Home > Terms > English (EN) > Bass guitar

Bass guitar

Bass guitar – noun

An electrically amplified musical instrument having four or more heavy strings, held like a guitar and usually played by plucking or striking the strings with the hand.

Notes: Also called electric bass or simply bass. Will usually come in two different types: jazz bass or precision bass.

With its heavier and longer body, its thicker strings, and low octave, the bass can deliver some very deep sounds perfect for any grooving session. The bass guitar is known for being the background melody of any song but in dance music such as disco, R&B and funk, the bass becomes a main instrument. Many disco bands have their entire sound rooted in their bass lines. These are often characterized by repetitive chords, strong accents on beats of the measures, and playing with octaves in a highly rhythmic fashion. The addictive bass lines were arguably what saved disco in the 70’s, a xenophobic decade for the USA, when it was stigmatized by radio stations who would rather play pop and rock. While pop was popular with radio stations and rock was popular thanks to concerts, disco was only played at nightclubs which were most often frequented by people of colour and LGBT people. The movie Saturday Night Live and artists such as Donna Summer cemented disco as a music genre that would last a long time. Many disco bass lines have inspired new artists such as Bruno Mars or Daft Punk, and even music genres. House music (electronic dance music with a very fast tempo) and hip-hop, for example, both featured heavy samples of disco bass lines in their first worldwide hits, and to this day still rely greatly on bass samples.

Some important disco bass players include Bootsy Collins (P-Funk), Verdine White (Earth, Wind & Fire), and Bernard Edwards (Chic).

"bass guitar." American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. 2011. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company 29 Oct. 2020 https://www.thefreedictionary.com/bass+guitar (consulted 10/29/20)

https://www.shsu.edu/~lis_fwh/book/hybrid_children_of_rock/Disco2.htm (Consulted 10/29/20)

Music > Music instruments

Written for ‘’Terminologie et mondialisation’’ class given at Concordia University.

  • Part of Speech: noun
  • Synonym(s):
  • Blossary:
  • Industry/Domain: Music
  • Category: Music instruments
  • Company:
  • Product:
  • Acronym-Abbreviation:
Collect to Blossary

Member comments

You have to log in to post to discussions.

Terms in the News

Billy Morgan

Sports; Snowboarding

The British snowboarder Billy Morgan has landed the sport’s first ever 1800 quadruple cork. The rider, who represented Great Britain in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, was in Livigno, Italy, when he achieved the man-oeuvre. It involves flipping four times, while body also spins with five complete rotations on a sideways or downward-facing axis. The trick ...

Marzieh Afkham

Broadcasting & receiving; News

Marzieh Afkham, who is the country’s first foreign ministry spokeswoman, will head a mission in east Asia, the state news agency reported. It is not clear to which country she will be posted as her appointment has yet to be announced officially. Afkham will only be the second female ambassador Iran has had. Under the last shah’s rule, Mehrangiz Dolatshahi, a ...

Weekly Packet

Language; Online services; Slang; Internet

Weekly Packet or "Paquete Semanal" as it is known in Cuba is a term used by Cubans to describe the information that is gathered from the internet outside of Cuba and saved onto hard drives to be transported into Cuba itself. Weekly Packets are then sold to Cuban's without internet access, allowing them to obtain information just days - and sometimes hours - after it ...

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)

Banking; Investment banking

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is an international financial institution established to address the need in Asia for infrastructure development. According to the Asian Development Bank, Asia needs $800 billion each year for roads, ports, power plants or other infrastructure projects before 2020. Originally proposed by China in 2013, a signing ...


Online services; Internet

Spartan is the codename given to the new Microsoft Windows 10 browser that will replace Microsoft Windows Internet Explorer. The new browser will be built from the ground up and disregard any code from the IE platform. It has a new rendering engine that is built to be compatible with how the web is written today. The name Spartan is named after the ...

Featured Terms

  • 0


  • 95


  • 10


Industry/Domain: Religion Category: Christianity

fallen angel

A fallen angel is a wicked or rebellious angel that has been cast out of heaven. The term "fallen angel" does not appear in the ...


Featured blossaries


Category: Objects   1 5 Terms

GE Lighting Blossary

Category: Technology   3 14 Terms