The three main guitar types, namely classic, acoustic and electric, can be further classified into several other instruments, and the electric bass guitar is such an example.
The 1930s saw the birth of the electric bass as replacement of the standup bass, which is nowadays generally restricted to classical and jazz music. The electric bass bears many similarities to the electric guitar; for example, both require an amplifier and a speaker during live performances, otherwise the sound would not be loud enough. The acoustic bass guitar wasn’t developed until the 1950s, but it must be played only in conjunction with pickups to amplify its otherwise low bass sound.
Strings, pickups, and amplifiers
The electric bass is mostly used in popular music as it sets the beat. Typically, an electric guitar, regardless of type, is more suitable for people with large fingers, mostly adult men, but not only, since the strings are lower and it is therefore more difficult to press down on them the wrong way. The 4 strings on an electric bass guitar are thick and low sounding, much more so than those on a regular guitar; in fact, they are an octave lower.
More often than not, the bass guitar uses magnetic pickups; these covert the string vibrations into electric signals that are then amplified and played through a speaker. Thus, it is not the guitar that produces the sound, but the amplifier, which is also the reason why electric basses use steel strings – they vibrate better. Pay attention to the location and number of pickups when deciding on a bass guitar, because these will affect the sound of your instrument. More specifically, if the pickup is near the neck joint the sound will be deeper, whereas if it is placed near the bridge, the sound will be sharper; a balance can be achieved on guitars with several pickups.
On the other hand, non-magnetic pickups can also be used, along with nylon, brass, or silicone rubber strings that yield different tones. These non-magnetic pickups can be either piezoelectric or optical, and they convert vibrations by means of a transducer or an infrared LED, respectively.
Note that an electric bass guitar is more expensive since you must purchase an amplifier as well; this also means you will always depend on that amplifier if you are to perform before an audience. You can learn more about your amplifier options by browsing http://guitarreviews.us/.
A final word regarding the playing techniques; playing an electric bass is similar to playing a regular guitar. You can begin by learning to play a regular instrument and then switch to a bass model, or you can start straight on the bass guitar. Switching from bass to regular can be somewhat more difficult, though.