Bass Guitars: 13 Interesting Things you Should Know!
I myself a very big fan of bass guitars. If you also want to get started with bass guitar or already started, these are some of the common things I wish someone told me in the beginning. Whether you’re an absolute beginner or seasoned pro bass player, these are some of the most common questions you should know about.
So, Without any further ado, let’s get directly jump into the matter:
- What is a Short-Scale Bass Guitar?
- What is a Fretless Bass Guitar?
- How many Strings does a Bass Guitar Have?
- Why Bass Guitar has only 4 Strings?
- Is 6 Strings Bass Guitar Worth It?
- What are the Chords on a Bass Guitar?
- How to String a Bass Guitar?
- When to change the Bass Guitar Strings?
- How to Tune a Bass Guitar?
- Can you Strum a Bass Guitar?
- Can I play Bass Guitar without an Amp?
- Can I plug Headphones into Bass Guitars?
- Can I play bass guitar with small hands?
- Can I bring my Bass Guitar on a Plane?
What is a Short-Scale Bass Guitar?
The bass guitars with shorted scale length than standard are known as short-scale bass guitars. Scale-Length is the length between the bridge and the nut of the bass. 34 inches of scale length is considered as a standard length where as short-scale bass guitars have scale length of less than 31 inches.
Due to its compact dimensions, it is the best choice for a bassist with small hands or a guitarist who wants to explore more into the bass guitar. Along with its physical benefits, some pro players like short-scale bass for their massive sound with fatty low-ends, which are great for filling in a mix.
What is a Fretless Bass Guitar?
A bass guitar without any frets is known as a Fretless bass guitar. Some major manufactures are producing such models but generally, if one remove the frets from the standard bass, it considered as a fretless bass guitar.
One of the important reason behind using a fretless bass is, It allow player to transition from notes to chords in a very smooth manner. Also, fretless bass opens up the huge gateway of different vibrato techniques that are normally limited due to frets.
How many Strings does a Bass Guitar Have?
A Standard bass guitar has only 4 strings tuned in an E, A, D, G standard tuning, which is similar to the lower four strings of a guitar but one octave lower. But, 5 strings and 6 strings basses are also available depending on your needs and skills.
If you’re thinking of buying your first bass guitar, I would recommend you to stick with the 4-strings traditional bass guitar where you can focus on playing the lower notes more often. But as you proceed, you can look after 5-strings and 6-strings basses as per your requirements.
Why Bass Guitar has only 4 Strings?
The role of a Bass player is to support the lower end of the band by playing usually single lower notes. Four strings of the bass generally cover about three octaves, which is enough for most of the players. Closely voiced chords sound muddy in this lower range, thus there isn’t any need for a lot of strings on a Bass.
However, these things could be varied as per your need and skill set. If you want to get into the heavier music without having to detune your standard bass, a 5 strings bass is a great alternative here.
What is the Frequency range of a Bass Guitar?
Frequency range of a standard bass guitar lies between 70 Hz to 1KHz. This Range can extending as high as 5KHz by additional overtones. 70 Hz to 200 Hz gives fulness in the sound whereas 200 Hz to 300 Hz gives muddiness. For attack and punchiness, more than 500 Hz frequency is needed while mixing a bass guitar.
How to String a Bass Guitar?
Here’s the step-by-step guide to put a strings on your bass guitar:
- Detune the old strings until they no longer produces any pitch
- Cut the strings near Pickup area and remove them from the Bridge
- Insert the new strings through corresponding bridge hole, pull them all the way up and align over both bridge and nut saddle.
- Measure the additional half to one inches of string from the crimp and cut it off without leaving any slack.
- Turn the tuning keys to tighten the strings until ball ends approaches the bridge.
- Bring the strings up to pitch by using a tuner and stretch them along the fretboard.
- Repeat Step #6 until Pitch of the strings doesn’t stabilize.
This is how you change the bass guitar strings on your own. If you think this is too much for you, You just a need some practice and you’ll become a master in changing bass strings.
When to change the Bass Guitar Strings?
Here’re some of the most common signs that says, It’s time to change your bass strings:
- Bass strings won’t stay in tune or trouble in intonating them correctly.
- Old strings show a lack of sustain and sound extremely dull and muddy.
- You’ll notice rust, black spot, and decoloration when strings went bad.
Most bass players plan on changing the strings about once every 6 to 7 months of playing. But for professional players or aspiring pros, changing strings after 4 months (more often, if needed) will be great.
How to Tune a Bass Guitar?
Here’s the simple instructions to tune your bass guitar with the help of an Electronics Tuner:
- Plug the bass into the tuner via Cable
- Loose the strings and start turning the Tuning machine one by one
- Tune each string in the E, A, D, G format using tuner
- Tune only one string at a time
Here’s one video tutorial on the same topic:
Can you Strum a Bass Guitar?
Every Instrument with strings can be strummed but strumming the all strings of the bass guitar may sound a little funky with low B and also, the main role of any bassist is to play lead lines in the band.
Although there are some techniques to strum a bass guitar in a proper way, that requires some fingers of your right hand, instead of a pick. These strumming techniques are different than the usual strumming that we play on our guitars.
Can I play Bass Guitar without an Amp?
One can play bass guitar without plugging into any amplifier by connecting it to a computer, smartphone, or multi-effect pedal. Also, there are many portable devices available that allow you to play bass guitar without an Amp.
Even going further, if you don’t want to use any of such devices, you can play your bass unplugged! that way you can practice your music without disturbing anyone. If this doesn’t seem to be a nice idea, you can go for an acoustic bass guitar that doesn’t require any electronics.
Can I plug Headphones into Bass Guitars?
You can’t simply plug the headphones into the bass guitar and expect to hear everything you played. But with a bass headphone adapter that has an in-built preamp system, you can plug the headphone directly into the bass guitar.
Bass guitars required some level of amplification and normal headphones don’t have the required hardware to amplify those bass signals. Thus you need to buy those special headphones that will amplify the signals first.
Can I play bass guitar with small hands?
Standard bass guitars have 34 inches of scale length that could be uncomfortable for players with small hands. One can go with a short-scale bass guitar that gives you a physical advantage as well as a massive tone with a lower fatty tone.
But, if you don’t want to go with short-scale bass guitar and want to practice with standard bass, you can go with bass that has a thin neck. A bass guitar with a flat neck could be the best choice for a player with small hands.
Can I bring my Bass Guitar on a Plane?
You can bring the bass guitar on a plane without checking it in as a carry-on. In most of the airlines, the bass will get fit into the overhead otherwise, there is little closet into the planes where you can hang your bass. You don’t even require a complete hard case neither need to loosen the strings or adjust the truss rod.
But, this is going to vary from airline to airline. If they didn’t allow you to bring your bass as a carry-on, you can check it in as a luggage. Don’t forget to wrap it into the plastic wrap, if you don’t have a hard case.
If you have any other doubt, or any suggestion in my opinions, feel free to put your thoughts in the comment section. I you want to submit your answer, you can contact me via my contact me page.
Also, don’t forget to share this resource with your friends and family on your social handles so they would also get familiar with such common things related to bass guitar.
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