8
An instrument, usually with 4 or 5 strings, modeled after the classical double bass (upright bass), which plays in lower regesters than the average guitar.
Some say the bass is easy to learn, which is debateable, but there is no question that the bass (or any instrument for that matter) is VERY difficult to master.

The idea to put a bass in the guitar shape and size came about in the 1930s' when inventor Paul Tutmarc designed the first electric, guitar styled bass, designed to be played horizontally. It was called the Model #736, and was produced by audivox.

Later on, in the 50s' Leo Fender developed the first mass produce bass guitar.His fender precesion bass or "pbass" soon became the standard in industry and was widely copied. It was designed from a single slap of wood, much like a telecaster, and featured a simple four pole pick up system.

In the 1960s' fender came out with the jazz bass. It featured 2 single coil pick ups, one closer to the bridge, the other in the percision bass position. Also, it feature a narrower neck that that of the precision bass. Furthermore, the 'jbass" had volume controlls for each pick up, which made more sounds possible

Since then the bass guitar has evolved with the time to suit the needs of the player and the style of music the bassists performs. Some notable high quality bass guitar manufactures are pedulla, warwick, mtd, alembic, ken smith, modulus, ernie ball, and of course fender. Line 6 has even come out with a modeling bass, which is made to imitate the different sounds of different basses with the turn of a nob. Furthermore, basses are now being made with more than 14 strings, so a bass player will never run out of neck room.

It is improtant to note that as an instrument, the bass is very young. Though there are many styles of bass playing, the sky is still the limit. Great players like victor wooten, flea, les claypool, stanley clarke, stu hamm, and marcus miller are pioneering new styles and techniques every day. And lets not forget the late great Jaco Pastorious, the man who made the bass what it is today. if you want to hear how bass should be played, check out jaco.
by carl052 March 02, 2007
Mug icon

The Urban Dictionary Mug

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug
9
One of the most underestemated instruments in a band. Although some bands would sound alright without the bass (AC/DC) others would sound like complete and utter shit (Metallica, Rob Zombie). The bass seems easy to pick up and play, which in a few cases it is, but it takes much more time to master than a guitar does. This is because the bass has much thicker strings and a longer neck and frets.

Myths about the bass:

1.Because it has fewer strings,the bass is easier to play.
I have a 5-string bass (1 less string than a guitar for stupid people) and an acoustic guitar. I like playing bass more and, to me, the acoustic guitar is easier to play than the bass

2.The bass isn't an important instrument in a band.
Look at the difinition, retard.

3.Since I play guitar I can play bass also.
No, no you can't, shutup. Bass and guitar are very different, and because u can play both, doesn't NESSESARILY mean you can play both.
I was actually in this conversation.

(Dumb guitarist): Since you hear the guitar more in a song, its more important, you know?

(Me):Are you fucking stupid? Youve been playing guitar for 3 days because you want to look cool and because I play bass guitar so you wanna prove your better. And every1 that you ask says I'm better.

(Dumb guitarist): Dude I can play Iron Man and this is just my 3rd day.

(Me): No, you can play 14 notes of Iron Man, and you still mess up while switching frets.

(Dumb guitarist): Whats a fret?

(Me): -_- Jesus Fucking Christ.....

by AIM: lordofnotmuch April 09, 2008
Mug icon

The Urban Dictionary Mug

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug
10
An electric, portable version of the double bass designed in the 1930s and first mass produced in the early 1950s by Fender. Shaped like a guitar but larger, many people mistake the bass as a regular guitar. There are more techniques available to a bassist than a guitarist, like slapping and popping. A bass is often played fingerstyle, like a classical guitar, but some prefer to use a pick for the harder more trebly sound produced.

The bassist's role in a rock or metal band is to provide a rhythmic link between the guitar and drums, creating the foundation for a song. In a lot of avant-garde and jazz genres, the bass is featured as a solo instrument, although rock/metal bassists like Cliff Burton have used the bass in this way. A common misconception of the bass is that guitarists are able to play bass using guitar techniques, but this is untrue. A guitarist using techniques for a guitar would only be able to lay down a very simple bassline. Bassists are often overlooked in a band setting because the guitar has a higher volume and plays the role of the lead instrument in most rock and pop bands.
Some notable bass guitar plays include Jaco Pastorius, Cliff Burton, Alex Webster, and Chris Squire.
by some-random-asshole September 19, 2009
Mug icon

The Urban Dictionary Mug

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug
11
Bass guitar: a 4-12+ string instrument tuned in perfect 4ths (F#BEADGCF{8 string in 4ths}).
Remnant of the Classical "double bass"(contra bass, Upright bass, violin bass, Ect.) it was created to allow bass players to take their instruments with them easily without the need for lots of space. it initialy had been created with frets, to make learning the instrument simpler.
The bass guitar evolved into a completly different instrument than its ancestor, a bass guitar is played with the fingers, either with the common Pizzicato or finger pluck, or by slap playing. slap bass is when a bassist "slaps" the side of the string, usualy a lower string, to produce a vibration, then can be followed by a "pop" where a player gets under the string with a finger and plucks it firmly, the string comes down on to the fingerboard and generates an almost "tinny" sound. Invented by Larry Grahm, This method of playing is used mainly in funk, but in the past 15 years or so has crept over into punk influenced music (e.g. Flea of the Red hot chili peppers although many of the lines are not as complex as most funk) and into metal based music(e.g. Les claypool of Primus and c2b3). There is a variation on the "slap" technique and that is called double thumbing. Inveted by the Wooten family (claims have been made that Regi tauhgt victor this method) double thumbing consists of a slap, followed by a pop, followed by bring the thumb back up from under the previously slapped string. This can generate very interesting sounds, including on of which sounds if it were a drum roll, soon to be known as a Bass roll. another Technique commonly used by funk bass players is when the strings are just raked across with the back of the fingers with the right hand, this is more or less used when playing chords. The use of a plectrum on a bass guitar is quite common now, although many bass players see it as unholy for anyother bass player other than Paul McCartney of Wings and The Beatles, as it takes much less technique and is associated more or less with punk music. Many Bass players dislike beign associated with punk as it has a very basic 3 chord structure and for bass, is almost always just roots of the chord. Tapping is another technique becoming more common, tapping is when the player hammers-on with the left and hand and does the same with the right, this can be used to play complex lines spaning a wide range as in paganinis 2nd caprice, originaly written for violin, the 5ths tuning of a violin made the intervals playable, but on a bass guitar, no human would ever be able to stretch that far.
Bass, is a very overlooked instrument, people think it has such little importance on music as it is not medolic in pop music, but even the simple structure of pop music would not sound proper with out the low octaves only a bass instrument can produce.
Many people are under the illusion that bass is a simpler instrument to play, as it has fewer strings, this is a common misconception, as to play a bass properly takes more technique than that of a guitar. For example if a guitar and bass were to play the same line in multiple octaves(assuming the bass player is using a 4 string bass), the guitar player would have a much easier time, as he would have less space to cover than the bass player.
variations on the instrument include:
8 string bass -
1. a 4 string bass with doubled strings, as of that of a 12 string guitar, or mandolin.
2. a very wide neck with all the strings tuned in perfect 4th intervals - F#BEADGCF

5 string bass-
a bass with 1 more sting than a traditional bass. usualy tuned BEADG, This allows the playing of a lower range without sacrificing the high end by detuning but in some cases of jazz players who want more reach to the higher octaves - EADGC

5 string basses are the most common extended range bass gutiar on the market.

6 string bass-
a bass with 2 more strings than that of a traditional bass. tuned BEADGC this is the original extended range bass. This is a very versital instrument being able to play guitar lines, and bass lines, sometimes even simotaniously.

9+ string basses-
any of these basses are usualy meant to played by a touch style of playing, which is all the notes of a line(s) played by tapping.

Fretless bass-
first invented by Jaco Pastorious(god rest his bassy soul) this gives the bass a more "upright" tone, it has its own signature "growl" to it which is completly distinct from that of its fretted counterpart. any of the extended range basses mentioned can be found in a fretless version

electic upright bass-
this is NOT a bass guitar, nor should it be played like one, this is an electric version of a double bass. not to be confused with fretless bass guitar.


Many guitarists are under the misconception that they can play bass, musicaly a decent guitar player with knowledge of music theory would have very little probelm with the left hand, the problem rests in the right, where most give up and use a plectrum, which does not always give the desired sound.


a good bass guitarist is difficult to come by, please, do not abuse them as they are luke warm water between the fire and ice of the guitar and drums.
Bootsy Colins is an excelent Funk Bass guitarist.

"Wow! look at that Bass guitarist do those bass rolls!"
by NapoleanXV March 22, 2009
Mug icon

The Urban Dictionary Mug

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug
12
Possibly the most important instrument in a band. It is the glue that connects the rhythm of the song. It usually guides the whole song and is the base of the song. Without the bass, the whole song would fall apart and sound horrifyingly flat and thin.
Despite the guitar being the melody and most visible part of a song, the bass guitar is by far the most important part of a song.
by Chris The Fisherman January 17, 2011
Mug icon

The Urban Dictionary Mug

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug
13
Since most people here seem to be ignorant of what a bass is:

1) It was NOT "based off the guitar", it's an electric adaptation of the double bass which became awkward and increasingly less audible compared to other instruments in the earliest rock/jazz bands.

2) While easier to learn than guitar, it is far far more difficult to master. Anyone can sound cool playing the pentatonic scale and power chords over and over; it takes a great more deal of musical skill and talent to be excellent at bass.

3) On a related note "Anyone who plays guitar can play bass by default" is ridiculous. If you have no sense of rhythm and can't keep a beat, then you can't play bass. Hell, most guitarists I've met can't even play the bass without making the frets buzz their first few times.

4) Bass is a rhythm instrument, with a deeper more mellow sound. Guitar is melodic (or at least mostly used for such). To say bass is inferior to guitar is also stupid.

1) The advent of the electric bass guitar revolutioned new age music

2) A guitarist can sound "amazing" in just a couple years. I'd like to see anyone learn Victor Wooten's Classical Thump in just a couple of years.

3) "Whoa dude whats wrong with your frets? Why are they buzzing??" - Guitarist who thinks he can play bass

4) Have you ever heard a band with two guitarists and no bassist? It sounds like a fucking transistor radio

by Solifuga September 20, 2006
Mug icon

The Urban Dictionary Mug

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug
14
An instrument that is similar to the guitar, but only has four strings. The bass is a much bigger scaled instrument as well and also deeper in sound. For more information visit http://www.play-bass.com
Johnny please turn your bass guitar down now, your shaking the house and your dad is trying to sleep.
by The bass Guru March 26, 2009
Mug icon

The Urban Dictionary Mug

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug