There’s generally a shortage of bassists everywhere, hence why I’m in 8 groups with my school and Suffolk County Music Service, including jazz, guitar and wind ensembles and a classical orchestra. As an instrument it is often side-lined in favour of guitar or (in the double bass’s case) violin. It seems to be a general rule that the lower the instrument, the less popular it is. Although bass may not get the tune or the solos it is still a vital part of any band or orchestra.
Let’s start with the technical side of things:
The strings on a bass guitar are the same as the 4 lower strings on a regular 6-string guitar – E, A, D, G – but one octave lower. The strings on a double bass have the same tuning. Bass is typically the lowest pitched instrument in a band or orchestra and provides the rhythm and beat for the other musicians alongside drums/percussion.
So why is it so important?
Bass helps to hold the band together and drives the piece by providing the rhythm (as I said before). Its distinct lower tone is easily heard by the rest of the band/orchestra and is therefore easy to follow and stay in time with. Without this underlying beat the band may be more likely to fall out of time with each other. The audience also benefit from hearing these lower tones for the same reason – it helps them to follow and feel the music.
After 5 years of playing bass I’ve found that it is very rewarding to play. I would consider bass to be a supportive role in the band, supporting and holding together the band and providing a solid base for solos/tune. I like to think of myself as a helpful person and I think playing bass fits perfectly with that characteristic!
Bass guitar is a pretty simple instrument to get the hang of so I would recommend it to anyone starting out on guitar or looking for something new and different!
You don’t need much gear to make a bass guitar sound great, but it never hurts to have some good kit! Personally, I like to use a Fender Rumble 100 Amplifier (which is available in store now!) which has a range of different effects and sounds – including bright, contour, vintage and overdrive – to suit different pieces. It’s a handy amp that I would recommend to anyone thinking of or doing a lot of performing /gigging as it is extremely light despite its size and but still has a lot of volume so you can be heard above the rest of the band and audience.