Name: Electric Bass Guitar.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Guitar > Type > Bass > Electric.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.322.6
Tuning: E A D G
Description: The electric bass guitar a solid body lute, usually having four strings to six stringed neck. Sometimes additional strings are available depending on design, model and manufacture. Numerous companies from Paul Tutmarc’s Audio Vox to Gibson Guitars, Hofner, Vox have mass produced their own instruments. Electric Bass Guitars are also available fretless, popularized by musicians such as Jaco Pastorius.
History: In the 1930’s the electric bass guitar was first developed by Paul Tutmarc of Seattle Washington, USA. He developed the first modern form of this instrument that was to be played horizontally. The 1935 sales catalog for Tutmarc’s company Audiovox featured his “Model 736 Bass Fiddle”. A solid-bodied electric bass guitar with four strings, a 30 1⁄2-inch / 775 mm scale length and a single coil pickup.
Around 100 were manufactured during this period. Audiovox also sold their “Model 236” bass amplifier. Around 1947, Tutmarc’s son Bud began marketing a similar bass under the Serenader brand name, advertised in the nationally distributed L. D. Heater Music Company wholesale jobber catalogue of 1948.
Advertisement & Exposure: Since 1953 the electric bass guitar began to be mass produced by numerous different companies including Hofner, Danelectro in 1956, Rickenbacker in 1957 and Burns/Supersound in 1958.
Hofner: The distinct hofner 500/1 made its first appearance at the German trade air “Musikmesse Frankfurt” featuring the construction techniques of by Walter Höfner, a second-generation violin luthier. The design was eventually known popularly as the “Beatle Bass”, due to its endorsement and use by Beatles bassist Paul McCartney. In 1957, Rickenbacker introduced the model 4000, the first bass to feature a neck-through-body design in which the neck is part of the body wood. The Fender and Gibson versions used bolt-on and glued-on necks.
Fender: In the 1950s, Leo Fender and George Fullerton developed the first mass produced electric bass guitar. The Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Company began producing the Precision Bass or P-Bass since 1951. The bass from a simple un-contoured “slab” body design and a single coil pickup similar to that of a telecaster. Bodies of electric bass guitars feature angled and bevelled edges like a Fender Stratocaster and a split single coil pickup.