Essay on Description and Analysis of Big Fat Wires

Essay on Description and Analysis of Big Fat Wires

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Although you’ll never think about them consciously, you are incessantly bombarded by their low-frequency, percussive sound! Rest assured that you continually hear them on the radio, on your favorite TV shows, and in TV commercials. You hear them when you’re in restaurants and in nightclubs; you hear them in dramatic scenes in movies and at open-air concerts; you hear them when you’re shopping at your local grocery store and clothing boutique . . . and you even hear them when you’re in an elevator ascending to your hotel room on the nineteenth floor! Are you intrigued? Well, Paul McCartney, Sting, and Victor Wooten could tell you they are nothing more than those big fat wires made of nickel or stainless steel. What are they really? They are electric bass guitar strings! And for those “big fat wires” to produce their ubiquitous, low-frequency sound, they must first be attached to their instrument—the electric bass guitar. Well, the process of attaching or “stringing” a bass guitar may sound simple, but it actually involves a very arduous and time-consuming process—if, indeed, the bassist wants to accurately produce that sound (or tone) you hear so prevalently.

The first step a bassist takes to attach strings to his bass is determining appropriate string length. This can be critical as strings can be easily ruined if they are cut too short. To begin with, one must understand that a bass guitar string has a little ball attached to one end of the string known as the ‘ball-end,’ leaving the other end looking like the end of a simple wire. The ‘wire-end’ of the string is inserted into its designated hole or groove at the bridge—a rather large steel or brass plate attached to the bottom of the body of the bass. (Some basses ...


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...ssist has strung and tuned his bass guitar—voilà! He is ready to plug it into his amplifier, turn it on, and hear the crisp sound of brand new strings. Then he can easily ‘slap’ and ‘pop’ a new funk tune, improvise an intricate jazz line, or even make his bass ‘growl’ to a heavy-rock classic!

So the next time you’re in a supermarket and you hear one of those popular tunes you listened to in the 80s; at home ‘rocking out’ to the likes of the Rolling Stones, John Coltrane, or Pink Floyd; in a movie theater enjoying a horror film; or simply listening to one your in favorite country songs on the radio at your dentist’s office, remember “those big fat wires” producing those low-frequency, percussive sounds. Better yet, remember the painstaking and time-consuming process all those bass players went through for you to enjoy your favorite song, movie, or TV program.

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