The Most Popular Bass Instrument: A Ranking of the Favorites

Choose the bass instrument you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 17, 2024 06:49
Welcome to StrawPoll, the buzzing hub of opinion-sharing, where your vote counts! We're excited to present our latest ranking, "What is the most popular bass instrument?". Are you a low-frequency aficionado? Or just curious to know which bass instrument is the crowd's favorite? Look no further, because we've got you covered! Explore our comprehensive list of bass instruments, showcasing the deep, soul-stirring sounds of everything from the classic Double Bass to the modern Electric Bass Guitar. Can't find your favorite? Worry not, you can suggest a missing option and see if it strikes a chord with others. Dive into the world of booming bass notes and let your voice be heard! Cast your vote or simply enjoy the harmonious blend of diverse opinions. Get ready to groove and join the bass-loving community, only here, at StrawPoll!

What Is the Most Popular Bass Instrument?

  1. 1
    Electric bass guitar is the most popular bass instrument used in contemporary music, known for its versatility and ability to produce a wide range of sounds.
    The electric bass guitar, commonly known as the bass guitar or simply bass, is a popular stringed instrument that is played primarily with the fingers or a pick. It belongs to the guitar family and is similar in appearance to the electric guitar, but with a longer neck and a longer scale length. The bass guitar is most commonly used in modern popular music genres such as rock, jazz, funk, and pop, providing the low-frequency foundation and rhythm to the musical compositions.
    • Number of strings: typically 4 (also available in 5, 6, or more strings)
    • Scale length: usually around 34 inches (86 cm)
    • Body types: solid body, hollow body, or semi-hollow body
    • Pickups: usually one or two magnetic pickups
    • Tuning: typically E, A, D, G (from low to high)
  2. 2
    Double bass is a traditional orchestral instrument that is also used in jazz and other genres, known for its deep, rich tone.
    The double bass, also known as the upright bass, is the largest and lowest-pitched member of the string instrument family. It has a deep, rich tone and is commonly used in classical, jazz, and orchestral music. The double bass is played with a bow or plucked with the fingers, and its versatile sound makes it a fundamental part of many musical ensembles.
    • Size: Typically around 6 feet in height.
    • Construction: Traditionally made from wood, with the body consisting of a hollowed-out piece of wood and a long neck.
    • Strings: Usually four strings, tuned in fourths (E1, A1, D, G).
    • Range: Lowest string is typically E1, although extended range models can go lower.
    • Playing Techniques: Bowing (arco) and plucking (pizzicato).
  3. 3

    Synthesizer bass

    Bob Moog
    Synthesizer bass is a type of bass that is created using a synthesizer, often used in electronic music. It can produce a wide range of unique sounds and textures.
    The synthesizer bass is a type of bass instrument that produces sound using synthesizer technology. It is designed to mimic the sound of an electric bass guitar, but with the added flexibility and versatility of a synthesizer. Synthesizer bass can range from monophonic instruments dedicated solely to bass sounds, to polyphonic synthesizers capable of producing a wide range of sounds including bass tones. These instruments have become popular in various genres of music, and are often used in electronic, pop, and dance music.
    • Polyphony: Can be monophonic or polyphonic
    • Sound Generation: Analog or digital synthesis methods
    • Oscillators: One or multiple oscillators for generating bass tones
    • Filter: Low-pass filter to shape the tone
    • Envelopes: ADSR envelopes for controlling the dynamics
  4. 4
    Upright bass
    Lesterbllanes · CC BY-SA 4.0
    Upright bass is similar to the double bass, but with a slightly different shape and sound. Often used in bluegrass and other traditional styles of music.
    The upright bass, also known as the double bass or contrabass, is a large, four-stringed bowed or plucked musical instrument. It is the largest and lowest-pitched instrument in the string family. The upright bass has a hollow wooden body with a distinctive, rounded shape and short neck, which is fretless. It is typically played while standing or sitting on a high stool. With a deep and resonant sound, the upright bass is commonly used in jazz, classical, bluegrass, and various other musical genres.
    • Size: Most common sizes range from 1/4 to 4/4, with 3/4 being the standard full-size.
    • Strings: Usually strung with four strings made of steel or gut.
    • Tuning: Standard tuning is E1-A1-D2-G2 (lowest to highest string), but alternative tunings can be used.
    • Body: Traditionally made of spruce or maple, with F-holes on the front to project the sound.
    • Bow: Bows are typically made of horsehair stretched between a wooden stick and frog, used for bowing the strings.
  5. 5

    Bass clarinet

    Adolphe Sax
    Bass clarinet is a woodwind instrument that produces a deep, rich tone. Often used in classical and jazz music.
    The bass clarinet is a large woodwind instrument that belongs to the clarinet family. It is similar in shape and fingerings to the standard B-flat clarinet but produces a lower pitch. The instrument features a long cylindrical body with a curved neck and a flared bell at the end. It is played with a single reed and has a complex system of keys and levers to control the pitch and articulation.
    • Range: Low E♭ to written C
    • Length: Approximately 1.3 meters (4.5 feet)
    • Weight: Around 4.5 kilograms (10 pounds)
    • Materials: Wood (typically grenadilla or ebonite) and metal (keywork)
    • Fingering: Boehm system
    Bass clarinet in other rankings
  6. 6
    Electric upright bass
    Lesterbllanes · CC BY-SA 4.0

    Electric upright bass

    Ned Steinberger
    Electric upright bass is a type of bass that looks like a traditional double bass but is electric and produces a more modern sound. Often used in fusion and contemporary jazz.
    The electric upright bass is a musical instrument designed to replicate the sound and playability of a traditional upright bass while being easier to transport and amplify. It features a similar body shape and four strings, but instead of a hollow body, it typically has a solid body with a built-in pickup system. This allows the instrument to be played at higher volumes and easily plugged into amplifiers or sound systems.
    • Body: Solid construction
    • Strings: Usually four
    • Scale Length: Standard upright scale (41-43 inches)
    • Fingerboard: Traditional materials like ebony or synthetic materials
    • Pickup System: Built-in pickup or piezo-electric transducers
  7. 7
    Bass saxophone
    Unknown authorUnknown author · Public domain

    Bass saxophone

    Adolphe Sax
    Bass saxophone is a large, low-pitched saxophone that produces a deep, powerful sound. Often used in jazz and other genres.
    The Bass saxophone is a member of the saxophone family known for its large size and deep, rich tone. It is the lowest-pitched of all saxophones.
    • Length: approximately 6 feet (1.8 meters)
    • Weight: around 30 pounds (13.6 kilograms)
    • Key: usually in B♭ or C
    • Range: from B♭0 to E5 (or even higher)
    • Mouthpiece: larger and heavier than other saxophones
    Bass saxophone in other rankings
  8. 8
    Bassoon is a woodwind instrument that produces a deep, resonant sound. Often used in classical music.
    The bassoon is a large woodwind instrument known for its rich and deep sound. It consists of a long, bent tube with various keys and holes along its length. The bassoon is played by blowing air through a double reed and using the keys to control the pitch and tone.
    • Length: Approximately 1.4 meters (4.6 feet)
    • Weight: Around 2.7 to 4.3 kilograms (6 to 9.5 pounds)
    • Range: B-flat below the bass clef staff to E-flat above the treble clef staff
    • Number of keys: Between 21 and 25 keys, including various thumb keys and rollers
    • Reed: Uses a double reed made from cane
  9. 9
    Contrabassoon is a larger, lower-pitched version of the bassoon that produces an even deeper, richer tone. Often used in orchestral music.
    The contrabassoon is a large double reed woodwind instrument and is considered one of the most difficult wind instruments to play. It belongs to the bassoon family and is known for its deep and powerful sound.
    • Size: It measures approximately 1.82 meters (6 feet) in length.
    • Weight: It weighs around 11 kilograms (24 pounds).
    • Range: Its range extends from B♭0 to E♭5, with the lowest note being one octave below the bassoon's lowest pitch.
    • Key: It is usually written in bass clef and transposes an octave below.
    • Reeds: It uses a larger and more robust double reed compared to the bassoon.
  10. 10
    Bass trombone is a type of trombone that produces a deep, powerful sound. Often used in jazz and other genres.
    The bass trombone is a low-pitched brass instrument that belongs to the trombone family. It is larger and longer than the tenor trombone, and it is designed to produce deeper and richer sounds. The bass trombone is commonly used in orchestras, jazz bands, and wind ensembles, providing a foundation and adding depth to the ensemble's sound.
    • Range: B♭0 - F5
    • Bell size: 9 to 10.5 inches
    • Bore size: 0.550 to 0.562 inches
    • Number of valves: 1 or 2
    • Valve type: Rotary or Thayer

Missing your favorite bass instrument?


Ranking factors for popular bass instrument

  1. Sound quality
    The richness, depth, and versatility of the sound produced by the bass instrument are crucial. Different instruments may have a distinct tone, which could make them more suitable for specific genres or styles of music.
  2. Playability
    The ease of playing, action, and ergonomics of the instrument are important factors to consider. Players should be able to comfortably access all notes and techniques without strain or discomfort.
  3. Durability and construction quality
    A well-built bass instrument should withstand regular practice and performance without losing its sound quality or requiring frequent maintenance and repair.
  4. Versatility
    The ability of the bass instrument to adapt to various genres and playing styles is essential. Some may be more suitable for specific genres, while others offer a broader range of capabilities.
  5. Popularity
    The overall popularity of the bass instrument is also a key factor. This may be determined by factors like the number of professional players known for using the instrument, its prevalence in popular music, and its overall reputation in the music industry.
  6. Affordability and value for money
    The cost of the bass instrument should be considered in relation to its quality, durability, and performance capabilities. An expensive instrument may not necessarily be the best option for all players, especially when considering the needs of beginners or hobbyists.
  7. Availability of resources and accessories
    The availability of instructional materials, online resources, and accessories (such as strings, amplifiers, and effects pedals) can also factor into the instrument's overall popularity and ease of use.
  8. Aesthetic appeal
    Though subjective, the visual appeal of the bass instrument can also play a role in its popularity. Some players may be drawn to a particular instrument due to its unique design or attractive finish.
  9. Brand and manufacturer reputation
    The reputation of the bass instrument's manufacturer may also influence its popularity. A well-established and respected brand is more likely to produce high-quality instruments with consistent craftsmanship.
  10. Player testimonials and reviews
    Consulting the opinions of other players, such as through reviews or personal testimonials, can provide valuable insights into the overall quality and performance of a bass instrument. This may help determine which instruments are best suited for specific needs and preferences.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular bass instrument. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or bass is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 175 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each bass once every 24 hours. The rank of each bass is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular bass instrument

Bass instruments are an essential part of any musical ensemble, providing the foundation for the rhythm and harmony of a piece of music. From the deep, resonant sound of the double bass to the punchy, percussive tones of the electric bass guitar, there are a wide variety of bass instruments to choose from. Over the years, bass instruments have evolved and diversified, with new technologies and playing techniques expanding the possibilities for musicians. Today, bassists have access to a vast array of instruments, ranging from traditional acoustic basses to cutting-edge digital synthesizers. So what is the most popular bass instrument? That's a tough question to answer definitively, as different genres of music and different musical contexts often call for different types of bass instruments. However, by looking at the trends in popular music and the preferences of professional musicians, we can get a sense of which bass instruments are most commonly used and most highly regarded.

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