The Importance Of Design In The Popularity Of Bass Guitars

by

Victor Epand

For almost as long as anyone can remember, electric guitars have been synonymous with the concept of design – and it has almost seemed to be the case that in order to sound good, an electric guitar must look fabulous. Whilst this isn’t necessarily the case, it has taken a long time for the electric bass guitar to catch up with the standard electric guitar in terms of design and appearance – but that has been experiencing significant changes over recent years, with electric bass guitars packing a punch as far as aesthetics are concerned, and taking a firm stand centre stage.

The body of electric bass guitars has typically been made from wood – usually very hard wood, but in some cases graphite has also been used to create a strong, but very lightweight guitar. Where wood has been used there has always been much scope for variation, but the most typical woods used include alder for the body, maple for the strong neck, and rosewood for the fret board. Each of these woods is lacquered to within an inch of its life, and the natural gloss of the wood with the grain enhanced adds a striking effect to the instrument. However, where graphite has been used, a wide range of colours and paint effects has been used to create guitars in all manner of visual styles.

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Graphite can help in reducing the weight of a bass guitar, but an alternative is to create a hollow bodies electric bass guitar. Normally the idea of a hollow bodied guitar is restricted to that of the acoustic guitar, but the hollow chamber achieves two things – firstly it lowers the overall weight, and secondly it can be used to help add a certain resonance to the notes, providing the guitar with a distinct voice.

The electric bass guitar is a large instrument, and is usually significantly longer than the standard electric guitar. For this reason the fret board or neck is under considerable strain, and so the design has to take this into account. There is little surprise that even today, with the most amazing fabrics and materials available, often it is still premium hardwoods that are chosen for the essential parts of a guitar, and for an electric bass guitar the fret board is nearly always rosewood or maple. However, there have been graphite fret boards, and even ebony.

In some cases the design of an electric bass guitar has relied partly on the wood for the appearance and strength, but also partly on its very exotic nature, with companies like Alembic notorious for using exotic and unusual woods in the production of its guitars. Cocobolo is used very often by them to create the bodies of the guitar – not for any inherent quality that adds to the music, but because it has a wonderful grain that can be brought out and creates a wonderful visual effect.

Electric bass guitars were often the dark and rather bland instrument hidden at the back, alongside the drum kit, but today the electric bass guitar is a work of art, both musically and visually, with much of the work the credit of the trees which grow the grain in such a way that these instruments have a strikingly visual appeal that makes them stand out, and perhaps it is this fact that has contributed so greatly to the massive interest which they command.

Victor Epand is an expert consultant for guitars, drums, keyboards, sheet music, guitar tab, and home theater audio. You can find the best marketplace at these sites for

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The Importance Of Design In The Popularity Of Bass Guitars

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