Selecting the right instrument that resonate with your personality is very important.
What kind of music you like to listen and what instrument allow you to play that music? these are two big questions you should ask yourself, before decide whether acoustic guitar is better for you or bass guitar!
This epic guide will take you through the whole journey to find out where you should get started as a beginner player.
Brief Summery About Acoustic Guitar and Bass Guitar
The Typical acoustic guitar has six strings with a standard tuning of E-A-D-G-B-E. The exact notes of the strings are E2-A2-D3-G3-B3-E4, where those numbers specify the particular octave being played.
An acoustic guitar doesn’t use any kind of electrical amplification for sounding. Although, there is an option of the acoustic-electric guitar where you get a normal acoustic guitar with added benefits of electronics. but basically, this is a fretted instrument that makes a sound when strings vibrate over its hollow-wooden body.
On the flip side:
A typical bass guitar comes with only 4 strings in standard tuning of E-A-D-G. It is designed to provide a deep bass to the music, that’s why its strings are one octave lower than the standard acoustic guitar strings.
Other than this, The bass is nearly identical to the acoustic guitar, in terms of the chords, scales, and music theory. That means, if you choose to learn either the acoustic or the bass guitar, in the end, you can easily learn another one with little to no hard efforts.
What is Difference Between Acoustic and Bass Guitar?
Selecting the right instrument before start learning is quite an important step. If you know the differences between these two types of guitars, it will be much easier for you to decide which is the right guitar for you?
Bass guitars are usually more expensive than normal guitars. As a whole, bass guitars required more raw material as compared to acoustic ones. Also, guitars tend to sell more than basses, that’s why brands keep the prices of bass models high to keep their profit margins.
When it comes to buying a new guitar, In my experience, most players will spend between $200 to $1000 (on average) for both bass and acoustic guitars.
Cost of any musical instrument is highly influenced by a brand name, quality of material used, and overall finishing. that means you can buy a guitar (as well as bass) for as low as $100 to more than $2000+.
that’s why I don’t think budget is a good factor to decide which type of guitar is best for you.
Role of Acoustic and Bass Guitar in the Modern Music
Even though both bassists and acoustic players are basically playing a guitar instrument, but there is a huge difference in their role in any musical band.
While the guitarist plays rhythms and solo’s in a band, a true bass player act as a foundation of the band.
The acoustic guitar is quite versatile and has a varied role in a band. Since it has a more number of strings (and thus higher range) it can both be played solo or to support the other instruments.
Acoustic players usually strum along the bits and outline the main chord progression of the song. they provide support to the melodic lines and also improvise the solo’s played by other lead instruments like keyboard or saxophone.
Usually, Guitarists seem to have more freedom, often found in the spotlight, and tend to attract more attention as compare to the bassists.
On the other hand:
The bass guitar commonly plays a supportive role in the band and sets the foundation of the music on which other instruments can stand upon.
As a bass player, you’re in charge of the timekeeping. You need to lead the whole band while being in sync with the drummer. As a bassist, you create the tempo that everyone needs to follow.
If you look at any band, there are some groups where you won’t see any drummer or acoustic player, but it is very rare to find a band group without a bass player. because bass creates a sonic link between the rhythmic and melodic elements of the music.
It connects beats to the melody by bridging the gap between acoustic/electric guitar and drums.
Even though bass guitar rarely goes solo and is not as versatile as an acoustic guitar, but it is an essential part of any musical band.
Depending on whether you want to play the chords, lead, and melodies or you want to become in charge of the band in terms of tempo and rhythm, you should go with acoustic and bass guitar respectively.
Try to remember that time, when you’re listening to some music and find your feet tapping to the beats. that’s usually the bass guitar you’re following. As a bassist, you play some notes that are supportive of the chords of the song.
Whereas Acoustic guitar is one of a kind in which you can play lots of songs, chords, leads, sing along with it, etc. The main advantage of an acoustic guitar is you can take it anywhere you want and you can start playing music instantly by yourself and accompany somebody singing.
But that’s not the case with a bass guitar.
The bass guitar required a set of accessories like amplifier and instrument cables before you start your play. Definitely, it provides you extra range of tones but makes it less portable, as you must need to carry those accessories along with the instrument.
Tip: There is an option of an acoustic bass guitar available which doesn’t require any kind of amplification, but it has a limited tonal range and is also a bit difficult to play for an absolute beginner player.
In terms of comfort, a Bass guitar has a slight downside to an acoustic guitar. Typically, Basses are a little bit larger in size and slightly heavy as compared to the standard acoustic guitars.
Difference in the Strings
A standard acoustic guitar comes with 6 strings (E-A-D-G-B-E) with the lowest string tuned to E note (approx. 82 Hz). There is a variation of 12-string acoustic available, but it is not as popular as 6-string models.
Whereas, a standard bass guitar comes with 4 strings (E-A-D-G) where tuning is almost similar to the first 4 strings of acoustic, except for the fact that it is tuned to a whole octave lower in pitch.
Also, bass guitar strings are relatively longer and thicker as compared to standard acoustic strings. This is an on-purpose change that decreases the tension in the strings and lowers the frequency and pitch of the vibrations. that’s the reason why we get such deep and long notes on a bass guitar.
Talking about the thickness of the strings, acoustic guitar again gets an edge here. With relatively lighter strings, it is easier for an absolute beginner to get adjusted to the strings.
Sound and Tone Difference
As acoustic guitar has two extra strings, it allow us to play wider range of tones including higher notes. You can sing along with it, because its a melodic instrument and its range is almost similar to our voice.
On the other hand, bass strings are heavy and thicken that allow them to hit the lower notes and add more depth to the music. bass is usually play along the lower harmony while maintaining a rhythmic foundation.
While listening to a song, it is easier to hear the guitar over the bass because guitar is tuned at higher pitch that differentiate its sound from other instruments.
Here I list out two of my favorite guitar videos. Listen to them! See, what kind of music do you like the most, and Which music draws your soul into it?
FAQs on Acoustic vs Bass Guitar
Is it Easier to Learn Acoustic or Bass Guitar?
Bass guitar may have less strings than acoustic guitar, but that doesn’t make it easier to learn. Physically, acoustic may be a slightly easier option for beginners, since bass have relatively larger body size and includes thick strings.
Is Bass Better than Acoustic Guitar?
For bass guitar, depending on the genre, you can get started with the easy patterns first. but with acoustic guitar, you need to memorize and practise the chords for playing songs. Also, bass only has 4 strings that makes it more easier to play for beginner players.
Can I Play Bass on Acoustic Guitar?
You can practice bass on acoustic guitar, as bass tuning is similar to the lowest 4 strings of a guitar. Although string thickness, spacing, and fret distance are different, but anything you practice on a guitar, you can replicate your learning on a bass.
Are Bassists Failed Guitarists?
The bass players are not failed guitarists, because guitar players only failed when they give up the music. There are some bassists who transitioned from guitar to bass, but that doesn’t mean they failed as a guitar player.
Are Acoustic and Bass Guitar Chords the Same?
Any chord played on the lower 4 strings of the acoustic guitar can be played on a bass too. Although both instruments has a direct relation, multi-notes chords tends to sound muddy on a bass, as it is tuned to lower pitch than acoustic guitar.
Are Acoustic Bass Guitars worth it?
As a whole, acoustic bass guitars are very quite, boxy sounding, and have unbalanced string volume, unless you spend $1000+ on it. They are more convenient for sitting down with a guitarist to write a song, or to reherse something quitely.
Which is Best for You? Acoustic or Bass Guitar?
I want to leave you with these takeaways:
You Should Get an Acoustic Guitar If:
You want to be in the spotlight
You want to play solos and exciting parts of the songs
You want to learn chords, leads and write songs
You are a Kid!
You Should Go with a Bass Guitar If:
You like deep sounding tone with resonating beats
You want to learn instrument to have fun
You like to support to the whole band from the back
You want to master the art of timekeeping and rhythms
No matter which instrument you pick, it will required a lot of dedication and practice to master it. If you really want to learn music, there is no other way than sitting down and practising it.
The more time you spend while playing an instrument, more nice things start coming towards you, and eventually your hands will learn to show their magic.
If you find this article helpful, do let me know at admin(@)scoreguitar(dot)com. If you have any kind of doubts or suggestions for me, feel free to drop a comments down below.
Also, don’t forget to share this resource with your friends who are about to start their musical journey with you!
Hii, My name is Vishal Dorge and I am from India. I am the Creator of this site and want to help people just like you and me who enjoy music through the heart and want to learn it, especially about the guitar. Read More About Vishal Dorge Here