6-String Electric Guitar vs. Bass Guitar: What is the Difference?

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  • Writer:Alice
  • Time:2022-05-31

Guitars of all kinds have a cool filter. Whenever you watch a live band or see a music video, your eyes are drawn to the guitarist nimbly playing an ear-catching riff that sticks in mind for days on end. The only problem is that some people get confused about where the sounds are coming from.

It can be confusing if you cannot tell the difference between a 6-string electric guitar and a bass guitar before getting more information about them. Here is a quick guide about some insight into these incredible instruments.

What Are These Guitars and How Do They Sound?

Both the 6-string electric guitar and bass guitar look similar, but they actually produce a much different sound. The 6-string electric guitar has a higher range. It is what we would typically hear playing a guitar solo in a song or holding down a rhythmic pattern to support a melody.

A bass guitar is a foundational instrument more aligned with the rhythm section. You are more likely to hear really low notes thumped in time to compliment the drummer in a band. The idea is to mimic the traditional stand-up bass that is acoustic but without lugging around such an oversized instrument.

What Is the Difference Between the Two Guitars?

Don’t be embarrassed if you do not know the difference between the 6-string electric guitar and the bass. They look similar enough that it is easy to forget which one produces a unique sound unless you have been in the music industry for a little while. Here are some tricks to telling the difference.


1 - Shape & Forms

A bass guitar is almost always longer and bigger than a 6-string electric guitar. They will have thicker strings and typically only 4 compared to the 6 on a 6-string electric. The neck will be the part that is the longest in comparison.

2 - Producing a Note

The electric guitar uses a pick that sends out a higher pitch and “cleaner” note to be heard alongside or in support of the melody. Bass can be played with a pick or with the fingers to produce a “thump” or low note in support of the rhythm.

3 - Usability

Both are easy to carry around because you can put them into a flexible case and throw them on your back as you walk. You will see both instruments in most modern bands across almost all genres.

4 - Transferability

Learning how to play the bass guitar is easier if you already have experience with a 6-string electric guitar. The bottom 4 strings are the same on both instruments, just down an octave. That means the fingering is pretty similar. However, it is much harder to go from bass to an electric guitar because two additional strings mean different chord structures on the frets along the neck.

5- Tuning

On a 6-string electric guitar, you have the standard tuning of E-A-D-G-B-E, where the lowest string is E, then A, etc. A bass guitar has only 4 strings and sticks to an E-A-D-G tuning, but an octave lower than an electric guitar. A bass guitar can have more strings, but 4 is the typical one you would see in a band. The tighter the guitar string, the higher the pitch. That is also why an electric bass guitar string looks looser because it is playing a lower pitch.

6 – Toughness of Playing Portamento

Portamento essentially means sliding or carrying the note from one to the next. Usually, this is done quickly in portamento or slowly in glissando. The 6-string electric guitar is easier to do because the strings tend to be thinner and tighter than with a bass. Bass needs a heavier slide to get the same effect because the strings are looser and thicker, and the notes are harder to differentiate when at a lower register.


Get the Right Strings from Alice

No matter which guitar you choose to rock out with next, you will need good electric guitar strings to make the sound resonate with your audience. Here we have two recommendations:

Alice electric guitar strings AWR58

In the case of a 6-string electric guitar, we suggest Alice AWR58. These are plated steel and nickel alloy winding strings available in a wide range of thickness and weights to allow for a clean sound and do not require a lot of experience to put onto your guitar.

Alice electric bass guitar strings A646

For the bass players in the crowd, try out the Alice A646 Electric Bass String Set. These are iron alloys with a multi-layer nano-coating for a delicate response that produces that cool low vibration you want to build the foundation of a song, not to mention they look bright and stand out against most bass guitar bodies.

Wrapping Up

Alice is an excellent resource for quality-made guitar strings because they were founded by music educators, performers, and professional manufacturers. This combination of insight allowed the company to grow into a reliable producer of guitar strings for various uses and playing styles. Everything is tested and verified for quality before being sent out to guitar players worldwide. Visit the website and see this dedication to exceptional guitar string products that have been going strong since the early 1990s.