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What is a Big Bass Guitar Called

A big bass guitar is commonly referred to as a contrabass or standup bass. These instruments provide deep and resonant low-end frequencies essential in jazz, orchestras, and various music genres.

The contrabass guitar, with its larger body and longer neck, projects powerful tones that underpin the harmonic structure of a musical arrangement. Unlike the standard electric bass guitar, which players typically use while seated or with a strap, musicians play the contrabass upright, often supporting it on a spike or using a dedicated stand.

This instrument demands a unique playing technique, blending plucking and bowing to elicit a rich tapestry of sounds. Its significance in ensemble settings cannot be overstated, as it anchors rhythmic elements and supports melodic lines, making it indispensable in settings ranging from symphony orchestras to bluegrass bands.

What is a Big Bass Guitar Called


Introduction To Big Bass Guitars

An introduction to big bass guitars invites musicians and enthusiasts alike into the profound world of low-end harmonies created by these sizable string instruments. The big bass guitar, an evolution of its more compact counterparts, carries a majesty that deeply resonates in the chest of its listeners. Crafted for power, depth, and a rich, enveloping sound, these instruments play a crucial role in the foundation of modern music genres. From jazz to metal, the sonorous tones of big bass guitars provide the bedrock for musical compositions.

Defining The Big Bass Guitar

The term big bass guitar generally refers to instruments that possess larger bodies, longer necks, or extended ranges compared to standard bass guitars. While the typical bass guitar has four strings, big bass guitars often feature five, six, or even more strings, granting musicians an expanded sonic palette. These instruments not only cover the traditional bass spectrum but also extend into lower or higher registers, offering unprecedented versatility.

Historical Evolution Of Bass Guitar Sizes

Delving into the storied past, the evolution of bass guitar sizes mirrors the evolution of music itself. Initially mirrored after the double bass, early electric basses were designed to be more portable and suitable for amplified band settings. As musicians sought greater range and sonic capabilities, manufacturers responded by creating bigger models, with improved electronic components, capable of generating robust low-end frequencies that can be felt as much as heard.

Common Terminologies In Bass Guitar Nomenclature

  • Extended-Range Basses: Referring to bass guitars with more than four strings, providing additional lower or higher notes.
  • Multi-Scale/Fanned-Fret Basses: Instruments with varying scale lengths across strings to optimize tension and tonality.
  • Acoustic Bass Guitar (ABG): An acoustic version of the big bass guitar, featuring a larger body for natural sound amplification.
  • Contrabass Guitar: Another term for oversized bass guitars, often tuned one octave below standard bass.
What is a Big Bass Guitar Called


Types Of Big Bass Guitars

Exploring the vast world of bass guitars, musicians often encounter larger variants that push the boundaries of traditional sounds and designs. These big bass guitars cater to specific musical needs, offering a broader range of notes, unique acoustic properties, and innovative playability. Let’s dive into the types of big bass guitars, each bringing its own flavor to the musical table.

Extended-Range Bass Guitars

Extended-range Bass Guitars

In the realm of enhanced musical invention, extended-range bass guitars stand out with their additional strings. Unlike the standard four-stringed bass, these instruments may boast five, six, or even more strings, greatly expanding the musician’s sonic palette. These extra strings usually extend the instrument’s range down with lower pitches or up with higher ones, making them a staple for genres that demand a wide sonic breadth.

  • 5-String Bass Guitars: Typically add a low B-string.
  • 6-String Bass Guitars: Generally include both a low B and a high C-string.
  • 7-String and Above: These basses offer even more range and are often custom-built.
Upright Double Basses

Upright Double Basses

The upright double bass, also known as the contrabass or standup bass, projects an intense depth of sound that resonates through its large hollow body. Originating from the violin family, the upright bass boasts a powerful acoustic presence that is irreplaceable in classical ensembles and jazz settings. Players grapple with its towering form either with a bow or through the time-honored technique of pizzicato.

Bass Guitar Synthesizers and Extended Bodies

Bass Guitar Synthesizers And Extended Bodies

For those craving innovation and electronic experimentation, bass guitar synthesizers merge the nuanced control of synth technology with the tactile familiarity of the bass guitar. These instruments can mimic the sounds of various basses or provision entirely new tones through synthesis. Meanwhile, extended body bass guitars are tailored with larger than standard bodies, offering enriched resonance, increased sustain, and a distinguished aesthetic appeal. They are often custom-ordered to meet the unique specifications of adventurous bassists.

Characteristics And Usage

The big bass guitar, often referred to as a contrabass or upright bass, stands out in the musical world with its larger body and deep, resonant sound. As an instrument that’s both visually and sonically imposing, it holds a special place among bass instruments. Musicians value this variant for its ability to anchor the rhythm and harmony in various musical ensembles, adding both warmth and depth to the sound. In this section, we’ll explore their distinct physical characteristics, how they shape musical tones, and the impact they have in different musical styles, as well as the icons who have wielded these giants among guitars.

Physical Attributes of Big Bass Guitars

Physical Attributes Of Big Bass Guitars

Big bass guitars are distinctive in their design and construction:

  • Size: Typically standing around six feet tall, these instruments demand presence in space and player commitment.
  • Strings: They usually sport four strings, though five and six-string versions exist for extended range.
  • Body: The large hollow body, which significantly contributes to their acoustic quality, makes for a natural amplifier of the strings’ vibrations.
  • Fretless: Most big bass guitars are fretless, which provides the smooth glissando effect that’s popular in jazz and blues.
Tonal Properties and Musical Genres

Tonal Properties And Musical Genres

The tonal properties of big bass guitars contribute to various musical genres:

  1. Depth of Sound: The large body provides deep and rich tones that build the foundation of a musical piece.
  2. Acoustic Versatility: Whether plucked or bowed, the instrument is versatile, fitting into genres like jazz, classical, bluegrass, and folk.
  3. Resonance: The natural resonance of the big bass guitar fills the room, perfect for orchestral settings and intimate jazz clubs alike.
Famous Musicians and Iconic Big Bass Guitars

Famous Musicians And Iconic Big Bass Guitars

Musician Big Bass Guitar Genre
Charles Mingus 1927 Reghin bass Jazz
Paul Chambers Double Bass Jazz
Edgar Meyer Customized Double Bass Classical, Bluegrass

These musicians have elevated the big bass guitar to new heights, showcasing their prowess and solidifying the instrument’s place in music history.

What is a Big Bass Guitar Called


Choosing And Maintaining A Big Bass Guitar

Welcome to the versatile world of the big bass guitar, commonly referred to as the electric upright bass, double bass, or contrabass. This magnificent string instrument adds depth and emotion to music, indispensable in jazz, classical, and rockabilly genres. Aspiring and experienced musicians alike often seek information on choosing and maintaining a big bass guitar. This guide will walk you through the essential considerations and care strategies to ensure your big bass guitar resonates with excellence for years to come.

Factors To Consider When Choosing A Big Bass Guitar

Selecting the perfect big bass guitar involves multiple aspects. Consider each of these carefully:

  • Size and Scale: The instrument’s size should match your height and reach for comfortable playing.
  • Acoustic vs Electric: Decide based on the genre of music and the venues where you perform.
  • String Type: Opt between steel, nylon, or gut, each offering distinct sound textures.
  • Price Range: Establish your budget, but invest as much as you can for a quality instrument.
  • Brand and Craftsmanship: Research reputable brands known for durability and sound quality.

Always test various instruments to find the one that feels right and mimics your sonic preference.

Maintenance Tips For Big Bass Guitars

Proper maintenance ensures longevity and optimal sound. Here are pivotal tips:

  1. Regular Cleaning: Wipe down your bass after each use to prevent dust and grime buildup.
  2. Humidity Control: Store in a humidity-controlled environment to prevent wood warping.
  3. String Care: Change strings as needed and apply appropriate lubricants to extend their life.
  4. Check the Bridge: Regularly insure the bridge is upright and centered for best sound quality.
  5. Professional Setup: Have your instrument professionally set up at least once a year.

Learning Resources And Communities For Bassists

Exploring learning resources and joining communities can immensely boost your skills:

Resources Description
Bass Guitar Forums Platforms where bassists share insights, tips, and experiences.
Online Tutorials Video and text lessons catering to different skill levels.
Local Music Schools Classes and workshops provide hands-on learning opportunities.
Books and Magazines In-depth reading materials for theoretical and practical knowledge.

Engage with local jam sessions or online communities to exchange knowledge and foster growth.

Frequently Asked Questions Of What Is A Big Bass Guitar Called

What Is The Big Bass Instrument Called?

The large bass instrument commonly seen in orchestras is called the double bass. It’s also known as the upright bass, contrabass, or bass.

What Are The Huge Guitars Called?

Huge guitars are commonly referred to as acoustic bass guitars or double basses, depending on their design and playing technique.

What Are The 2 Types Of Bass Guitars?

There are two main types of bass guitars: the electric bass and the acoustic bass. The electric bass requires amplification, while the acoustic bass can be played acoustically.

What Are The Different Sizes Of Basses?

Basses come in several sizes: 1/16, 1/10, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and full-size 4/4. The 3/4 size is the most common for adults.


Navigating the world of bass guitars reveals a host of interesting variations. The most impressive among them is the ‘Big Bass Guitar,’ often referred to as a contrabass or upright bass. Whether you’re an aspiring musician or an avid listener, understanding this instrument’s unique qualities enriches your musical experience.

Remember, the deeper the bass, the richer the groove. So, let’s celebrate the giant of rhythm that brings depth to any composition—the big bass guitar.

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