Major Differences Between a Bass and a Guitar: Which One Should You Get?

By: Catherine Navarette


Many people claim that there are minimal differences between a bass and a guitar. Think again! They have many similarities, but they both have unique functions as well. It is best to understand their differences to know which is the right one for you. So, what is the difference between a bass and a guitar?

Since both the bass and guitar belongs to the group of stringed musical instruments, they could look like the same instrument at first sight.

Acoustic Bass vs Acoustic Guitar

The acoustic instruments of each category vary in size. An acoustic guitar can be equipped with laces or straps to be able to play it without sitting. This instrument has six strings and one sound hole. 

On the other hand, the bass' acoustic version has four main strings, namely, E, D, A, and G, that are an octave lower than the acoustic guitar. 


Electric Bass vs Electric Guitar

The shaft of a bass is longer than the shaft of a guitar.  The spectrum of pitches and tones made from a guitar is significantly greater than that of a bass. This makes a guitar exceptionally functional and powerful enough to operate a range of melodies in one single instrument, which is dominant in music composition.

You can play the guitar and make it sound like other instruments at the same time. No sound-modification pedals or levers are needed. It is seamless to strum and practice many techniques, reaching notes with ease.

A bass guitar might sound hard to get familiarized with at first since it has larger strings than regular guitars. The bass has incredible abilities in maintaining a beat and steady rhythm to lead other accompanying parts in a song. 

The bass is the king of a low-end chorus. Bass enables you to play one note at a time. Although it is not commonly used to play melodic tones.


Sound Differences

A big distinction between bass and guitar is their purpose. The size and the gap between the strings are different for the bass and guitar. 

The bass and guitar's specific differences are easier to hear than to describe. You can easily notice the sound difference that the bass produces and identify it from the guitar's sound.



Theoretically, both are guitars, so the tone produced by them is somehow identical, yet the two distinct instruments have various kinds of output that can be received on each song you hear.

The pitch and tune ranges of a guitar are significantly greater than the bass to make sounds clearer. Bass' standard tuning is one octave lower than in the guitar, which is the distance between two notes on the same key or letter name. 

A guitar has six strings, while a regular bass has four.  It is easier to strum the guitar because of its thin strings. Bass strings are designed to be thicker. Thus, more effort to control the sound is needed. 

A guitar is normally the lead instrument, and it is a little more present in the spotlight. But the bass in a band is extremely important too. Note that the bass has the same features as the guitar.

What Instrument Should You Get?

A guitar is the one for you if you like the following activities:

  • Open mic solo performance
  • Jamming with yourself
  • Play an instrument whenever you are standing or sitting
  • Single spotlight presentations
  • Play ranges of melodies with one lightweight instrument
  • Playing chill and relaxing acoustic music

On the other hand, here are the benefits of having a Bass:

  • Easier to master its learning curves
  • Have distinct musical keys and patterns
  • Fewer strings to play
  • Produce clearer melody, rhythm, and harmony
  • Play consistent low sounds and jazz music
  • Play with a band
To see a list of the top guitars, ranging in experience level, browse our collection.