Why do bass guitarists avoid open strings and double bassists don't?
Some bass guitar players seem to avoid playing open strings in most situations, reportedly for the reason of the sound.
Open strings are generally not avoided when playing double bass, although the two instruments have a number of commonalities, and are sometimes even substituted one for another.
Can someone familiar with both instruments describe which construction features of each of those instruments, and how, are affecting the sound of a plucked string (or of a string otherwise played without using the bow) so that the double bass sounds quite uniform between open and stopped strings, while the bass guitar perhaps has less of the same uniformity?
I assume that complete avoidance of open strings would make an instrument harder to play, as well as waste some otherwise playable scale length. Would a zero fret construction on a bass guitar, especially a fretted bass guitar, equalize this effect away altogether?
I do realize that the difference in expressivity between open and stopped strings can never disappear completely; for example the left hand vibrato technique is quite different on a fretted versus fretless instrument, and an open string cannot do either. Thus if I need vibrato articulation, I can't use an open string on a double bass, the same as on a bass guitar. So I'm not looking for completely eradicating the difference between open and stopped strings. I'm rather trying to understand the mechanical background behind why some bass guitar players avoid open strings and why bass guitar nuts cannot do what double bass nuts apparently can do, if a difference in instrument construction is involved.
1 comment thread