#1
So Im writing a paper about technology in music and was looking for sources.

So far I have decided that Im going to focus on the electric bass and its influence on music or maybe something to do with the evolution of fretless bass.

I was wondering if anyone knew where I could find good articles about the bass and its roles, or maybe biographies on influential bassists?
#3
It is generally agreed upon that Paul Tutmarc invented the electric bass as we know it today. In 1935 or 1936, Tutmarc created and marketed what he called his "Model 736 Bass Fiddle." It was shaped rather like an upright bass, but it had a solid body and was designed to be played horizontally, like a guitar. The thing was made and sold by Tutmarc's musical instrument company Audiovox.

It also happened to be fretless, so that would probably be where you want to start your research.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#4
As you will have picked up the evolution was towards fretted basses. The original electric basses were to give upright players more volume. In the stuff I've read the Precision is so called because it introduced frets to the electric bass enabling even people like me to hit the notes with ... precision.

Most of the technological development has been in amplification so if you want to major on technology I suggest you look there. We are still using P and J basses, Rickenbacker etc pretty much still recognisable from the early days. If it's a history project then there's plenty of detail on the instruments and companies that made them.

This sounds interesting, why not stick your finished paper on here, either in the forum or better still as a collumn on UG.
#5
^Agreed. The main thing that the electric bass did for music was to enable bass players to play things in a way that could never be accomplished on an upright acoustic bass. not only did bassists now have a 100% useable fretboard (or fingerboard, for fretless), but with the shorter scale and frets, bassists could perform in different positions along the neck faster and more accurately than they could with the upright bass. As stated, it also allowed bassists to be heard as never before; even to the point of becoming a lead instrument in some cases.

The evolution of the electric bass went from experminters like Tutmarc to Leo Fender, whose Precision Bass set the standard for almost all subsequent incarnations of the instrument. Few electric basses have strayed far from Fender's foundational concept, even if they don't look much like a Fender bass.

The first major change in the electric bass after Fender was undoubtedly Alembic. Alembic was the first manufacturer to take full advantage of the available technology and outfit their basses with state-of-the-art electronics. They also used magnificent, museum-quality woods and gorgeous sculpted designs. As a result, most of the "custom made" basses today display a clear Alembic influence.

With the proliferation of synthesizers and electric keyboards, bassists found themselves competing with - and even replaced by - keyboard players in the 1980s. To overcome this, bass designers began to incorporate a low "B" string; thus creating the five-string bass as we know it. Earlier attempts at basses with more than four strings (like Fender's Bass VI) were little more than baritone guitars. The new five-strings retained the electric bass' tuning in fourths. When the five-string took off, it was inevitable that a six-string bass tuned in fourths (with a high "C" string) would soon appear. Once the six-string bass took root as a serious instrument among bassists, some makers just took the ball and ran with it. We now have eight, ten and twelve-string basses.

There have been some design types that (to me, at least) are mere diversions: the headless bass (no headstock) popularized by Steinberger being the most famous one. One of the things that separates the development of the electric bass from that of the electric guitar is the fact that while guitarists are almost universally devoted to "vintage" instruments and technologies (basically from the late 1950s), bassists have thoroughly embraced the new technologies that each decade has brought to the field.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#6
Quote by FatalGear41
It is generally agreed upon that Paul Tutmarc invented the electric bass as we know it today. In 1935 or 1936, Tutmarc created and marketed what he called his "Model 736 Bass Fiddle." It was shaped rather like an upright bass, but it had a solid body and was designed to be played horizontally, like a guitar. The thing was made and sold by Tutmarc's musical instrument company Audiovox.

It also happened to be fretless, so that would probably be where you want to start your research.


I think I just found the design for my first from-scratch build.
Quote by FatalGear41
Bassists don't hover on the forum day and night like guitarists. We've got lives to lead, music to play and whiskey to drink.

Quote by Ziphoblat
I'd rather go at my hands with a hacksaw than play lead guitar, and I'm only slightly exaggerating.
#8
Sources for bass history and technology:

Slog, John J.; Coryat, Karl [ed.] (1999). The Bass Player Book: Equipment, Technique, Styles and Artists. Backbeat Books. p. 154. ISBN 0-87930-573-8

Book review of How The Fender Bass Changed The World. Available online at: http://blogcritics.org/books/article/how-the-fender-bass-changed-the/

And here is the book: http://www.amazon.com/Fender-Bass-Changed-World-ebook/dp/B001TGXNCG

60 years of fender -

http://www.amazon.com/60-Years-Fender-Greatest-Electric/dp/0879309660/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1374163887&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=0879309660

The bass book: A complete illustrated history of bass guitars -

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=0-87930-924-5


Most of these are books, but I think these sources would serve as a decent starting point for your project. Hopefully you can find some, if not all of these at a nearby library. Good luck! Like others have suggested, I would love to read your paper when you are finished.
#9
Quote by corrda00
Thanks for some help, thats some good info.
I was wondering if anyone knew any good articles (from magazines, or acedemic papers etc) that I could use for sources for my paper?



While I don't know if they have a searchable archive on the web (I see you're in Canada), you might want to try the various electric bass designs registered with the United States Patent Office. There, you will find all of the original designs by Fender, Rickenbacker, and anyone else who came up with something new in the bass world.

http://www.uspto.gov/

Since everything held by a U.S. government agency is considered in the public domain (unless it is some classified shit), you get to reprint it without paying anyone. You just credit the image as "U.S. Government Patent and Trademark Office."
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#11
I ended up writing it about the bass' role in metal music. I talked about how the bass brought more idomatic sounds such as Jazz and Classical basslines to metal.
I also discussed that the fretted electric bass allowed it to be more virtuostic in metal (compared to the double bass which has more limitations)

Unfortunatly I handed it in already but just pm me and I can send you the paper.