History of the Bass


The bass guitar is without question, one of the greatest achievements of mankind. It has allowed countless players to express themselves through the lowest musical frequencies, which can be felt deep in the bones. Let's take a trip back in time to see how this thing came about:

Audiovox & Co., an electronic musical instrument company, released his model under the name Model 736 Bass Fiddle, which was the first electric bass guitar in its modern form: it had four strings, fretted neck and solid body with a pickup. The design mimicked the guitar shape to make it easier to transport and hold with frets that enabled easy playing. Tutmarc's invention was ahead of its time and thus there was no market for it to bloom, leading the company to shutdown later in 1950.

Only in the 50s did the electric bass become a mass-produced instrument: incarnated as the Fender Precision Bass model patented by Leo Fender, founder of the Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Corporation, it is still a widely copied industry standard and remains famous worldwide. It was easily portable, playable and passive to high amplification without feedback. Two of the first known users of this model were Monk Montgomery in 1951 (Lionel Hampton's Orchestra) and Bill Black in 1957 (Elvis Presley).

Gibson released two electric bass models after Fender, which had a single humbucking pickup installed against the neck pocket, as opposed to the earlier Fender Precision basses which had pickups placed between the top of the bridge and the bottom of the neck. Jack Bruce, one of the founding members of the legendary rock trio Cream, used the EB-3, a Gibson model featuring an extra minihumbucker pick up next to the bridge. Paul McCartney from the Beatles helped popularize one of Walter Hofner's models, which is shaped like a violin. Danelectro (1956) also produced electric basses, with John Entwhistle (from the British rock band the Who) being one of the popular musicians to use one of their models in the 60s.

During that decade's rise of rock music, many companies started manufacturing electric basses and adding new features like extra volume knobs and tone controls for each pickup. The Mustang Bass, released by Fender in '66, was adopted by Bill Wyman (The Rolling Stones) throughout the end of the decade until the early 70s. In 1971 Music Man was founded by Leo Fender, Tom Walker and Forrest White, consequently launching the StingRay model. As the years went by and the music developed, certain models became associated with certain genres. The StingRay was used by funk musician Louis Johnson (The Brothers Johnson), while the new Rickenbacker 4001 was linked to progressive rock (Geddy Lee from Rush and Chris Squire from Yes).

Written by Ben Long

Ben Long is a composer, sound designer and lover of all guitars, new and used. His music and sounds can heard in countless video games and across every major TV network. When he's not making music, you can find Ben tinkering with technology. Find him on and say howdy!

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