Talk:Bass guitar/Archive 2

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Continued from Archive 1

  • I hope you are aware that these are rare exceptions. I never said that every electric bass is a bass guitar.Minuteman 11:56, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • Agreed. These examples are rare, but you have not explained which electric bass is not a bass-guitar. Either way, it does not change the truth to my argument. - SB

Convergent evolution in design which results in similarities in form does not make a bass a guitar, nor a guitar a bass. If you try using this argument in scientific classification and you will not last long at all.

  • Does this mean you do not agree with Charles Darwin and Carolus Linnaeus? Anyway, I explained earlier, based on several arguments (not just form), why a bass guitar may be called a bass guitar. Similarly, the bass balalaika is also a balalaika, and the guitarron (a type of bass guitar) is also a guitar.Minuteman 11:56, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • Note I said convergent evolution. This refers to form. Citing Darwin and Linnaeus strengthens my argument! Particularly the convention of acceptance of precedence in correct classification. Your arguments are more Lamarckian in nature. Guitarron? Which guitarron? Argentinian? Mexican? Six strings, usually different tuning to a guitar, strings plucked in pairs? The guitarron's lineage may be more closely aligned to the guitar, and I would accept the guitarron as a member of the guitar family, but why are you now applying the misnomer bass-guitar to that instrument as well? It already has a name - guitarron! Nevertheless, this is irrelevant to the history and lineage of the electric bass. -SB

BTW- I use the same electronic tuner for the double bass and electric bass - same octave.

With regard to the use of bass and electrified bass instruments generally, I agree clarity becomes more important. I think this also strengthens my point. Basso profundo voices, tubas, digital pianos, synthesisers and other keyboard options have never been confused in the electric bass / bass guitar discussion. Electric uprights and stick basses are not confusing terms....and the pick-up on my double bass has never lead to anyone calling it a bass guitar, even when played resting horizontally (for effect), and it could be classified a type of electric bass IMO. Continuing to refer to an electric bass by the term its originators used becomes more important in your "trying to improve the naming accuracy" and "an encyclopedia should be clear and properly categorised" scenario.

  • I repeat: I never said that an electric double bass is a bass guitar. I'm just arguing that the electric bass guitar and the electric double bass are much too different to place under the same label. Minuteman 11:56, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • This is the nub of the difference of opinions. It does not matter if an acoustic bass (upright, horizontal, fretted or fretless) is amplified, or if an electric bass is acoustic, semi-acoustic or solid body upright or horizontal. A bassist approaches these instruments as bass instruments. A guitarist doesn't. By your own admission you think a double bass and an electric bass are much too different. A bassist understands they are sibling instruments and not much different at all. This is why I think it is guitarists who can adapt quickly to an electric fretted bass more easily than to a double bass who want to call it a guitar. However, this is not the original name nor the original purpose. - SB

I have always referred to the instrument by the label given it by the designer.

  • This argument is not very strong, since marketeers are interested in selling their products, not in writing an encyplopedia. They knew they were going to sell their bass guitars to bassists, not to guitarists. Minuteman 11:56, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • Are you suggesting that we use marketing terms made up by salesmen to re-label and re-classify musical instruments for an encyclopedia? You only have to look at the poor bass techniques of many who label themselves bass-guitarists and it is self-evident that electric basses were sold to guitarists. - SB

I know many other musicians that do likewise (especially trained bassists with experience from jazz, rock and country to orchestras). I am not spoiling for a fight here, but I honestly remain totally mystified as to why there is any support in favour of changing the name to a type of guitar when the guitar has such a different role. Popular misconception is not a good reason to get it wrong as a point of fact. By all means have the terms "bass guitar" and "bass guitarists" listed to cater for the less well-informed, that's what reference texts are for. But then re-direct the reader to the correct category for the facts. I know some musicians don't care and some may well label themselves "guitarist" like Anthony Jackson (a guitarist before moving to bass and designing a six string bass which he labelled a contra bass, and playing it seated as if it were a concert guitar), but there would be many bassists that must be mortified to have a so-called encyclopedia include them under the "bass guitarist" listing. Discounting the legacy and memory of the great jazz musician and inspirational bass player Jaco Pastorius by labelling him a type of guitarist is a tragedy. Go to the credits of other greats such as Bootsy Collins or Motown commentators talking of James Jamerson - they refer to the instrument as a bass and the musician a bass player. It is often my experience that it is non-musicians, music store sales assistants or self-taught bass players that have arrived at bass after learning guitar that push the terms "bass guitar" and "bass guitarists". Formally trained bass players who do not play guitar as a performance instrument never use these terms in my experience.

  • Bandwagon Fallacy applies to the popular adoption of the misnomer bass-guitar, not the continued use of the original term by trained bassists, professionals and scholars. The original term is a fact that anyone can verify - SB

Think of what guitarists' reaction would be to an encyclopedia changing the name of their instrument to, say, solidtop banjo. Why should bassists (or for that matter anyone on any subject) accept an encyclopedia getting it fundamentally wrong? Why shouldn't an encyclopedia use the name the foremost designer of the instrument gave it?

I prefer to call guitars "very short scale six string piccolo basses"!Dburgess 09:26, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)

- LOL - I love it! - Ozbass

... and if you made it all this way through my rant, CONGRATULATIONS! I commend you on putting up with my opinions. Please give my arguments serious consideration and think twice before labelling someone a "bass guitarist" and their electronic stringed instrument a "bass guitar" - Southern Bassist}

  • The discussion is about the name for the instrument, not for the player. Minuteman 11:56, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • Irrelevant, It does not make the argument any less true.-SB
  • In conclusion: I still agree with Vunzmstr that many (electric) basses are bass guitars, and that in these cases bass guitar is more clear and more specific. This does justice to the fact that some bass guitars are not electric basses (like the guitarron) and that some electric basses are not bass guitars (like the double bass), while being specific enough. An electric bass could mean any electrical bass instrument. Minuteman 11:56, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • Can't it just be left as a guitarron? - SB

The heart of the problem is that there are people who are masters of the instrument in question who quite happily think of it as a bass guitar and others who refer to it as electric bass. Fortunately, by the magic of Wikipedia, both will bring you through to the article. Personally, I prefer the latter term but, as long as both work, I don't think it's the issue that Southern Bassist is making it out to be. Likewise, I call myself a bassist but I'm not bothered if someone else chooses to think of me as an electric bassist, bass player, or bass guitarist (all of which redirect to bassist). Also, have a look at the bass (instrument) page, which seeks to provide an overview of the whole category.
Just as a thought, I think we can all acknowledge it as a factual statement that there has been controversy about what to call the [INSERT FAVOURITE NAME HERE]. Rather than arguing here, perhaps that subject could be the subject of a related sub-page, so that any interested parties can review the different angles of the debate and make up their own minds without detracting from the main article? Basswulf 15:27, 10 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I think the first few paragraphs acknowledge that there are different opinions on what to call the "instrument with same register as a double bass but also having features in common with the guitar". Maybe there should be a separate section on nomenclature; personally I don't think so, and I'm certainly not going to write it. I don't think that the name of the thing is more important than the thing itself.
I also think that Southern Bassist argues well and would like to suggest that he log on and edit the page himself!Paul Tracy 22:12, 10 Jun 2005 (UTC)

What Leo Fender Called It

Persons of the "electric bass, DAMMIT" school might want to have a look at Leo's original patents for the Precision! The first uses the word "guitar"; "bass" is completely absent from the text. The second uses the dreaded term "bass guitar". They can be viewed in a number of places on the web, but there are nice copies at (links are toward the bottom of the page). -Reid K, player of the "four-stringed fretted electric bass guitar, omit words at your own peril"

Drop Heads And Hipshots

Is a drop head the same thing as a hipshot detuner? It sounds like it might be. Andrewa 00:39, 27 Feb 2004 (UTC)

It sounds like exactly the same thing. I can see that it might be worth mentioning but I'm going to have a go at improving the description... there are a lot more options to 'drop tuners' than just going down a tone (ask Michael "doubledetunersonallfourstrings" Manring!) Basswulf 10:37, 27 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Yep... detuning options were already on the list. Therefore, I've dropped the 'drop head' section. Basswulf 10:39, 27 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Hmmm... are you sure you haven't deleted content in doing this? "Hipshot" seems to be a brand of aftermarket machine head, and they may even have the market in these devices sewn up in the USA, but that's certainly not true in Australia. I'll see how your rewrite goes, but I think you should mention the term "drop head" somewhere as it's an important part of bass playing, internationally at least. Andrewa 21:20, 27 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Ran out of patience on this, so I've had another go. The tuning you deleted is far more common than any of the other non-standard four string tunings and deserves its own line. Suggest a separate article or at least a section on detuners. Andrewa 21:27, 28 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I think you've got a point about "Hipshot" being a brand name but I can't say I've heard the term "drop head" before. I'm based in the UK (not the US) but participate in several international discussion areas such as the Churchbass mailing list or Talkbass forum, both of which have a good sized contingent of antipodeans.
My impression of bass tuning is that once you get outside of (B)EADG(C) you reach territory where there is no standard. I would suggest a single bullet point for detuners, perhaps giving an example such as dropping an E string down to D and would definitely be in favour of a new page to explore the topic in more detail.
I'll wait a little while before making any changes to see your response. It would be good to co-operate on this to provide a breadth of information without making the main page too confusing. Basswulf 11:21, 1 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Your last edit is probably pretty good. I can't find any local consensus on what else to call a detuner. "Drop head" and "drop key" both seem to be used, but are then denied by the very people who use them (including my original source!). So I'm now happy to stick with "detuner".

On the other hand, the D-E A D G tuning does seem to have some supporters... everyone I speak to says it's the original, normal and most common use of a detuner, which was my earlier impression too.

And I may be wrong about Hipshot not having the market sewn up here, they certainly have enormous respect among serious players, while there are unsourceable but persistent reports of problems with their rivals.

I apologise for being twitchy with you before. I'm very much a part-time bass player, drums is my normal seat. But I've had some hilarious comments from internet contacts (Wikipedians included) who play bass and seem to think this qualifies them to tell everyone else how to play. See the ABG page's history and scroll down to the comment that my Eston fretless "clearly has frets", I've been playing it for 20 years and I think I'd have noticed by now if it did. And some equally comical ones with Americans who think this qualifies them to tell everyone else how to live, see Talk:Gold album and compare to what the article now says.

So far as checking my sources against the Internet goes (WWW, email groups or usenet), this is another sore point. I'm thinking of writing a meta article on the tendency to make Google in particular and the WWW in general our sole primary source, eg to quote lack of Google hits as a reason for deletion on VfD. Have a look at [1] and scroll down to read "rm unknown academic" as justification for removing Henry Felsen for the second time in a few minutes, apparently for no reason other than this million-selling author only got 5 Google hits. This was also listed on VfD at the time, by the same guy, who remains completely unapologetic. Contributors to the Internet remain a small and unrepresentative section of the population (both generally and of bass players). In general, they are also a well-educated lot compared to the general population, but this isn't always the case! I see a danger if Wikipedia simply distills what's already on the Web rather than checking other sources, and in that it's a lot more work to check other sources, I even think we should defer a little to people who do. Big topic. Andrewa 21:37, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I worked in a VIth Form College (16-19 year olds) from 1996-1999 and despaired at how many students seemed to think 'research this topic' meant 'copy and paste from MS Encarta', so I fully agree with what you're saying. I'm sure if I went back there now, Google would be the present synonym for 'research'! I think an article discussing this would be a good idea - maybe as an addition to the help pages (although I haven't looked there for a while now)? Basswulf 12:02, 16 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I've deleted the reference to washtub bass. I don't think it belongs here but I have put a reference in on the bass instruments page, which I think is more appropriate. Basswulf 11:29, 24 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Reference to Atlansia removed - someone tried putting a link to their website - - but failed to use the correct syntax.

I think the list of manufacturers could do with a bit of a workover. If it's just going to be an attempt to build a comprehensive list of bass builders, then that should probably be moved to a separate page. Instead, I think this page should only contain companies who've made a significant contribution, in the same way as we have a list of a few bassists (and comments summarising their contribution) and a link to the fuller list. Bass manufacturers anyone? Basswulf 09:21, 8 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Precision basses vs Jazz basses

Basses are classed as precision basses or jazz basses. What's the difference between the two types? I know it has something to do with the pickups, but I'm not totally certain what is what. If any of you know this, please consider adding it to the article! Lemmus 21:59, 12 Jul 2004 (UTC)

P and J refer to pickup configurations based on the Fender Precision and Fender Jazz respectively. However, there are also plenty of other arrangements, some of which have become well established. I did think about adding to the bass page but I think it might clutter the article. Perhaps it belongs on the pickup page; I know that there are 'classic' pickup configurations for both guitar and bass which are named after the instruments on which they became popular. Basswulf 10:43, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)


Precision basses vs Jazz basses

More than just pick-ups it's the neck as well (width and radius). They have a very different feel. The Fender Jazz Bass line has variations in it's electronic configurations.

Other luthiers who design and produce basses may have an objection to "Basses are classed as precision basses or jazz basses." There are many basses out there that do not conform to either of these two concepts. (Aussie bassist 28 Nov 2004)

C.F. Martin bass guitar

Moved this discussion to CF Martin and Company--Light current 03:16, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

1967 design -> 1957?


In 1957, the pickup was changed to a single "split pickup" (staggered) design. The pickguard also underwent a radical change, as did the headstock.
This 1967 design has remained as the standard electric bass, and is still widely available. Another industry standard, the similar, but more highly-engineered Fender Jazz Bass, was introduced in 1960.

Shouldn't it be "1957 design"? Lawrence Lavigne 10:22, Jan 19, 2005 (UTC)


I have added a history section and replaced what was deleted two weeks ago. Ozbass


I've deleted the part about the mudvayne bassist on the influential bassists section. It lacked basic grammar and spelling and was obviously just written by an over-zelous mudvayne fan.

Separate list for influential bassists?

I've added a link to the bassist page. Do you think we should do away with the list of bassists on this page and instead enhance the information on the bassist page (probably splitting the list on that page into three - bass guitar, double bass and those who play both)? That's what I'm leaning towards, although I'd like to hear some other opinions.

Basswulf 11:37 Apr 16, 2003 (UTC)

You're completely right, the list is becoming an unruly 'list of everyone who's ever played electric bass' rather than a list of importantly notable/innovating bassists who should probably be located in an article about the history of the instrument. I'd be into chopping this down to, say, a carefully-selected five to eight musicians with very brief descriptions if you'd be interested porting unduplicated information from here to bassist (and subsequently doing whatever with that page). What do you think? --Drasil 06:33, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I agree with Basswulf. As for Drasils proposal: good idea too but i think everyone would anyway start adding their 'influential bassists' anyway. I think the article is fine with just the bassists mentioned throughout the text (Larry Graham at the piece about slapping etc.) Although I think that Jaco Pastorius should be mentioned in the piece about fretless (as much as i like Pino Palladino), because he really pioneered the fretless electric bass before Pino Palladino did. --Vunzmstr 09:46, 25 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Isn't it about time to move the 'influential bassists' list to a separate page? If it continues like this, this list is pretty soon going to include every living bass player on earth. I don't think it contributes anything to the article anymore. Maybe i should be 'bold' about this, but since so many people contributed to that section of the article i thought it wise to investigate the general feelings about this over here first... --Vunzmstr 10:10, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Right, check out the above discussion about this that basswulf and I are having about this. (You might want to have a look at bassist, too.) --Drasil
Done. I think this page has plenty of content talking about the history of the bass guitar, with reference to how particular players have influenced that development. I've merged the list of influential players with the one on the Bassist page. Who's been influential on the instrument is inevitably a strongly POV discussion, which is why I think the list was getting so long and unwieldy. A list of people who are bassists, perhaps with a brief mention of their most famous bands (but not all of them!), is much more factual - Wikipedia is here to provide information, not free advertising or space for fanboys to talk up their heroes! Basswulf 11:57, 25 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Right! --Vunzmstr 13:42, 25 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Bassist is looking good so far. It's sort of unwieldy, but so are all the other 'list of' articles we've got floating about the wikiverse. I'm really glad you thought to put it in alphabetical order. (And I agree that contextual reference of the bassists within this article is the way to go.) --Drasil 04:52, 26 Apr 2005 (UTC)

What about the list of 'influential manufacturers'? I favour the same treatment as the 'influential players' list. Firstly I am not sure about what an influential manufacturer is exactly, and secondly I think it is not a list of 'influential manufacturers' but of manufacturers in general. The article could very well just do with a reference to a list of manufacturers and with contextual reference to the most significant manufacturers. --Vunzmstr 12:53, 26 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Other bassists that have moved the bass forward in their participation and role in music include Les Claypool and Marcus Miller, who have in turn inspired a promising stable of talented bassists who are even able to sing and play bass simultaneously.

Is it just me, or does that sound like the punchline to a "Bassists are so stupid..." joke? Guitarists and pianists are often seen singing while playing their instruments. Is it really so remarkable that bassists can do the same thing that it needs to be worded like that?

About placing "DADG tuning" into "Bass guitar"

Two things, and sorry for my english.

First, I agree totally with the merging but there should be a biger section in the "tuning systems" article about both typical non typical tunings regarding these very popular instruments, as bass and guitar and so (I could recomend to whoever writes it that mention that this kind of instruments can be actually tuned as differently as your imagination take you, is just that certain tunings have been very popular. Ovbiouslly becuse they suit the tone of the instruments, etcétera).

Second, is this the righ way to answer to the disscusion tag asking about the placement of the articles?

Hope I'm useful.