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Posted by Jeff on February 10, 2000 at 01:41:59:
In Reply to: 5 string, 6 string, 7 string, 8 string, 9 string etc. etc. Bass? OH REALLY? posted by Steve DePra on January 20, 2000 at 14:29:17:
: Back in the 50's we somehow allowed this new four string guitar to be called a bass. OK we really didn't know any better nor did we care. Most upright players (I do not play upright)did not really involve themselves with this new axe for they were busy honing their craft. Then one day some of them realized there was money and fame possibilities and converted. So we called them electric bass players.Fine! Where and when do we draw the line as to how many times we can rape the original double bass and still call it a bass? We add string after string some high, some low, and sometimes double up on them.What is the limit? Why don't we just strap on a harp over our shoulder, hold it sideways and call ourselves a bass player. After all there are plenty of low pitched strings to choose from.It's because we would loose the feel and head space of a bassist. Now don't get me wrong, I admire and respect all five and six and seven and even eight string instrumentalists,same as I respect all musicians, but I honestly can't call them all "bassists".I sometimes wonder if my playing a four string fender even qualifies me as a "bassist" I just like the way it sounds and makes me feel.I like being in charge of the lower register. I hope I did not offend anyone. Steve DePra
Maybe you don't know this, but back in the 1700's the 3 string double bass was a more common orchestral instrument than the 4 string. Also, there were 5 and 6 string versions available as well, though I'm guessing they didn't catch on because of the increased neck width and cost to make an instrument such as this.
I think no matter how many strings a bass has, if it is fulfilling it's function as the foundation of an ensemble then why assign it a different name? The strings really aren't important it's how the instrument is used (no pun intended:)
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