Compared to an electric guitar, the four string bass guitar has thicker strings, a longer neck and its sound range is an octave lower.
In order from lowest note to highest, the strings are tuned, E, A, D, and G
The 4 string bass guitar is the commonest version on the market.
Their strings can be plucked with fingers, played with a pick or slapped with the thumb. The latter gives a very percussive sound often found in funk music. The variety of playing styles, make 4 string bass guitars a versatile instrument.
Points to think on
Along with your instrument, you will want to consider purchasing an instrument cable, an amplifier, extra strings (in case one breaks) and cleaning supplies to keep your instrument in top playing condition.
You will want to be sure that the bass you choose is comfortable for you to play. The feel of the instrument will differ depending on the manufacturer.
The neck of a Fender, for instance, is different to that of a Warwick.
The best choice is to go with an established brand, and often this is cheaper than buying from small custom guitar making companies.
Some of the prominent producers of bass guitars are Fender, Ibanez, Music Man and Warwick.
What to know about buying a new 4 String Bass Guitar
When selecting a new bass, you should look at what new and exciting features have been developed by the various bass guitar makers. Bass guitars are always evolving.
You will have your own personal preferences with respect to the available features, and for what makes a bass feel comfortable in your hands and pleasing to play.
Does it have the sound range you like? Can your hands move around the fingerboard easily? Many Ibanez Soundgear basses have 24 frets, while most Fender basses have only 21 frets.
Then you will want to consider the type of wood the bass is made from. Different woods give you different sounds.
Softer woods are preferred by some players for their warm mellow tone - e.g. alder, basswood and sometimes mahogany.
Hardwoods can give you a snappy, percussive tone that works well in a funk or fusion music. Examples are rosewood, rock maple, koa and ebony.
The tone of a bass guitar can also depend on the type of pickup.
Humbucking pickups give you a fatter and warmer sound, while single coil pickups tend to make the sound brighter and more energetic.
Many Fender jazz basses have single coil pickups and this contributes largely to their bright snappy sound.
If you are sold on a particular bass because you like the feel of it, but don’t like the pickup it came with, you can replace it. The cost to switch it to another type will vary depending on the type of pickup selected and the fee charged by the bass technician.
What to know about buying a pre-owned 4 String Bass Guitar
When examining a pre-owned bass you need to look for things that might become a big problem in the future.
Particularly - look for cracks in the neck or body, and listen for any crackling sounds in the input jack and the volume pots.
It would also be wise to see about getting an extended warranty.
Many people prefer to buy a pre-owned bass guitar. It is a way to get a quality bass at around 70% of the price of a new one. Though this may not be the case if the bass is a vintage model, or a collector’s item.
For other buyers, looking amongst the pre-owned instruments offered for sale is a way to purchase discontinued bass models.
The Rickenbaker 4001C model, was much loved due to its very strong snap on high end frequencies, and can only be obtained pre-owned.
Some attractive, one of a kind, models can also be found pre-owned. For example, back in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Dan Armstrong used Lucite (a transparent plastic type material) to make bass guitars.