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The electric bass is the fretted, solid body version of an upright bass.
The electric bass is one of Leo Fender’s greatest inventions.
In the early years the acoustic bass was hard to hear and had no amplification (its parts were often doubled by guitar and piano). The largest member of the string family needs a reasonably high skill level just to play it in tune. They are quite large and it took quite a number of years for pickups and amplifiers for upright bass to be developed.
In 1950 Leo Fender made the 1st “Precision Bass”. The word precision was referring the precise pitch achieved by putting large guitar type frets on the finger board.
Quickly the electric bass took off both with bass players and with guitar players who wanted to get in on the fun. Many other companies followed along with Leo’s invention. But for years all basses were referred to as Fender Basses.
Why does it get called a bass guitar?
Well, between being invented by a guitar maker, having frets like a guitar and looking like a guitar it just seems to be a name picked along the way. But the tuning, techniques, musical clef and function of the electric bass make it nothing like a guitar.
Having said that, the strings of a 4 string bass are tuned to the same notes as the lower 4 strings of a guitar. Except of course the bass is a full octave lower so many bass players are former guitar players.
There is an instrument call the bass guitar. It is quite rare no and usually not avaiable in music stores. It is six string shorter scale than a bass, longer scale than a guitar and tuned exactly like a guitar (EADGBE) but a full octave lower.
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