4 String Bass Guitars

4-String Bass Guitars

Bass guitars with four strings in their configuration are some of the most recognizable of their kind. Having replaced the double bass instrument in pop music rhythm sections the world over since the 1960s, the electric bass functions as a necessary anchor for many musical compositions in any genre. Different manufacturing techniques and trends have shaped the uniquely low notes made by these guitars, so it’s important to understand the subtle differences and styles achieved by a variety of designs.

Do 4-string bass guitars have different body types and features?

Yes. The following is a list of different body types and features.

  • Solid - This is one of the most common body types made of one solid piece of wood, which can be alder, maple, mahogany or rosewood, depending on the desired vibration transfer. To lessen the cost, pressed wood boards or special plastic blends can be made and sold as a solid body style. Different wood types project subtly different sounds.
  • Fretless - Instead of the familiar raised bars, also known as frets, the necks of these bass guitars rely on the player’s muscle memory to strike the right note true and smooth. This can be challenging for those who are new to playing an instrument unless they have experience with other fretless string instruments like the upright bass or violin.
  • Hollow - Developed after the style of acoustic guitars, a hollow bass will have magnetic pickups that are the same as a standard solid bass, but its body will be lighter and play with a quieter and more acoustic tonality.
  • Scale lengths - The scale of a string is measured by the length from its notch between the fretboard and its headstock to where its anchored by the bridge at the end of the guitar’s body. For a 4-string electric bass, the standard measure is 34 inches. Any instrument that measures around 30 inches might be called a short scale bass, while necks with 35-inch scales are called long-scale.
What tuning scale do you use for an electric bass?

Bass players will often tune their E, A, D, and G chords so that they play the same as the standard tuning scale of double basses. This might mean their G, the highest open note, sounds like an octave and a fourth below middle C. Alternatively, some tuning options will change in order to extend the lower range of notes they can play. Other situations may allow for even more experimentation when tuning the instrument for play.

Are bass guitars with only four strings easier to play?

A bass with four strings is universally considered as one of the most traditional and well-liked bass guitar types for beginners to learn with. Identifying important purchasing factors like body type, standard or short scale tuning, and other personal preferences is a requirement for proper playing and will influence how easily someone learns to play the instrument.