Welcome to Rattle & Drum

Bass Guitars

The bass guitar is the glue that holds a band together, forming a crucial link between the rhythm of the drummer and the melody of the lead instruments. The real joy of bass guitar is playing with others and experiencing the magic that happens when different instruments join together to create music, and the great thing is that you can be doing this in a very short space of time.

Bass is one of the simplest instruments to get started on; once you’ve learnt the basics of how to fret a note and pluck a string you can be having fun playing a few root notes while your mate strums some chords in just a few days. Of course, if you want the challenge of taking bass guitar to the highest level it is as hard and technical as any instrument; most of us end up settling somewhere in between!

Here at Rattle & Drum we offer bass guitars to suit all budgets and levels of experience. The biggest brand in the world of bass is undoubtedly Fender, the first company to mass-manufacture an electric bass way back in the 50s. They got it pretty much spot-on the first time and their instruments are now completely synonymous with bass. You will have seen and heard a Fender bass more times than you could count, and they are the go-to choice for many thousands of players to this day.

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There are two main flavours of Fender bass, the Precision and the Jazz (or P-bass and J-bass). In general the P-bass is a warm sounding bass all about the low end, a single pickup and basic tone control is all you get but when it’s the most recognizable bass sound of all time why would you want to mess with it?! The Jazz has a bit more bite in the mid-range so can cut through a mix a bit more forcefully and its two pickup configuration provides a greater variety of tones than the P. Other considerations are the different body-shapes, and the different necks. A standard P-bass neck is on the chunkier end of the scale where a Jazz is usually at the slimmer end.

It should be said there are so many different configurations now that outside these general rules you can find P-basses with Jazz pickups and slim necks, Jazz basses with P-bass pickups and so on! Fender also produce other bass models such as the Jaguar (cool offset body usually with P & J pickups) or the Mustang (small body and shorter scale) which are interesting alternatives to the big two.

At the entry to mid-range level Fender brand their instruments as Squier. Squier basses start at around £200 through to about £400. The Fender range then begins with the new Player series, moving through the Classic series evoking certain eras, and the Artist series replicating guitars played by musical heroes. The pinnacle of Fender’s range are the American models, Professional, Original and Elite. We stock the full breadth of Fender Basses in-store and online at Rattle & Drum, from entry-level to top-end, and would be happy to talk through your requirements with you to ensure you choose the right bass for your needs.

While we deal with many other manufacturers our other key bass brand is Ibanez. If a traditional Fender isn’t your thing then Ibanez produce basses that offer something completely different. Small, light-weight bodies, slim fast-playing necks and the best modern pickups and EQ. Unlike the majority of Fenders most Ibanez basses are active. This means they have a battery on board that delivers a couple of key features; firstly it boosts the output signal of the instrument, which is what allows the use of smaller less-resonant bodies. Secondly it allows more on-board controls such as EQ so if you like to knob tweak this is the way to go!

Ibanez models begin with the Standard range, with the most popular basses being the SR models. It then moves through Premium and on to Prestige. Rattle & Drum stock Ibanez basses across the range, in-store and online. Of course, as an electric instrument the bass you choose is only half of the story, you will also need an amp so head over to our Bass Amplifier section for the full lowdown!