The lyre is a stringed musical instrument which has been popular all around the world and is recognized for its prominence in classical antiquity. It has a yoke which includes a crossbar and two arms and has strings that stretch from the tailpiece to the crossbar.

Some lyres are bowed while most of these are plucked. It is regularly played by strumming with a pick similar to a guitar rather than plucking it like a harp. Based on Greek mythology, the lyre was made from a khelus or tortoise shell covered with horns of the antelope and animal skin by Hermes. It is also said to represent the Apollonian virtues which are equilibrium and moderation.

Structure

The lyre has a hollow body called sound-chest, resonator, or soundbox. From this, two curved arms are projected upwards and are attached at the top by a yoke or crossbar. The body has another crossbar which transfers the strings’ vibrations. The strings all have the same length so variation in pitch is either accomplished by different sting thickness or by different sting tensions.

The strings are made of gut. Gut is a cord made from the natural fiber in the animal intestines’ walls. The string with the deepest note is placed farthest away from the player. These are stretched between the bridge or tailpiece and yoke. Tuning could be done by either turning the pegs where the strings were fastened or moving the string’s position on the crossbar.

Lyre, zithers, and harps

Organologists say that the lyre from different periods and areas are all members of the zither family. For your information, organologists specialize in the study of musical instruments’ history. The zither gamily consists of many stringed instruments like the guitar, lute, and kantele.

Despite that, others regard the zither and lyre as members of two different classes. The difference is that the strings of the lyre stem from a somewhat common area of the soundboard while the strings of the zither are spread across most of the soundboard. To understand this better, picture out the violin which is sometimes regarded as a fingerboard lyre compared to the piano which is a keyed zither.

On the other hand, organologists all around the world has come to an agreement that harps are completely different from the lyre and zither. Zithers and lyres have strings that are fastened to at least a point on the tailpiece or wrest pins near the soundboard and lie parallel to it. In contrast, the harp’s strings stem straight from the soundboard and lie perpendicular to it.

The lyre in modern Greece

You can no longer see the classical lyre being played in Greece nowadays. In modern Greece, the term lyre refers to many kinds of bowed instruments connected to either the Persian Kemanche or the Byzantine bowed lyra.

There are two fundamental designs of bowed lyres. One has the shape of a bottle and is a descendant of the Cappadocian kemane. The other is pear-shaped and related to the Byzantine lyra.

Selecting strings

The main quality that you should keep in mind when selecting strings is its material. Steel strings produce a louder sound than nylon string but steel will place greater pressure on the lyre. It is recommended to use steel strings if your lyre has plywood for its back and belly because this benefits from the string’s loudness. Use nylon strings if it has a routed-out back and a single-grained belly because this will give a louder box and will make the nylon strings sound almost like gut strings.

 

The bass guitar, sometimes called bass or electric bass, is a stringed instrument which has a design similar to the guitar. The difference is that it has a longer scale and it is tuned in a deeper pitch. It is primarily played with the fingers or with a plectrum or pick.

It also has the same construction and appearance as an electric guitar but it has a longer neck, a larger body, and a longer scale length. The bass guitar could be fretless or fretted but fretted basses are more commonly used. It could either be acoustic bass or electric bass.

History

The first electric string bass that is also similar to the modern bass was invented by Paul Tutmarc of Washington around 1930. It was a fretted instrument which was constructed to be played horizontally. In the 1940’s, Bud Tutmarc, son of Paul Tutmarc, marketed the bass guitar under the brand name Serenader and advertised it nationwide. Unfortunately, the Tutmarc’s bass guitar did not become popular in the market.

At the time of 1950’s, the first electric bass, called Fender Precision Bass, that was in mass production was created by Leo Fender. Its body design was contoured and its edges were beveled. In 1953, the Gibson Guitar Corporation put the electric bass with a violin shape and an expandable end pin on market. These had one humbucker right alongside the neck pocket.

Rickenbacker released the model 4000 bass which had a neck-through-body design in 1957. High end bass guitars which have unique designs, onboard electronics, and hand-finished bodies rose in the 1970’s. In the 1980’s, the headless bass wad developed by Ned Steinberger and the Guild Guitar Corporation introduced the use of silicone rubber strings. Recently, bass guitar producers added digital modeling circuits in the instrument.

Classic bass guitars

Electric bass guitars has lasted for over 70 years and counting. It has grown to be an essential element in modern music. In the years that have passed, the bass guitar’s design had many design changes. Here are a few classic bass guitars.

The Hofner was played by Paul McCartney although not expensive or outstandingly made. The Fender Jazz started in 1960 with a slimmer shaped neck and two pickups while the Fender Precision was introduced in 1951 with a slab body and one pickup.

The Musicman Stingray arrived in the 1970’s with a humbucker bass pickup while the Gibson Thuderbird came on scene in the 1960’s. The Rickenbacker 4001 came in the early 1950’s and it became the rock bass chosen by many.

Playing techniques

The different playing techniques include plucking, picking, slap and pop, two-handed tapping, and fretting.

How to play
If you are still learning to play the guitar, it is best to use a fretted bass guitar because it is easier to accurately hit the notes. First, you need to put your fingers into practice. Relax the hand with which you will play the bass guitar and lift it at an angle of 90 degrees. Lift your fingers one at a time in rapid succession.

After that, place the bass guitar on your thigh with the strings away from you. Place your thumb on the E string and the middle and index fingers on the D string. The E string is in the middle of the strings and the D string is two strings down the former. Pluck these consecutively until you are comfortable and accustomed to it. It is easier to start learning one song at a time. Choose a song that requires mostly the basic chords.