The differences between standard electric basses (four strings) and standard electric guitars (six strings) are very clear: in addition to have a different number of strings, they also differ in their scale lengths, in their tunings, and of course, in their tones.
Nevertheless, in the world of extended range instruments, I feel that that the differences between these instruments attenuate. For instance, by considering a 7-string electric bass and a 7-string electric guitar, theoretically, these two instruments could have the same range. Moreover, I feel that similarities increase with the increase in the number of strings (10-string electric basses and 10-string guitars look very similar).
My questions are:
- given an electric "bass/guitar-like" instrument, how can decide if it is a bass or a guitar? What are the proper (and nontrivial) characteristics of each instrument?
- is there an interest to maintain two categories of distinct instruments in the extended range world?