Guitar and bass: What are the differences? (1/2)

Some tips for choosing between these two instruments

Guitar and bass. What are the differences?

You want to join a band or simply play for yourself and you hesitate between the guitar and the bass. However, you can't tell the difference between these two instruments and have trouble choosing? This article will probably help you in your decision!

History and origins

Electric guitar

Although the electric bass bears a strong visual resemblance to the electric guitar, their origins are not entirely similar. On the one hand, the classical guitar was born in 18th century Europe and has a hollow body. Descended from the lute, this same resonant body allows the guitar to emit sound without amplification. It is only in the 1930's that the first prototypes of guitars called "solid body" will see the day. In contrast to the classical guitar, this type of guitar is made of pickups and is connected to an amplifier. These inventions were popularized by Les Paul and Fender in the United States.

Bass guitar

At the same time, Leo Fender was also interested in amplifying the bass. Indeed, the bassists play then on double bass and are brought to have to produce sounds increasingly strong, in particular with the emancipation of the jazz style. Leo Fender was inspired by the shape of the electric guitar and marketed his famous "precision bass" in the 1950s.

Physical distinctions

The first point that distinguishes the two instruments at first glance is the difference in size. Indeed, the bass reaches lower notes and, to do so, the strings must be thicker. This difference in string size is called the drawbar. The higher the draw, the thicker the diameter of the string and the stronger the tuning machines must be to withstand this pressure. Thicker strings will have to be spaced further apart, and require a longer neck so that each note can sound without "bending". Another distinctive point, the bass is composed of 4 strings (E, A, D, G) while the guitar has 6 (E, A, D, G, B, E). This rule is not absolute because, later, strings are added to both instruments to serve different styles.   

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