What is the difference in a Bass Guitar and a regular electric guitar?

I have a regular electric guitar, and I want to know what the difference is between a bass and a regular electric , thanks!

Chosen Answer:

A bass isn’t actually a guitar at all, though people have attached the word “guitar” to its name because it’s visually similar. But the bass has four strings instead of six and is actually just a portable, louder version of the old upright basses you see in jazz combos. It’s part of the rhythm section and used to accentuate the bass notes of the melodies played by guitarists. Guitarists play chords, whereas bassists play individual notes in rhythm with the drums. So it’s not a great instrument for people who like to show off, since they’ll always be part of the background. But if you remove the bassist from a band, you’ll definitely notice that something important is missing. It’s more subtle than guitar, but important to the rhythm section.

A lot of guitarists mistakenly believe they’ll be great bassists because they’ll be playing only four strings instead of six. But most of them don’t mesh well with the drummer (which is absolutely essential for a bassist), since they focus on melody rather than the beat of the bass drum. As a result, they overplay and cram as many notes as possible into a song, rather than supporting the song structure by providing solid rhythm support.
by: baxterville
on: 1st January 10

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6 Responses to What is the difference in a Bass Guitar and a regular electric guitar?

  1. WhoDey320 says:

    A bass has one less string than a regular electric guitar. Also, it sounds deeper than a regular guitar.
    It is most frequently used as the “foundation” of a song; it is not prominent but the song is noticeably different without it.
    Flea, from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, is a notable bassist.

  2. XTIAN170174 says:

    The bass is an octave lower, using heavier gauge (thicker) strings, it’s usually got four strings although there are 5 & 6 string types as well as others – I have an 8 string BC Rich Bich (watch This Is Spinal Tap to see the kind I mean – two tone brown with the vintage R logo – it’s on now on Dave Sky 111), mine’s a single neck 4 string paired with it’s octaves and aside from this model which seems very short scale to me, the neck of a bass is longer (and in the sequence so too is a double bass’s compared to a regular bass).

    The one I’m seen playing in my profile pic is a Rickenbacker 4001

  3. Alex says:

    A bass has 4 strings and a guitar has 6. The guitar adds mids/highs to a song and a bass adds…. well….bass! lol.

  4. baxterville says:

    A bass isn’t actually a guitar at all, though people have attached the word “guitar” to its name because it’s visually similar. But the bass has four strings instead of six and is actually just a portable, louder version of the old upright basses you see in jazz combos. It’s part of the rhythm section and used to accentuate the bass notes of the melodies played by guitarists. Guitarists play chords, whereas bassists play individual notes in rhythm with the drums. So it’s not a great instrument for people who like to show off, since they’ll always be part of the background. But if you remove the bassist from a band, you’ll definitely notice that something important is missing. It’s more subtle than guitar, but important to the rhythm section.

    A lot of guitarists mistakenly believe they’ll be great bassists because they’ll be playing only four strings instead of six. But most of them don’t mesh well with the drummer (which is absolutely essential for a bassist), since they focus on melody rather than the beat of the bass drum. As a result, they overplay and cram as many notes as possible into a song, rather than supporting the song structure by providing solid rhythm support.

  5. KOOL THING says:

    First, Google? Seriously? Ever heard of it?

    Secondly, there’s only one good answer here — the one above me. I’m just here to add more information/simplify some things.

    A bass has 4 strings (traditionally) and a guitar has 6. There’s your first difference.

    Bass strings are of a MUCH larger gauge (meaning they are thicker) than guitar strings.

    A bass is (typically) larger than a guitar in that the neck is wider and longer. This is called the instrument scale. Most basses are 34″ scale. I personally play a Fender Musicmaster, which is a shortscale bass (30″ scale) because I’m a girl with very small hands. The neck is thinner and the bass is (obviously) 4 inches shorter; the body is also lighter than, say, your standard P-bass. I also have an off-brand vintage bass that’s guitar scale (24″).

    I like what the previous answer said about the bass being the cement of a song; take away the bass and your song is missing a lot of low end, a tonal “director” and some of its groove. However, bassists don’t have to stay in the background as they mentioned! In fact, many bassists in pop music have taken a central role in their bands — Paul McCartney, Kim Gordon, Kim Deal, Sting, etc etc etc.

    Bass players typically play melodic lines around a song’s chord structure rather than the chords themselves as guitars do. Basses can also have solos — just like guitars. (This is typically seen in jazz.) Basses can play chords, but it’s not common as the sound comes out pretty muddy; this is generally used in experimental or noise music.

    Watch some videos of bass playing to see if you know what it sounds like.

  6. www.beginner-bass-guitar.com says:

    First of all bass have 4 strings and regular guitar have 6 strings (i’m talking about the classic bass).
    Bass guitar tuning is one octave below regular guitar, the bass strings on the guitar are tuned the same as a bass, but a bass is one octave lower.
    Learning bass guitar is easier because you have 2 string less, and you making the beat, and with a guitar the playing chords, solos and so on…
    Of course you have basses with more strings: 5 bass guitar and more
    The theory is the same.

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