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The Electric Bass is an essential instrument in modern music, because its function, apart from bringing harmony, is to give cohesion to the whole band.
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The Electric Bass is in charge of joining the rhythmic base (drums) with the rest of instruments, that’s why we classify it within the rhythmic base but even so, it has another very important function that is to sustain the harmony, because it is the one who is giving the lowest note.
The bass is an instrument as omnipresent as the electric guitar in modern popular music, and regardless of the genre, you can not do without while there is a drum sounding.
It belongs to the family of string instruments or cordophones and although its origins come from the electric guitar, it completely maintains the tuning and function of its partner the double bass.
The Electric Bass is also called bass, bass and even base guitar.
Now let’s start with a bit of bass history.
History of the Electric Bass
Until the 1950s, the double bass was still the instrument of choice.
It was then that Leo Fender invented this instrument and important changes took place.
The bass revolution really began with the introduction of electronics and the need for amplification.
At first, basses were built but they were all vertical like their predecessor the double bass.
when was the electric bass invented ?
First Bass LuthiersAt the beginning of the 20th century,
the double bass was still the instrument used to develop the bass function in musical formations.
However, it was very uncomfortable because of its size and that was not the most practical, besides, it had certain sound limitations because it was easy to cover it with the punch of the drums. In addition, musical styles were changing, as well as places and musical performances.
It was necessary for the bass to be amplified.
Two main luthiers must be named
In the 1920s, Gibson’s legendary luthier,
Lloyd Loar, was working on a prototype to fit this feature.
This was based on a semi-solid vertical bass with electrostatic pickups.
However, Gibson did not see fit to put it into production.
The pickup was susceptible to cracking and crackling, and the amplification of this era was not capable of reproducing low bass frequencies.
In the 1930’s some basses built by Gibson, Rickenbacker and others appeared, but all were vertical designs.
In the 1940s, however, Paul Tutmarc Jr. designed what is considered by many to be the first electric bass.
It was known as the Serenader Bass, it was a compact instrument, and finally designed to play it horizontally.
It was designed to overcome two main problems:
First, the bass sound is lost with the metal section and the drums of the big jazz bands.
Secondly, to make it easier for the bass player to transport his instrument due to the dimensions of the double basses.
Where was the electric bass invented ?
Undoubtedly the electric bass was invented in Seattle, USA.
Fender Precision Bass
The first bass he designed and built was the Fender Precision, a model that is still available today and to a large extent does not differ much from the original.
The Precision bass model was built with a flat body, without contours, with a 20-turn screwed maple mast. The length of the scale was set at 34″, and one with a single pickup from a single coil.
Fender was also designing an amplifier capable of reproducing lower frequencies, the Fender Bassman.
We can say that the bass “Fender Precision” was the first bass as a model to be followed by other manufacturers and today is still marketed and used for its sound so classic and characteristic.
Leo Fender was a fan of country music and hoped that the bass would be as well received in that genre as the Esquire/Telecaster, and in fact the first Precision Bass that arrived in Nashville fell into the hands of Joel Price, who began using it in the Grand Ole Opry in 1952.
But surprisingly it was the jazz environment that really embraced the instrument at first.
To promote his invention, Leo went to concerts and nightclubs to show his instruments and in New York he met Lionel Hampton’s band.
Bassist Roy Johnson tried Precision and Lionel loved the sound.Leo told them to keep him and the Bassman amplifier, as it would be a good advertisement for Fender.
And that’s how the bass began to gain fame and increasingly take more prominence, so much so that today you can not conceive of a band without an Electric Bass.