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I wanted to ask a question about bass guitar, and I realized that since this is now a universal music site, that I can't just use "bass" as a tag like I could on the Guitars.SE due to potential confusion with the double-bass.

If I want to tag a question for bass guitar, should I use "bass guitar" or "bass" and "guitar"? For the former case, I can see it being more useful for keeping the tag list succinct and being easier to favorite/ignore. For the latter case, some questions about bass sound/technique may be applicable to both bass guitar and double-bass.

If one was playing an acoustic bass guitar, should one then use "acoustic bass guitar," "acoustic" and "bass guitar" as two tags, or "acoustic," "bass," and "guitar" as three separate tags?

As you can see, this can get all kinds of confusing, and I'm wondering if there is a standard that the community has agreed upon, and if so, what is it?

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I recommend for the first, so that it's distinguished from standup bass. Tagging and would mean that your question is both about bass and guitar, which is not your intention.

The rest follows from that; you should use because it follows the same format, even though should be unambiguous since there's no reason to add "acoustic" for a standup bass. Likewise, for questions limited solely to electric bass.

I think should be used as well, just to make it clear that it's not bass guitar. I doubt there will be general bass questions (both double bass and bass guitar), so we shouldn't have at all.


Summary: Use and . If questions are truly limited to them, use and .

  • Apply the same rules to non-bass guitars, as well. guitar for the generic, with electric-guitar, acoustic-guitar, classical-guitar, etc. for the limited cases. – Matthew Read Apr 27 '11 at 1:33
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    @Matthew Thanks for the clarification. I was worried about tags getting too specific, as I'm also used to the somewhat modular tagging system we use in Gaming. :) – FAE Apr 27 '11 at 10:40
  • Specific tags are good for instruments - the difference between a [baroque-flute] and [flute] are pretty significant :) – Michael Apr 27 '11 at 15:13
  • Yep. I think the generally encouraged idea is to use baroque-flute if the question is specifically about that type of flute, and not just if you happen to be using a baroque flute and are asking a general question. – Matthew Read Apr 27 '11 at 15:15
  • @Matthew I'm unaccepting my answer, which has nothing to do with the quality of yours, but mostly for the fact it looks like this is becoming a discussion about tagging standards for several types of instruments and there won't really be any one, single answer to accept. – FAE May 2 '11 at 15:51
  • @FallenAngelsEyes That's a good idea, no worries. – Matthew Read May 2 '11 at 15:52
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Tags should be able to stand alone. If a tag only make sense in the context of another tag, it is not appropriate. So using "bass" as a short name for the double bass in the viol family is okay, but using "bass" as a modifier for another instrument ("bass" "clarinet", "bass" "saxophone", "bass" "guitar") is not good.

In your case you may want to tag "bass-guitar" (replace all spaces by dashes, since spaces are not allowed in tag names). If you have an acoustic bass guitar question, I would suggest tagging it both "bass-guitar" and "acoustic-guitar". An "acoustic-bass-guitar" tag is probably too specific, not to mention too long for a tag name.

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    The character limit is 26 for tags, I believe. acoustic-bass-guitar isn't too specific if the question is strictly not about electric bass. – Matthew Read Apr 27 '11 at 1:24
  • It's 26? I thought it was 20.. my bad. (Also, that still means I counted wrong.) – Willie Wong Apr 27 '11 at 1:27
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    The max tag length is 25. – Rebecca Chernoff Apr 27 '11 at 2:33
  • My bad, I blame Gaming.SE for the confusion :P – Matthew Read Apr 27 '11 at 2:51
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    @Rebecca, it should be 32. ;) – user107 Apr 27 '11 at 3:58
  • I would suggest using acoustic-guitar as a tag for a question regarding bass guitars (whether acoustic or not) would not be a good idea, as that goes against all common usage, and the two instruments are so different. – Doktor Mayhem May 3 '11 at 12:41
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I propose that we use when a question applies to any member instead of manually adding .

  • This is probably a good idea. Is there a more common name than violin-family? Maybe bowed-instruments? – Matthew Read Apr 29 '11 at 14:02
  • Well, this would include tromba marina, musical saw, viols, viola da gamba and various other instruments. I think bowed-instruments might be useful in its own right alongside violin-family. – ogerard Apr 29 '11 at 14:17
  • OK. I've unfortunately never played one besides fiddling with my dad's cello, so I wouldn't know whether the distinction is useful :) – Matthew Read Apr 29 '11 at 14:19
  • We will have more basis for reflexion during the public beta. – ogerard Apr 29 '11 at 14:22
  • string-instruments? – Sophie Alpert Apr 29 '11 at 16:11
  • @Ben: This would include guitar, harp, psalterion, ukulele, koto, etc. – ogerard Apr 29 '11 at 16:30
  • @ogerard Oh, that's true. Never mind. – Sophie Alpert Apr 29 '11 at 16:31
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Avoid just using to refer to an instrument since that tag could/should be applied to, for example, composition questions on aspects of constructing a bass line in music independent of the instrumentation.

  • And bass recorders, and the bass vocal part, and... – Monica Cellio Feb 19 '14 at 19:09
  • ...And the bass drum, bass trombone, bass clarinet, bass sax, bass trumpet, double bass, bass flute, tuba (AKA the BASS)... – American Luke Mar 4 '14 at 14:05
  • These comments are contrary to my intended point: the generic tag bass shouldn't be used to indicate any instrument, but rather to something more like the role of bass as a voice/tambre independent of instrument. – Dave Mar 4 '14 at 14:10

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