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The History of Bass Guitars

Before the invention of the bass guitar, bands relied on the massive double bass, which was invented back in 15th century Europe and had an appearance similar to the cello. The earliest version of the bass guitar as we know it today was invented by Paul Tutmarc in the 1930s, shortly after George Beauchamp invented the electric guitar. Tutmarc created a version of the double bass that was made to be played horizontally and had a similar appearance to the bass guitar we are familiar with today. However, only 100 of these instruments were made in the 1930s. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, different prototypes of the bass guitar were created. In the early 1950s, Leo Fender invented the first electric bass guitar. It featured heavy strings and was tuned to a low pitch so that it could be played alongside an electric guitar. Once the electric bass guitar was born, it quickly gained popularity in multiple musical genres. One of the first people to perform using an electric bass guitar was jazz artist Monk Montgomery. In 1961, the 4001 model was released by Rickenbacker and was famously used by Paul McCartney. From the 1970s through the 1990s, the bass guitar’s design was frequently updated to fit the changing needs of musicians. It influenced the emergence of new genres and was absorbed into long-standing musical genres as well. Today, nearly every genre of music utilizes the bass guitar and it is considered an integral instrument in the music world.

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