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Bass Guitar Lessons – Parts of the Bass Guitar

It’s important to learn and understand certain parts of the bass guitar. Each part has a function for learning and playing the bass.

Parts of the bass guitar

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Tuning Machines

Used to tune your bass by tightening (rotate counter-clockwise) or loosening (rotate clockwise) the strings.


Houses the tuning machines and tuning machine knobs. Clip-on tuners are connected to the headstock.


The thin piece of wood that is attached to the top of the bass neck that houses the frets and fret markers. Also known as a “fingerboard”. Bass fretboards are made out of a variety of wood types which can effect the tone and playability of a bass.


Bass guitar strings. The bass shown above has 4 strings. Bass guitars can also have 5 or 6 strings. The strings are wound at larger and smaller diameters. Larger diameter strings produce low tones. Strings are also manufactured using different materials, and material densities which can also effect the sound and playability of your bass.


Located on the back of the bass, the neck is the of wood that extends from the headstock to the body of the bass. Bass necks house the fretboard and fret bars. When playing bass, the neck is held by the palm of the fretting hand. They vary in size, type of wood, and type of finish which can effect the overall playability of a bass.

Fret Number Markers

Indicate the fret numbers throughout the bass. Serve as a guide for helping know which fret you’re playing. Some basses do not have fret marks. Others have marks on the top of the neck – visible only to the player.

Fret Bars

Inserted throughout the fretboard. In between fret bars are bass frets. Higher numbered frets indicate higher bass note tones. Some basses have more frets than others. The bass shown above have 22 frets which these days is standard. Some have up to 26 frets, and as few as 20.

12th Fret

The 12th fret of the bass represents the position of the strings on the fret that is one full octave above the pitch of the open string. Notes on the 12th fret and beyond begin repeating at a full octave higher than the open string notes.


The pickups on a bass detect (pickup) the vibrations of the bass strings and translate them into an electric signal which is then sent and heard through an amplifier, monitor, headphones, etc. The number and types of pickups vary, and will effect the sound of the bass.

Tone & Volume Knobs

These knobs are used to adjust the volume and tone of the bass. Basses have various numbers and types of knobs. Tone knobs in general adjust the bass, treble, and brightness of the guitar’s sound.

Output Jack

A cable is plugged into your bass here. The other end of your cable is plugged into the the input jack of a bass amplifier, monitor, headphone, etc.

Strap Posts

Located on the front and back of the bass body, strap posts are used to secure bass guitar straps.


The bridge is the metal plate where the bass strings are attached to the body. It functions as the place on the bass where string vibrations are transferred to the body of the bass guitar.

Bridge Saddles

Strings lay on top of the bridge. They can be lowered or heightened to effect the tone and tuning of the strings.

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