As a starting musician, you might not know a lot about a bass guitar and which bass guitar fits you best. Are you going to purchase a 4, 5 or 6-string bass guitar? If you want to purchase a bass guitar but don’t know where to pay attention to then we are going to help you make the right choice!
What is a bass guitar?
A bass guitar is a string instrument that usually has 4 strings. The standard tuning of a bass guitar is similar to the lowest 4 strings of a standard guitar tuning (EADG), but scaled-down one octave. The most commonly used base guitar is the solid boy base guitar. The technique used to play the bass guitar is the Slap and/or Fingerstyle technique. You will see a bass player (also known as the silent guardian) in almost every band in most genres.
Specifics of a bass guitar
To start of, you must be aware of the different kinds of bass guitars that are for sale. There are (P en J) bass guitars with 4, 5 or 6 strings. You can choose between a guitar with an electric (solid) or acoustic body, with frets or fretless. Alongside that, the number of pickups inside an electric guitar might differ.
A P-bass guitar usually has one element, split in two A J-bass guitar has 2 elements. The benefit of this is that the tone can still be adjusted by using the tone switches/buttons. A J-bass guitar also has a smaller neck.
When a bass guitar has 5 string it adds a lower B string to the existing tuning. A 6 string adds a higher C string to the tuning. The number of strings that are used determines the range of a bass guitar. So if you want to add more sound or dynamic then you might want to consider a 5 or 6 string bass guitar.
The body type of a bass guitar determines the sound and what type of music (genre) you can play with it. An electric bass guitar usually produces a strong sound when plucked into a speaker, but without the speaker, it will not make a lot of sound. An acoustic, on the other hand, can be used without a speaker. The kind of pick-ups and speakers you choose will determine a lot about the sound that the electric bass guitar will make. With an acoustic guitar, it mainly depends on the shape/size of the body and the type of wood.
Buying a bass guitar? This is what you should pay attention to!
If it is your first time playing the bass guitar it is strongly advised to purchase a 4 string model. Why? It is simply easier to play. The amount of strings elevates the complexity for a huge amount while playing. Of course, you could start with a 5 or 6 string bass guitar, but do keep in mind that it will take more practice to master the instrument.
If you have a technical background, or you already have some experience with a bass guitar then it is recommendable to look at second-hand bass guitars. This could spare you a lot of money! One downside would be that you have no warranty or a go-to guy when something is wrong with it. A good alternative would be to look at second-hand guitars in local music stores. There are lots of music stores that have a decent stock of bass guitars.
Don’t decide on the spot. Sometimes it is better to wait a few days, inform yourself and sleep over it.
On a final note
If you have no clue what bass guitar you should purchase then we will always recommend you to go to a music store and try one out. As a starting musician, it can be confusing because most sounds will sound the same. Which is not odd because you have to develop a hearing for that. Let yourself be advised by a store owner, try different models (acoustic and electric) and try out different speakers.