Top 10 Bass Guitars in India (2021): Beginner Bass Guitars and Guide!!

In music, frequencies are divided into different bands like soprano, tenor, baritone, bass etc.

While soprano is the highest in terms of pitch, bass is the lowest. Any instrument that plays in the bass frequency band can be called a bass. The Bass Guitar is one such instrument.

best-bass-guitars-in-india

A standard bass guitar looks very similar to a regular guitar. However, the strings on a bass are much thicker than what it is on a guitar. It also has a longer and thicker neck which can withstand greater tension. These factors allow a bass to be tuned to much lower frequencies and sound deeper.

BUMP: Looking for a Budget Electric Guitar?
Here are the 10 Budget Electric Guitars of 2021

Research shows that it is easier for the human mind to follow a rhythm when the beats have a deep and low pitch. In this regard, the bass is also a percussive instrument.

Now, if you are in a hurry, before going to the actual review and guide, here is our recommendation for the Top 3 Bass Guitars in India:

Yamaha TRBX174 4-String (Overall Winner!!)

Cort Action Bass V Plus (Winner for 5-string Bass)

Vault PJ Style 4-String (Superb Value)

Now, let’s get started….

First up….

Normal Guitar Vs. Bass Guitar: Which is easier to play?

Although comparing bass and guitar is like comparing apples and oranges, this is a very common question asked by most beginners.

BUMP: Want an Amplifier for your Bass? Here are some great Electric Guitar Amps!

To get a better understanding of what is different between these two instruments, it is important to know some of the similarities first.

Similarities

  • Just like guitar, bass is a stringed instrument. It usually has 4 or more strings.
  • Both instruments have a wooden construction with a wooden body, neck and head.
  • Both instruments need to be tuned. There are tuning knobs that can tighten or loosen the strings to change their pitches.
  • Both instruments can be acoustic (naturally amplified) or electric (electrically amplified)
  • Both instruments might or might not have frets. Obviously, fretless instruments are much harder to play as there are no points of reference on the finger-board.

Differences

Thicker strings

Bass has much thicker strings than a guitar. Thicker strings allow deeper and lower sounds to be produced from a bass. This makes a couple of things more difficult on bass than what it is on a guitar. 

For instance, bending notes is more difficult on a bass. Also, fingers hurt more while playing the thicker strings. Here is one of the best sets of bass strings on Amazon.

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance between the nut and the bridge. The longer this distance, the greater the separation between two consecutive frets.

This means that the fingers have to stretch more while playing an instrument with a longer scale length.

A standard 4-string bass can have a scale length of 34-inch while any regular guitar has a scale length of around 25-26 inches. However, this does not mean that you require large hands to play bass. It takes a little extra effort to develop the required flexibility.

Body Weight

Due to thicker strings, there is a lot more tension across the neck of a bass when compared to that of a guitar.

Due to this reason, the wood used for making the body of a bass is usually heavier. This makes it slightly more difficult to play for longer periods, especially while standing up.

Thicker and Wider Neck

The greater amount of tension across the strings requires the bass to have a wider and thicker neck. A thicker neck demands more strength in the playing hand.

On the other hand, a wider neck allows for more space between two consecutive strings. This makes finger-picking somewhat easier on a bass than on a guitar.

Playing style

The general approach towards playing bass is quite different from how you would play a guitar.

Although developing a good sense of timing and rhythm is vital for learning any musical instrument, it is of utmost importance while learning to play bass.

In the case of guitar, however, the main focus of a beginner lies in building speed and accuracy while moving up and down the neck.

List of the Top 10 Bass Guitars Online in India

Bass Guitars in India  BodyNo. of StringsPick-up ConfigValue for Money
Vault PJ Style 4-StringPhoenix Wood4PJ style (Split single + Single)High
Yamaha TRBX174 4-StringMahogany4PJ style (Split single + Single)Very High
Fender Squier Affinity PrecisionAlder4PJ style (Split single + Single)High
Ibanez Gio GSR205 5-StringPoplar5Jazz Style (Single + Single)High
Ibanez GSR180Poplar4Jazz Style (Single + Single)High
Cort Action PJPoplar4PJ style (Split single + Single)Medium
Cort Action Bass V PlusPoplar5Active Jazz style (Single + Single)Medium
Ibanez GSR200Poplar4PJ style (Split-Single + Single)Very High
Fender Squier Affinity Series Jazz BassAlder4Jazz style (Single + Single)High
Sterling by Music Man StingRayBasswood4H-1 Humbucker with 2 band active preampHigh

Top 10 Bass Guitars in India for Beginners (Electric)

Vault PJ Style 4-String Bass Guitar

BodyPhoenix Wood
Number of Strings4
Scale Length34”
Pickup ConfigurationPJ style (Split single + Single)
Neck Profile/MaterialModern ‘C’-shape/Maple
Fretboard/Fret Wire SizeMaple/Jumbo
Fretboard Radius12”
Controls1x Volume, 2x Tone
HardwareChrome
Value for MoneyHigh
  • Very versatile due to PJ style pickup configuration
  • Light weight and easy to play for beginners
  • Great looking instrument with a beautiful finfish
  • Very affordable
  • Relatively low sustain
  • Softer wood makes it comparatively less durable

A product of the popular Indian online instrument seller Bajaao, Vault offers quality instruments and gear at affordable prices. This PJ style 4 string bass ticks the same boxes.

This is easily the most inexpensive bass on the list but can provide stiff competition to the others due to its versatility.

The Vault PJ 4-string bass features a split single coil in the middle that can act as a humbucker for Prescision style tone. At the bridge position, it has a single coil Jazz style pickup.

Therefore, tone-wise, the Vault PJ has the fullness and sustain that is close to a Precision bass, while also offering the brightness of a Jazz style bass.

Vault claims that the body is made out of “Phoenix” wood. Wood from the Paulownia tree is also known as Phoenix wood. It is called so as it grows back very fast, making it environmentally sustainable. The Phoenix wood is a soft wood and, therefore, makes for lighter instruments.

However, as it is not very dense, the sustain on these instruments is slightly less than what you would find on an Alder or Ashwood body. The modern ‘C’ shaped maple neck and maple fingerboard on this bass makes it easy to play on, even for smaller hands. It has a standard 34inch scale length.

Overall, this is a good, budget-friendly instrument for people who are looking to buy their first bass.

Yamaha TRBX174 4-String Bass Guitar

BodyMahogany
Number of Strings4
Scale Length34”
Pickup ConfigurationPJ style (Split single + Single)
Neck Profile/Material‘C’-shape/Maple
Fretboard/Fret Wire SizeIndonesian Rosewood/Medium Jumbo
Fretboard Radius10”
Controls2x Volume, 1x Tone
HardwareChrome
Value for MoneyVery High
  • Deep and dark tone unique to Mahogany
  • Very versatile because of the PJ style pickup configuration
  • Great sustain
  • Affordable price tag
  • Slightly heavy for beginners

Yamaha is a very popular musical instrument brand in India. Be it guitars, keyboards or bass, it produces quality instruments at pocket friendly price.

The TRBX174 is a 4-string bass in the entry-level segment with a PJ configuration for greater versatility. This is our pick as the best bass guitar in India for beginners.

The TRBX174 shows a warm and deep tonality in its sound. It has a split single coil in the middle and a single coil bridge pickup. The middle pickup provides

Precision style deep and woody tone while the Jazz style bridge pickup is ideal for techniques like slapping which require certain brightness and punch. The pickups can be used separately or in combination for a wide variety of tones.

An all Mahogany body makes this bass a bit heavy but also provides it with considerable sustain in its sound.While a hard and dense wood like Mahogany provides this instrument with increased durability, it can be a bit tiring for beginners to play while standing up because of its weight.

The maple neck has a ‘C’ profile that is comfortable for most players. The fingerboard is made out of Indonesian Rosewood.

Overall, this is one of the best quality entry level basses that are available in the Indian market. Even intermediate players appreciate the quality and tone that this bass has to offer.

Fender Squier Affinity Precision PJ Bass Guitar

BodyAlder
Number of Strings4
Scale Length34”
Pickup ConfigurationPJ style (Split single + Single)
Neck Profile/MaterialModern ‘C’-shape/Maple
Fretboard/Fret Wire SizeLaurel/Medium Jumbo
Fretboard Radius9.5”
Controls2x Volume, 1x Tone
HardwareChrome
Value for MoneyHigh
  • Very versatile
  • Reliability of Fender
  • Deep and resonating lower frequencies due to alder body
  • High quality, durable build
  • Alder body can be a little bit on the heavier side

Fender is the company that invented the electric bass in the 50s. The first electric bass was a precision style bass from Fender. Even now they provide instruments of unmatched quality.

Just as in electric guitars, the Squier Affinity series for Bass provides good quality instruments that are priced in an affordable range keeping beginners in mind.

In keeping up with modern standards, the Squier Affinity Precision PJ offers the best of both worlds. The split-single-coil middle pickup provides Precision Bass like tones.

The single coil bridge pickup adds brightness and punch to the tone. The output of this bass is quite hot (high) considering that it has only passive pickups.

A solid alder construction ensures that the low frequencies resonate well. A dense wood-like Alder also makes it a very durable instrument that you can carry around easily.

A standard ‘C’ shaped profile of the maple neck makes life easy for beginners and people with really small hands. The fingerboard is made of Laurel, which is similar to Rosewood in texture and hardness but relatively easier to obtain.

This bass also comes as a bass-amplifier bundle pack. Beginners will find it very convenient as the bass will be ready to play straight out of the box without going through the hassles of having to choose a bass amp or risking the use of a guitar amp.

Ibanez Gio GSR205 5-String Bass Guitar

BodyPoplar
Number of Strings5
Scale Length34”
Pickup ConfigurationJazz Style (Single + Single)
Neck Profile/Material‘C’-shape/Maple
Fretboard/Fret Wire SizeNew Zealand Pine/Medium Jumbo
Fretboard Radius12”
Controls1x Volume, 3 band EQ (Phat II-EQ)
HardwareChrome
Value for MoneyHigh
  • Poplar body makes it durable
  • Good sustain
  • Equaliser controls for fine-tuning
  • Slightly heavier

If you are keen to start your bass playing days with a 5-string, then there are few that can stand up to the Gio GS205 in terms of quality and affordability. Ibanez is a reliable and well-known brand for electric guitars and electric bass that does not burn a hole in your pocket.

With two single-coil pickups, the Ibanez Gio GSR205 is more like a Jazz Style bass. Equaliser controls are provided to shape the tone. Jazz style basses are inherently more versatile due to the varied range of tones that they are capable of producing.

With a poplar body, the Gio GSR205 is on the heavier side of things. Although, a heavier body does mean more sustain. It also features an easy to play maple neck with a ‘C’ profile and New Zealand pine fingerboard.

Overall, this is one of the more affordable, good quality 5-string basses available for beginners.

Ibanez GSR180 Bass Guitar

BodyPoplar
Number of Strings4
Scale Length34”
Pickup ConfigurationJazz style (Single + Single)
Neck Profile/MaterialModern ‘C’-shape/Maple
Fretboard/Fret Wire SizeJatoba/Medium
Fretboard Radius12”
Controls1x Volume, 2x Tone
HardwareChrome
Value for MoneyHigh
  • Bright and crispy tone is good for techniques like slapping
  • Good looking instrument
  • Playability is good for beginners
  • Not as versatile as a PJ bass
  • The nut is made of plastic (could be swapped for a bone nut later)
  • Does not have the sustain of a bass with an Alder body

Ibanez basses are very popular in India because they make standard quality at a very affordable price point. The GSR-180 is a 4-string bass popular with both beginners and intermediate players.

The GSR180 is a Jazz bass with two single coil passive pickups. With the tone control at full, it produces a bright and crispy sound with a lot of high-end in it. Rolling off the tone control will give you a smoother and mellower sound.

This bass has a poplar body and a maple neck. Poplar is one of the softer hardwoods and adds to a meaty and resonant tone. It has a ‘C’ neck profile with a scale length of 34inches. It has good playability and can be played by small hands too.

This is a beginner-friendly, budget bass butat the same time, it is something that even intermediate bassists would enjoy playing.

Cort Action PJ Bass Guitar

BodyPoplar
Number of Strings4
Scale Length34”
Pickup ConfigurationPJ style (Split single + Single)
Neck Profile/MaterialModern ‘C’-shape/ Canadian hard maple
Fretboard/Fret Wire SizeJatoba/Jumbo
Fretboard Radius15.75”
Controls2x Volume, 1x Tone
HardwareChrome
Value for MoneyMedium
  • Versatility of a PJ bass
  • 24 playable frets
  • Good playability and over feel
  • Thicker neck can be challenging for smaller hands
  • Lacks the punchy top-end frequencies

The Action PJ is a PJ style 4 string bass that is very versatile despite having passive pickups and minimal controls from the house of Cort. It very comfortable to hold and is a great option for beginners.

Being a PJ style bass, it has a split single-coil in the middle. The bridge position has a single-coil. It is not as bright sounding as other PJ basses but has a smooth and mellow tone that many players prefer. For techniques like slapping, the split-coil pickup performs better.

This bass has a poplar body just like most budget instruments these days. The neck is made of Canadian hard maple. It is slightly on the thicker side and beginners with small hands might find it slightly difficult to grip at first.

The Action PJ features a Jatoba fretboard with 24 frets. This is a rare find in basses within this budget. Although the cut-away is not as deep as it should have been, the higher frets are still playable. The scale length is 34inches.

This is very good starting point for beginners who are looking to play pop, Jazz and even hard rock. The lack of brightness in the tone might not be suited for some of the heavier genres.

Cort Action Bass V Plus Bass Guitar

BodyPoplar
Number of Strings5
Scale Length34”
Pickup ConfigurationActive Jazz style (Single + Single)
Neck Profile/MaterialModern ‘C’-shape/ Canadian hard maple
Fretboard/Fret Wire SizeJatoba/Jumbo
Fretboard Radius15.75”
Controls2-band Active EQ
HardwareChrome
Value for MoneyMedium
  • Active pickups
  • 2-band active EQ
  • 5-strings
  • Light weight and easy to play
  • Pickup output not hot enough for active pickups

The Cort Action Bass V Plus is not just the 5-string version of the Action PJ. There are some significant differences in features. If you have set your heart on getting a 5-string bass, then this is a great option.

To start off, this is a Jazz style bass with two single coil pickups. However, these are active pickups and require batteries to operate. The batteries go inside a compartment at the back. These pickups have a hotter output than passive Jazz style pickups but milder than other active pickups.

There is ample brightness in the tone which is expected from Jazz style single coils. An active 2-band EQ provides a variety of tones suited for different styles.

Just like the Action PJ, the Action V plus has a poplar body which is relatively light and causes less fatigue when played while standing up.

The neck is made of Canadian hard maple and the profile is almost similar to the Action PJ. This also features a double cut-away with 24 frets on a Jatoba fretboard.

Overall, this is a good 5 string bass to start off with. However, it might not be the best choice if you are looking to use it for heavier genres like metal.

Ibanez GSR200 Bass Guitar

BodyPoplar
Number of Strings4
Scale Length34”
Pickup ConfigurationPJ style (Split-Single + Single)
Neck Profile/MaterialModern ‘C’-shape/Maple
Fretboard/Fret Wire SizeJatoba/Medium
Fretboard Radius12”
ControlsPhat-2 Active Boost EQ
HardwareChrome
Value for MoneyVery High
  • Phat-2 Active boost amps up the low end quite a bit
  • Very light, sleek design
  • Very versatile
  • 22 frets only

The GSR200 is one of the most popular budget basses that comes close to the sound of the Ibanez SR series.

Beginners who are really serious about learning the bass should go for this as a long term investment. This instrument is not only good for bedroom practice but is also good enough for gigging.

This is a PJ style bass and the pickup configuration is designed to produce a variety of sounds making this a very versatile instrument. On top of this, the GSR200 features a bass boost knob (Phat-2 Active bass boost) that really kicks in the low-end for that deep and full tone. The Phat-2 Active bass boost requires battery to function.

The body is made out of Poplar and is sleek, light weight and comfortable to hold. The maple neck has a C-profile. The fretboard is made of Jatoba and has 22 medium frets. It feels smooth and playability is quite good.

Overall, this bass is really good as a long term option. This can not only be used by beginners but also by intermediate players or guitarists who are looking to record bass tracks for their compositions.

Fender Squier Affinity Series Jazz Bass Guitar

BodyAlder
Number of Strings4
Scale Length34”
Pickup ConfigurationJazz style (Single + Single)
Neck Profile/MaterialModern ‘C’-shape/Maple
Fretboard/Fret Wire SizeRosewood/Medium
Fretboard Radius12”
Controls2xVolume, 1xTone
HardwareChrome
Value for MoneyHigh
  • The quality of Fender
  • Great looks
  • Good playability
  • Alder body
  • The tuners are a bit cheap and low quality
  • Less versatile than a PJ-bass
  • Only 20 frets

If you want a standard bass with assured quality of a big brand name, then the Squier Affinity Series Jazz Bass is the one for you. The Squier Affinity Series J-Bass has great value for its price just like it’s electric guitar counterparts.

Since it is a Jazz style bass, it has two single coil pickups. The tone is quite punchy but has sufficient low-end to sound deep. The sustain is not as much as that of a Precision bass since the passive single coils have a much lower output.

This is one the very few budget basses with an Alder body. This compensates the low output from the pickups. The bass is surprisingly light despite being built from such a dense tone wood.

The typical fender pickguard compliments the look beautifully. The neck has a standard ‘C’ shape. The fretboard is made of Rosewood/Laurel and have 21 medium sized frets. It has a standard 34inch scale length.

Overall, this bass has a great value and the trust of Fender. For this price range, it should be a great buy for any beginner.

Sterling by Music Man StingRay

BodyBasswood
Number of Strings4
Scale Length34”
Pickup ConfigurationH-1 Humbucker with 2 band active preamp
Neck Profile/MaterialModern ‘C’-shape/Hard Maple
Fretboard/Fret Wire SizeJatoba (Maple for some variants)/Medium
Fretboard Radius9.5”
Controls1xVolume, 2xTone
HardwareChrome
Value for MoneyHigh
  • Very high output with 2 band active preamp system
  • Stunning looks (available in various shades)
  • Light body
  • Good playability
  • 21 frets only
  • Expensive

Sterling by Music Man is a brand that is endorsed by big names in the guitar world like John Petrucci of Dream Theatre.

The quality of their instruments is also carried forward to their line of basses. If you are a beginner but have a little extra money to spend for a gig-worthy bass, this is definitely worth a look.

The Stingray has a single H-1 Ceramic Humbucker pickup. A 2 band active pre-amp with a 9V battery system ensures a high output signal for better sustain and fuller tone.

The variety in tone makes it very versatile. This is also one of the few basses on this list that is suitable for metal and other heavier genres.

The body is made of basswood. This makes it light enough not to cause any strain when you play standing up. The neck has a radius of 9.5inch. The fretboard is made of Jatoba, though there are some variants with maple. There are a total of 21 medium sized frets.

Overall, this is a great bass to start with, especially for metal-heads if you have the budget for it.

Verdict

Going by all factors such as versatility, playability, and affordability, the Yamaha TRBX174 4-String is our pick as the Best Bass Guitar in India. It is not only an attractive-looking instrument but also very comfortable to play. Tone-wise, it is versatile enough to be suited for most genres of music. 

In the 5-string category, the Cort Action Bass V Plus takes the cake due to tone and playability alone. The active pickups also have an added advantage of a hotter output.

What to look for while Buying Bass Guitars Online India

When you are buying your first bass, it is important to know the things that you should look for. Although most of the criteria match that of guitars, there are some differences.

Tonewood

The body of the bass which is vibrated by the strings is usually made out of wood. Generally, Electric basses have a solid wooden body. The strings transfer their vibrations to the wooden body.

Therefore, the kind of wood used has a good amount of effect on the produced tone. Some of the most commonly used tonewood in making bass guitars are:

Alder

Just like in electric guitars, Alder is a very popular choice of tonewood for electric basses. This is because it is dense and heavy and provides a lot of sustain. The overall tone has pronounced harmonic overtones and balanced low, high, and mids.

Ash

Ash-wood is very similar to Alder in terms of tonal characteristics. However, it is costlier because of its beautiful and natural grains that can result in a stunning finish.

Basswood

Basswood is less dense than Alder and Ash and, therefore, makes for slightly lighter basses. This is also the reason why Basswood has lower sustain and a punchier tone.

Maple

Maple is really dense. Thus, it has incredible sustain. A maple-bodied bass has a bright and crispy tonal characteristic. Also, maple, being a hardwood, results in sturdier basses that can take a lot of hits.

Playability

Playability is very important while choosing any instrument because it plays a vital role in the learning curve. For any bass, the following factors determine its playability:

Action

Just like a guitar, the bass has an action – the height between the fingerboard and any string.

If the action is too low, then the strings start to unintentionally touch other frets while playing.

This leads to fret buzzing. If the action is too high, then it is difficult to fret notes on the fingerboard as it takes more pressure to hold down the strings.

The ideal amount of action is somewhere in between where the frets don’t buzz and the notes can be fretted easily.

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance between the nut and the bridge. Since bass has thicker strings than a guitar, it needs a longer scale length.

A longer scale-length means that the distance between adjacent frets would be greater. Therefore, fingers would need to stretch more in order to fret two or more notes on different frets. This would require developing greater flexibility and strength in the playing hand.

On the other hand, longer scale length basses sound fuller and are better for techniques such as slapping and popping. 34inch is considered to be the standard scale length.

Neck

The neck profile or shape plays an important role in the feel of an instrument. There are several different neck profiles available.

The most common ones are the ‘C’ and the ‘D’ (also referred to as ‘U’) profiles. ‘C’ profiles have a less pronounced curvature and generally result in a thinner neck.

People with smaller hands find it easier to play on a ‘C’ shaped neck. A ‘D’ shaped neck is fatter and is suitable for people with relatively larger hands. It is also easier to place your thumb at the back of the neck while playing on a ‘D’ shaped neck.

Another factor that affects playability is the type o finish on the neck. Unfinished necks feel rougher while moving up or down the neck. Lacquered necks have a smoother feel. However, too much lacquer can provide resistance and feel sticky.

Pickup

Just like electric guitars, electric basses have different kinds of pickup setups. Pickups can be either active or passive.

Active pickups, like piezo pickups, have to be powered by a source, usually a battery. They are generally used for acoustic basses. Passive pickups, like magnetic pickups, for instance, do not require any additional power to function. Electric basses generally use magnetic pickups.

Magnetic pickups can be both single-coil and humbuckers (double-coiled).

Fender Jazz style basses usually have two single-coil pickups – one at the neck position and one at the bridge.

While Fender Precision style basses have a single humbucker pickup in the middle. Although, pickup configurations can slightly vary from brand to brand.

Jazz style pickup configuration (two single-coil config) provides more versatility in terms of tone as different pickup positions can be selected by the player. Precision style basses, however, have greater sustain and fuller tone courtesy the humbucker. 

Number of Strings

A standard electric bass comes with 4 strings. The standard tuning of the 4 strings corresponding to the thickest 4 strings on a guitar: E A D G. However, there are some variants with more than 4 strings. They not only provide greater range but also greater playability.

This is because a lot of stretching of fingers can be reduced by finding the same note on higher or lower strings. In other words, horizontal movement on the fretboard can be converted to a more comfortable vertical movement.

Greater number of strings increases the learning curve in some ways. For instance, it requires you to mute the thicker strings while playing.

This is because the thicker strings can start droning when you play the other strings. This introduces unwanted noise. Also utilizing the thicker strings requires more practice.

FAQs: Questions You Shouldn’t Miss

1. Are Bass players failed Guitarists?

This is a common myth surrounding the bass. Before debunking this, let’s get to the root of it. There are two main reasons that have given birth to this myth:

Firstly, when we watch a band perform on stage, it is usually either the vocalist or the guitar player who comes to our notice. This is because, normally, vocalists and guitar players are at the forefront to sing or play the main melody line of a song.

Since, we as listeners, identify a song by its lyrics and melody, we tend to think of guitarists and vocalists as the leaders or key players in a band. In other words, it is easy to distinguish what a vocalist is singing or a guitarist is playing.

On the contrary, it is difficult for an average listener to make out what the bassist is actually playing in the entire mix.

Secondly, unlike guitarists, most bassists are less flashy on stage.

When is the last time that you remember a bassist taking the centre stage for a bass solo? Hard to recall, right? Whereas, almost every song has a guitar solo or riff in it.

An audience, the majority of whom are non-musicians, cannot be expected to appreciate bass as an instrument in the same way that a guitar is appreciated.

These reasons, however, do not make the bass any less of an instrument. In fact, bass is a completely different instrument from guitar and fulfils other equally important roles in a band. It requires a different approach to playing than what you would apply while playing guitar.

Playing bass gives you an innate but different kind of satisfaction from what you get when you’re playing a guitar. Comparing the two is absolutely pointless.

2. What are the roles of a bass player in a band?

Without a bass player, any band’s sound is incomplete. No matter how good the vocalist or the guitarist is, without a bass in the mix, everything sounds hollow and empty — the overall sound lacks the fullness.

This is because, both the human vocal range and the tonal range of a guitar lacks the low-end frequencies of bass. This lack of fullness is easily noticed by most people, even though they might not realize what is actually missing.

Any song structure is composed of three parts: melody, harmony, and rhythm. While Melody can be anything from lead vocals to an instrumental solo, Harmony is governed by the underlying chords.

Rhythm, on the other hand, dictates how melody and harmony are arranged over the entire song.

The same melody can sound different if there is any change in harmony or rhythm. This is because it is the combination of harmony and rhythm that brings out the emotional characteristics of any melody.

Typically, bass acts as a bridge between harmony and rhythm.

Highlighting song structure

Harmony plays a key role in adding colour and emotion to melody. When a singer is accompanied by a piano or a guitar, the chords played on the instrument harmonizes with the melody of the vocals.

Every chord comprises a root note, which is its identity, and some additional notes that add the harmonic colours. One of the simpler jobs of a bassist is to highlight these root notes. Root notes played on a bass help in making chords sound more prominent to a listener.

Maintaining groove and rhythm

This is, by far, the most important and enjoyable part of being a bassist. As mentioned before, the bass is also a percussive instrument. This is because it is easier for human ears to follow the rhythm of a song when the beats have a low frequency.

Bass not only highlights the chords but also enhances the rhythm of a song. It accentuates the beats and glues all of the melody and harmony with percussion. A rhythmic bassline makes the song sound tighter and adds more intent to it.

3. Can I play Bass with a Guitar Amp?

Guitar amps are easily available in the market as compared to bass amps. Moreover, most people don’t pick up the bass straight away. Rather, they transition from playing guitar to playing bass.

This means that it is more common for people to have a guitar amp at home rather than a bass amp. Due to these reasons, people often want to plug in their bass in guitar amps instead of investing money in buying a bass amp. But is it safe? Can it damage the amp in some way?

4. How Speakers work?

In principle, you could plug in a bass into a guitar amp. You might even like the sound. However, before doing that, it is important that you know what you are doing.

In order to get a better understanding, let’s first get to know how speakers work.

When the signal from your instrument reaches an amplifier, the signal is amplified in a couple of stages – pre-amplification and power amplification.

The final output from these two stages is what drives the speakers to make them vibrate mechanically and push air out to produce the sound that we ultimately hear. The bigger the speakers, the more power they can handle.

The Risks

Guitar speakers are designed to handle the range of frequencies that can be produced by a guitar. Therefore, the amount of movement and strain that can be handled by the speakers are calibrated to what can be produced by a guitar.

A bass, on the other hand, produces much lower frequencies with longer wavelengths. Therefore, the amplified signal from a bass can cause appreciable movement and strain in the speakers of a guitar amplifier. This can cause some irreversible damage to the speakers or even blow them up if played for a considerable stretch of time.

Workarounds

There are some ways, however, through which a bass can be safely plugged into a guitar amp. The first way is to keep the volume or gain as low as possible. A good way is to not go above the level at which the speakers start to rattle or distort.

BUMP: Take a look at these superb Guitar Effect Pedals for your Bass!!

Another way could be to use a compressor pedal. A compressor squeezes the signal by reducing the gain when it is above a threshold and boosts the gain otherwise. Therefore, really high gain signals can be avoided by using a compressor. Here is a great compressor pedal for your bass on Amazon.

The safest way, however, is to use both methods in combination.

When is it ok to use?

For home practice purposes, connecting a bass to a guitar amp is just fine as long as the volume is low enough to avoid any kind of strain or distortion in the speakers.

The same is not recommended for gigs, however. This is because the overall volume is high during gigs and the amp’s speakers might blow up in the middle of the performance.

Also, since guitar amps are originally designed for guitars, their sound lacks much of the low end that is found in bass amps.

Few Words of Advice

The first stepping stone to playing bass is the realisation that guitar and bass are not the same instruments. Beginners are often seen trying to play a flurry of notes on the bass just as they would do on a guitar.

In order to improve as a bassist, it is important to curb this habit as early as possible. The most important role of a bassist is to keep time. This is because, if a bassist does not play in time, the whole song falls apart.

That is what every beginner should aspire to master before moving on to advance techniques. So, even though it is advisable for beginners to practice all instruments over a click track or metronome, it is mandatory in case of a bass.

For kids or adults with exceptionally small hands, a short scale bass would be a little more comfortable. However, it is important to know that short scale basses are not as widely available in the market as standard scale length basses.

Also, it is much more difficult to transition to a longer scale length bass later on. Also, much of the flexibility and strength in the playing hands come from regular practice.

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