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Bass Guitar History

The history of the electric bass guitar is not very long one compared to most other musical instruments. If you take for example the violin or standard guitar, they can date back for hundreds of years. The upright bass had been around forever, but as music started to change, the need for more mobility and portability was evident. If you ever had to lift or carry around an upright bass, you can clearly see the need of the guitar like bass.

The electric bass guitar has really only come into existence in the last century. The first electric bass guitars were made in the early 1930's when musician turned inventor, Paul Tutmarc created the first guitar styled electric bass guitar. His bass guitar had frets and was made to be held and played horizontally like a regular guitar. It had a 30½-inch scale neck and was called an electronic bass fiddle. The new guitar form bass made the instrument easier to learn, play, hold and transport, and the frets enabled bassists to play more in tune.

Even still the electric bass guitar did not become more main stream until the early 1950's, when the Leo Fender and his Fender Company invented the first modern day electric bass. Fender wanted to incorporate it into an even more playable electric bass guitar. As rock and roll and other genres came to the forefront bass players needed a better electric bass. By now, some of the first electric bass players where now crossing over from the big band era of the upright bass and it took off from there. The first electric bass made by Fender was in fact called the Precision bass and included a better fret design that allowed the bass player to be more precise in his playing.

The first bass player to tour with new Fender bass was Monk Montgomery of the post war big band of Lionel Hampton in the late 50's. Soon several other bass players were following suit and by the early 60's, the electric bass guitar was planted firmly in the music world. Soon, several other guitar companies started following suit and the active pickup was later introduced along with different types of woods. Today, bass guitars come in all varieties of string numbers, styles and woods and the instrument has evolved immensely in the last 20 years. The five string bass came heavily into play in the 80's when faster music with deeper tones came into the forefront.