Difference between an Electric Guitar and a Bass Guitar

To choose a new guitar is never simple. Maybe you have decided to start, solo or in a group, but how to make your choice between an electric or a bass guitar? It’s my goal with this article to help you in the final choice.

The first difference between an electric and a bass guitar is the number of cords. And they also have different purposes: while the bass guitar play the music rhythm, in a lower tone, the electric guitar plays the melody.

After this short answer, we’ll now see the differences between these two music instruments, and how to make a choice if you are here for that.

The electric guitar


A guitar whose tone is magnified electrically by a microphone or pickup device that is built into the instrument or attached externally, by an audio-frequency amplifier, and by a loudspeaker, the volume and resonance being controlled by the player


We stay here on a basic definition, that help us to understand the difference between an electric guitar and an acoustic guitar, but not really the difference with a bass
We’ll come back to this later


The electronic guitar is an evolution of the acoustic guitar, with some new features
The sound box of the acoustic guitar is replaced by an external amplifier
We need to link the guitar to the amplifier to get the sound

The benefit is that you have a lighter object in your hand, and everything else is on the ground (amplifier, effect pedal or various accessories)


As I wrote in introduction, an electric guitar generally makes more sense in a music group
It plays a role of rhythmic accompaniment, following the melody
Except if there is also an acoustic guitar in the group. In this case the electric guitar can take more liberties, to give relief to the music piece

You’ll often have a bass in the same group, we’ll see that later


The price of an electric guitar is highly variable, it depends on brands and models

You can find a correct quality electric guitar around $150 (here is an example of an Ibanez model on Amazon)
Prestigious brands are more expensive, on Amazon you can find guitars above $1000, and even more in a specialized store
If you are here, you’re probably a beginner, so I recommend to not waste your money, and start with a model like the one linked above

Please note that you can also find kits, with all the needed stuff in one package, for a decent price (here is an example on Amazon)
It may be a little more expensive, but it’s perfect to start
Beware anyway of the quality of provided accessories. You generally have to add $50 o $100 for (including the amplifier). Don’t trust cheap kits, as there is probably at least one bad quality element inside

Demo video

To finish, I propose a short video showing what you can do with en electric guitar
Don’t think you can do that tomorrow if you just start, but you have an idea or a goal of what you can achieve with it 🙂

The bass guitar

Now that you have a good idea about the electric guitar, let’s look at the bass guitar for the comparison


The bass guitar (or simply bass) is a plucked string instrument similar in appearance and construction to an electric or an acoustic guitar, except with a longer neck and scale length, and typically four to six strings or courses.


This definition is perfect, and really helps to make the difference with an electric guitar
It’s almost the same, with a much lower tone (usually an octave lower), and often fewer strings


I don’t have many things to add, as the conception is almost the same as an electric guitar
There is no sound box neither, an amplifier replace it

You can however note that the bass guitar has only 4 strings versus 6 on an electric guitar
The goal is not the same


You’ll see the illustration with the following video, but the bass guitar is one of the main element in a group (with the drums)
It is the rhythmic bass support for all other instruments

Demo video

And here is a video to show you what you can do with a bass guitar
You can compare the sound with one of electric guitar you saw previously, and everything will become clearer for you


Pricing are similar of what I gave you for the electric guitar
It seems that lower-end prices are a bit higher than electric guitar (let’s say around $250 to start)

But you can probably find good deals if you are not rushing
For beginners, this pack on Amazon is probably a good start

Related questions

What’s the best choice to start? There is not really a universal answer to this question. Basics are the same, it all depends on you. Personally, I think we can get results faster in solo with an electric guitar, and I like that 🙂
But it’s only my opinion, the best is to test both in a music store, and see what you prefer


That’s it, you now know the difference between an electric guitar and a bass guitar (with eyes or ears)

I hope this article was useful for you, my goal is to help you, even if I’m not an expert

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