Your Guide to Buying Parts to Fit a Bass Guitar

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Your Guide to Buying Parts to Fit a Bass Guitar


A bass guitar is an electric string instrument most often used to produce the rhythm or beat of a piece of music. Popular across many music genres, bass guitars are produced in many styles to create a variety of different sounds. Parts to fit a bass guitar can replace damaged parts, improve, or alter the sound or appearance of the guitar, or used to build a custom instrument. The materials, quality and condition of the parts will affect the performance of a bass guitar. Investigate brands, research complementary configurations and browse individual items to identify bass guitar parts that will enhance the instrument.

About Bass Guitar Parts


As an electric musical instrument, a bass guitar is composed of electrical components, such as wiring and pickups, and non-electrical components, including the neck and body. The overall configuration of all the parts on a bass guitar will contribute to the tone and sound quality of the instrument, and its visual appeal. Certain design elements may also affect how comfortable the guitar is to play.
A bass guitar can sustain damage through years of repeated use, or as the result of an accident. Replacing broken parts can be more cost effective than replacing the instrument. Similarly, the sound can be altered by replacing the strings or pickups rather than purchasing another guitar. A range of materials, colours, and styles of guitar parts further enables alteration of the visual attributes of a bass guitar. Customising a bass guitar by fitting new parts enables greater flexibility of the instrument, and offers bass players another creative avenue.

Choosing Bass Guitar Parts


There are some configurations of parts that are more common than others. For example, jazz basses, designed for use in jazz music but popular across many genres, traditionally have a different neck size or shape to other bass guitars, with pickup configurations designed to produce brighter tones, and body shapes that identify the instrument as a jazz guitar. While it is not necessary to rigidly conform to traditional designs, use of some bass guitar parts will be restricted by their fit and features. It is, therefore, important to discover the details of each item to ascertain its suitability before making a purchase.

Bass Guitar Body


As the largest single component of a bass guitar, the body is an essential consideration; many smaller parts fit into existing recesses within the body, and so the body type will affect which other parts can be used. Other considerations include the material, shape, and brand of the body.

Material

The vast majority of electric bass guitars are solid body instruments made of wood. The most common wood used is alder. Wooden bodies are often easier to customise than rarer alternatives. Less usual materials include graphite and steel. A variety of finishes are also available, the most common being lacquer.

Shape

Branded bass guitars body shapes corresponds to a particular sound so that buyers know what to expect from a particular style of guitar. The shape of a body, particularly its existing recesses and cavities, will determine which parts can be fitted to it. The shape will also contribute largely to the aesthetics of the bass guitar.

Brand

A renowned brand is likely to produce a high-quality guitar body. Certain body shapes are produced only by respective brands, and branded bodies are often designed so they will only hold components of the same brand. For example, a Fender bass guitar body may require Fender brand pickups to be fitted.


Bass Guitar Neck

While a small number of bass guitar models have a 'neck through body' design, incorporating these two elements into one item, the majority of electric bass guitars have removable necks. The following table explores some of the considerations to be made when selecting a bass guitar neck.

Size

The accepted standard length for a bass guitar neck is 34 inches, although short scale 30 inch necks are also common, with longer necks being more unusual. Longer necks provide higher string tension.

Material

The most common wood used for bass guitar necks is maple, although a variety of other woods, as well as materials such as graphite composites, are available. The material used will affect the tone and appearance of the guitar.

Frets

A fretted bass features frets that divide the fingerboard into semitones, enabling a player to more easily select the desired note. Fretless bass guitars require the string to be pressed directly onto the fingerboard, producing a different sound when playing. Fretless basses also enable audio effects such as glissando and vibrato. A variety of fingerboard materials, most commonly rosewood, are available.


Bolt-on necks come in different shapes and sizes, so it is important to check that the desired neck will correctly adhere to the existing body, or vice versa.

Strings

 

A bass guitar produces sound when strings are plucked, strummed, or slapped by fingers or a plectrum. Traditionally, a bass guitar features four strings, tuned to the notes E, A, D, and G, although alternative tunings can offer a more extended range. Five-string basses are relatively common, with higher number of strings being much less usual. Tuning devices can be purchased to assist a player in tuning their instrument.
A variety of metal strings offers bass guitarists a range of tonal possibilities. For example, Roundwound strings offer a longer sustain and brighter timbre, whereas flatwound strings produce smoother sounds. Covered strings, such as plastic-coated or tapewound strings, are also available.

Machine Heads

 

Tuning, gear, or machine heads are fixed to the headstock end of a guitar neck, and connect the strings at this end of the instrument. Turning the gears causes the string to tighten or slacken, and so strings are tuned by adjusting the tension. As bass guitars have very high tension, heavy-duty machine heads are used, larger than those featured on other electric guitars, hence exposed gears are much more common.

Pickups

 

Another essential component in enabling sound to be produced from a bass guitar, the pickups convert string vibrations into electrical currents, which are then played through a speaker via an amplifier. A variety of pickup types and placement locations offer several different sound options.

Type

The majority of pickups used in modern bass guitars are magnetic, including dual and single coil pickups. Humbuckers are pickups designed to reduce the hum produced by classic single-coil pickups. Piezoelectric pickups are non-magnetic, producing a very different sound.

Brand

Guitar manufacturers and other music companies produce pickups, creating a range of quality, tone, shape, and style to suit every pickup requirement. Brands renowned for high quality are likely to produce more expensive components. Research pickup brands to identify a suitable item.

Position

Pickups can be placed at various locations on a guitar, including bridge, neck, and middle. Sound produced will vary depending on which pickup is selected. Ensure the correct pickup is purchased for each position.

Other Bass Guitar Parts


Produced in a range of materials and colours, bass guitar control knobs provide a simple and cost effective way to alter appearance or increase comfort.
A scratch plate, also known as a pick guard, protects the body of the guitar from damage during play. A wide range of colours and shapes offers visual distinction to the guitar. Ensure the selected scratch plate is a suitable match for the bass guitar body and pickup configuration.
Securing the strings in place, bass guitar bridges and saddles are available in a variety of materials, brands and designs. Research individual items to select an appropriate part.

Fitting Bass Guitar Parts


The level of difficulty of customising a bass guitar will depend on which part is being fitted. When fitting a part to a bass guitar, always follow manufacturer instructions. Ensure the guitar is not connected to any power supply while parts are added or removed. Be aware that altering an instrument may void any existing warranty. If any concerns or questions arise, contact the seller or take the instrument to be serviced by a professional.

Tools


When fitting parts to a bass guitar, use the right tools. A selection of small screwdrivers will be useful to add and remove parts, whereas a variety of files can be used to prepare the body for new pickups to be fitted.

Find Bass Guitar Parts on eBay


To purchase bass guitar parts, head to the eBay homepage. Open the All Categories tab and clicking on the link for Musical Instruments, followed by Guitars. From this page, click on Accessories, then Parts to fit Bass Guitar. Search all listed items, or refine the search by selecting options presented on the left of the page. To locate specific parts, enter words into the eBay search bar. For example, to buy a Fender scratch plate, type 'Fender bass guitar scratch plate' into the search field.

Conclusion


A bass guitar is composed of numerous parts, each of which will either affect the tone and quality of the sound produced by the instrument, or contribute to its aesthetic elements, or both. The brand, material, and shape of each part will determine its suitability. Replacing a bass guitar part is a less costly alternative to replacing the whole instrument. When fitting a bass guitar part, follow manufacturer instructions and use the correct tools. Research individual items and review sellers to be confident in making a good purchase.

 
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