Bass Guitars

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Can Bass guitars use guitar amps?
You can use a guitar amp with Bass Guitars but may suffer a reduction in sound quality as some guitar amps have filters that remove the lower frequencies that are so important for a solid bass sound. An amplifier for bass will be built specifically to bring out the full range of punchy sound and will have speakers configured to deliver the best sound.

Can bass guitars be played without an amplifier?
There are a variety of ways you can play a bass guitar without an amp. The first and most obvious is to play an acoustic bass guitar where no amplifier will ever be needed. However sometimes beginners really want to play an electric bass guitar and budgets won’t stretch to both an acoustic bass guitar and an electric bass guitar. If this is the case there are a range of options. You can practice without an amplifier, but you won’t get the full range of tone so headphone (or iPhone) adaptors/amps (like these) are a great alternative if no amplifier is available. A further alternative is to use an old or inexpensive guitar amp but once again the sound won’t be great. The final alternative is to get a low cost bass guitar and amplifier set like this which start at under £120.

Why 5 string bass guitars?
The first bass guitars usually had 4 strings but over time people have wanted to add further range to the instrument with the popularity of 5 and 6 string guitars growing strongly in the 1980’s. There are a number of reasons why this might had occurred. Electronic keyboards could play lower notes than a standard 4 string bass guitar so the addition of an extra string allowed 5 lower pitch notes to be added to the instruments range added to which bass players wanted more range to allow them to really play a bigger part in playing melody so the 6th string helped add range at the upper end of the scale. So which bass guitar is best for you? A 4 string will do most that beginners will want and for those who want those lower notes a 5 string is an option. However the wider neck and extra strings can make a difference in ease of playing.  But many consider the 6 string is best to wait for until you’ve mastered the art with a lower number of strings.

Why fretless bass guitars?
To start with a fretted bass guitar is easier to play than one without frets. The ability of the fret to stop vibration at a defined note and the extra pressure needed to bring a string into contact with the fingerboard (rather than just making contact with the fret) so it’s considerably easier to play. If this was the full picture of course no one would ever play a fretless bass and its other factors make is an attractive choice for many. Its different tonal qualities producing what many would consider a smoother sound, the ability of a player to instantly compensate for bad tuning and the ability to produce a glissando or slide of tone between notes can completely compensate for any of the disadvantages making the choice much more of a personal preference rather than a cut and dried decision.

When to change bass guitar strings?
There are many opinions about when to change strings on a bass. Some people change them every couple of months, some suggest that once a year is just right and others never change them. As stings are used they get dirty – even with players with the cleanest hands – added with which they can wear and start to lose their ability to hold their tune. As they age they start sound duller, which might be ideal for some styles of playing, but most find the brighter sound of new strings and their ability to sustain if a preferred option. Find our bass guitar strings here.

Are Bass Guitars important in a band?
When younger players start to form a band typically the lead will play the guitar and one may sing, drummers usually follow and then the bass guitarist is found almost as an afterthought. However this shouldn’t really be the case as the bass line is vitally important in building the complete sound and a good bass player can lift the entire performance. However it goes deeper than that. Recent studies indicate that whilst high pitch notes will carry the melodic information it the low picked notes that carry the rhythm and that these rhythms may be more easily processed by the brain making the bass guitarist one of the most important members of the band.