect for bass guitar players who like being more forward in the mix.
Fender jazz bass- This is a solid bass guitar that has two pickups, a bridge tailpiece that is adjustable and four strings. It is usually built with a scale length of thirty four inches and can be played for any music genre.
Ok if you find all these things as okie-doke or you got confused over level 9000; Let me suggest you some bestselling bass guitars in India for you to choose from. I will start with a great metal guy, Frank Bello! You know... the Anthrax Bassist. Well he got a Fender bass for you. Go checkout Fender Squier Frank Bello Jazz Bass Guitar Black.
To move along; you need a sturdy instrument which hits like a truck... Just take a look at Yamaha TRBX174 Electric Bass Guitar.
Fan of ESP and Fretless bass? You are in luck, how about ESP LTD B50BLK.
So, There you have it folks; an easy guide to pick up a bass guitar of your liking.