From Double Bass To Bass Guitar
If you were a bass player in an orchestra or small band prior to the Second World War, you played a large instrument that was extremely cumbersome to carry around. Apart from a drum kit, no other instrument was so difficult to transport. As the acoustic bass was a quiet instrument compared to instruments in a orchestra or band, it was difficult to hear, but the fine, natural sound quality of the bass was highly prized and so musicians started to experiment to see if it was possible to create the quality of the double bass in a smaller instrument.
Â During the 30's a number of new instruments appeared, in particular the electronic bass fiddle invented by Paul Tutmarc. Although smaller than the bass, and meant to be played horizontally, it never became universally popular with musicians. In 1946 Leo Fender started producing guitars and in 1951 created the Fender Precision bass. A number of factors contributed to its success. It was small and easily transported. Also designed to be held horizontally, instead of rested upright on the floor, it was clearly more of a guitar in appearance than a bass. It was given the name "Precision" because frets had been added, meaning a more precise sound could be obtained.
Â The new guitar was an instant hit, particularly with popular, small groups that were moving towards the blues and eventually Rock 'N Roll. In 1960 Leo Fender produced his Jazz bass guitar, which became as popular as the Precision. Leo retired in 1965 and although over the years the brand name changed hands, the popularity of the instruments has never waned. The company listened to the needs of musicians and produced a wide range of guitars including custom made models for individual musicians. Many of these custom made models have since been produced as series, so you can own a replica of your favorite musician's guitar.
Â If you are novice player buying your first bass guitar, you should decide what sound you are hoping to achieve. If you are unable to try the different models, read as much as possible about them. Left-handed models are available.
Â Buy the best you can afford, the top manufacturers are successful because the quality of their guitars is consistent. Don't skimp on an good amplifier either, it would be a shame to ruin the quality of a fine guitar. It is possible to buy good, used guitars at reasonable prices, so check what is available. If you want a great sound a Fender bass guitar will give it to you.