Bass Guitar – what it does

The bass guitar remains even to the most avid music fans, an enigma. They might have listened to thousands of tracks thousands of times and yet, they don’t know what the bass guitar is.

Common responses include but aren’t limited to:

  1. “What is that guy even doing?”
  2. “What is that longer guitar?”
  3. “Did he switch off his guitar?”
  4. “Oh… what’s that?”
  5. “No really, what do you do?”
  6. “So, is it easier?”
  7. “It looks easy”
  8. “You didn’t even play!”


Simply put, there are two sections to a band – melodic and rhythmic. The bass guitar is what links the two or falls in between the two. I read on a forum that the bass can be considered as a “variable tone bass drum”. The bass drum has only one tone but the bass guitar has various tones in the same frequency range and can thus create melody while also laying down the rhythm.

Many claim that the bass guitar is the backbone of a band but then so is any instrument that has a part to play. If a song has been designed with parts for an instrument, it means that without that instrument, the song is incomplete.

One thing that can be noted is that even tyros in music can spot the “lack” of something when the bass is turned down in a song that actually has the bass. The fact is that they are aware of the bass’s presence in a song but can’t relate that frequency to the bass guitar and the bass guitarist.

I recommend you listen to the following YouTube videos with headphones and you can hear for yourself how a bass guitar spruces up a song.


Those are the original version and a rendition of the 1960 hit song Khoya Khoya Chand. The new version has a prominent bass line that adds so much flavour to this already amazing song!



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