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How to choose your bass?


The bass is the key musical instrument of a band because it's the one who gives the tempo. Less sexy than the guitar and more hidden behind the guitarist and the drummer, before the bass player was the last place of the band because few people chose this instrument. Since the birth of rock, the bass has had all its importance, being amplified, it quickly becomes the replacement of the double bass. Very popular with the ladies and groove lovers, many brands dedicate a whole part of their catalog to the bass guitar. As a result, the offer is very wide and can destabilize those who, like you, would like to get involved. Then follow the guide!

The bass guitar is not a complicated instrument in itself, but its design is governed by certain factors that determine the quality of the instrument. It is therefore important to understand what constitutes a bass and some technical aspects in order to avoid any disappointment.

First of all, the electric bass is a guitar, but with fewer strings, and its essential role is associated with percussion to build the rhythm section on which all the musicians will rely in order to play. The bass consists of the body, the neck (both made out of wood), the hardware then the pickups and components that control it. Wood species are not of paramount importance in the final sound result and the choice of your first bass. Ash, alder, poplar... in most cases, your ear will not make the difference even if obviously, some types of wood are more noble.



The body


The bass body is an assembly of two or three pieces of wood glued together to form the most massive structure in the instrument. The top of the body where the pickups are located is called the table. The part of the body that rests against the bassist is called the back and the contours are called the ribs. Among the types of wood used in the composition of a bass are mainly alder, ash, poplar and mahogany. In the entry-level models, limewood or pine bodies can be found; and for solid tables, harder woods such as maple or more exotic woods are used.



The neck


The neck also consists of several parts and as with all guitars. It is the neck that will most often make you decide whether or not the instrument is right for you, depending on your feelings of touch and comfort. The neck is therefore a critical part of your instrument.

The parts are as follows:
- the back of the neck, on which the palm or thumb rests.
- The fingerboard, which is just below the strings
- The headstock where the tuning machines rest
- The nut, a small block at the top of the fingerboard into which the strings are inserted.

There are several neck shapes on the market, more or less flat, rounded, with different widths of nuts, shape and radius of the neck, jumbos or medium bars, maple or rosewood fingerboard, glossy or matte varnish, the variations of neck are numerous, anybody can find what they are looking for.

The neck of a bass has a typical length called scalelength, measurable in inches (34 inches in most cases) and allows very low notes (usually an octave below the guitar) to be played. Basically, the longer the neck is, the longer the scalelength and the lower the bass tones. The nature of the nut itself is important for the tone and especially the attack.

The necks are either "bolt-on" or "neck-through", "set-in" necks are a bit more rare on bass than on guitars. The bolt-on neck is therefore screwed into four fixing points, sometimes five or six. The neck-through, have the reputation of facilitating access to treble and ensuring a better sustain (maximum duration of the played note), but the use of this type of junction between neck and body influences the sound and also the price of the instrument.



The hardware


The hardware brings together a set of components, all the parts, generally metallic, that are attached to the neck and body of the bass. It is used to bind the strings to the instrument. The models are very numerous, always take care to check the strength and the assembly of these different parts. Especially in the case of mechanics with thousands of variations, from the basic model to oil-bath tuning machines, make sure that they fulfil their main function perfectly: a precise, easy and stable tuning.



Pickups


You will get a well-defined grain depending on the type of pickup. There are two main families of pickups, single coil and double coil.

The single-coil configuration, or simple winding, is a basic design. It offers a precise reproduction of the trebles and in the mids, but will give you less amplitude than the sound of a double-coil.

The double-coil has better electrical insulation, avoiding interference such as whistling, a common phenomenon by single-coil pickups . Sometimes lacking in finesse, manufacturers try to give the double microphones the sound spectrum of a simple winding while taking advantage of its isolation. Microphone configurations are multiple, but fairly recurrent in manufacturers' catalogues.



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