Learn To Play Bass Guitar – Learn to play the bass with our step-by-step guide for beginners. Start playing basic chords and understanding fingering techniques.
The bass may not get all the credit from the guitar or lack the flash, thump and thump of the drums – but the instrument has an important place in any band, bridging the gap between rhythm and melody. The bass guitar is responsible for creating the undercurrent – or bass line – that ties the song together, giving it a rhythmic feel and a steady beat that helps both the guitar and drums move the song along.
Learn To Play Bass Guitar
In this guide, we’ll show you some basic bass guitars and help you get started on your musical journey. We’ll give you some tips on how to choose a bass guitar, tips on tuning and fingering technique, and how to play a song on the bass.
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While the guitar gets the credit when it comes to band music, there aren’t that many bassists who claim the limelight. The bass guitar, however, is the bottom end that provides the bridge between the showiness and melody of the guitar and the kick of the drums.
Need another reason to learn to play the bass? While you might admire a guitarist’s string-bending skills while listening to a song, when you plug in your headphones, the bass line is usually the part that makes you nod.
Many bass players have a good understanding of song structure and often take the lead role in songwriting. See (and hear) Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, Paul McCartney of the Beatles, Bootsy Collins of Parliament-Funkadelic (who also played with Dee-Lite and James Brown), Geddy Lee of Rush, Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue and Gene Simmons from KISS, and you have a number of bass players who were the songwriting force behind their respective bands. Picking up a bass and learning how to weave its rhythmic texture into a song puts you in good company.
Playing the bass guitar can be simple, but the more you decide to delve into the intricacies of the instrument, the more you can use that knowledge to play simple or more complex bass lines in songs.
Buying Guide For The Best Beginner Bass Guitar
Depending on the type of music and skill level you want to play your instrument can determine how easy or difficult it is to learn the bass. For example, more vocal and guitar-based songs in the country genre may be easier to play bass than rhythm-focused genres such as funk or hard rock and heavy metal.
The physical size and thickness (or thickness) of bass strings can also make it more difficult for young players to learn. But if you have smaller hands, there are small-scale basses (like the Mustang® Bass) that can make it easier to maneuver up and down the neck of the bass and have shorter fret spacing.
“Everyone is a beginner at some point. You get better at things by doing more. You may be a beginner, but you will get better. I guarantee it.” – Mike Dirnt, Green Day
As a beginner, choosing a bass guitar can be daunting – but it doesn’t have to be. From size to tone, number of strings and your budget, there are several factors that can help you narrow down the right choice for your bass.
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• Size: If you’re a beginner bass player with smaller hands or just want a lighter instrument with a shorter neck for easier finger maneuvers, a small-scale bass might be the perfect choice. The Mustang Bass, Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar Bass Special SS, and Squier Bronco Bass all have long 30-inch necks. In addition, the light bass can be ideal for people who experience back or shoulder pain when playing for long periods of time.
• Tone: The tone a bass player gravitates towards is a matter of personal preference. Depending on the genre you choose and the sound you want to achieve, different bass guitars will offer their own distinct tone. Want a warmer tone? Choose a bass from the Squier range. With a warm tone, they offer a slimmer neck and profile, ideal for beginner bassists and players with small hands. Want a deeper, chattier tone? Check out the Precision Bass® Player.
If you have the desire to experiment and experiment with tone, equipping your electric bass with the right amp or pedal can help you recreate the tones of your favorite artists. The Mustang GTX series of amps are compatible with the Tone app, which gives you access to hundreds of presets to sound like your favorite musician without having to assemble a ton of effects pedals.
• Number of strings: While most bass guitars have four strings, there are some five-string models (like the American Ultra Jazz Bass® V) that give players more creative freedom. If you’re just starting out on your musical journey, it might be best to master the four-string bass first before you get started. The thinner neck of a four-string bass guitar can be easier to play for beginners. At the back, a five-string bass increases the range of notes and scales that can be played.
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• Budget: An instrument is an investment that lasts a lifetime. Even if you’re starting out or on a budget, there are plenty of affordable options to find a bass you’ll love for years to come. For example, the Affinity Series™ Jazz Bass® has legendary sound for less than $250. Electric bass bundles are another great option for bass players on a budget, combining a bass, amp, strap and other accessories to get you started.
Still not sure where to start? Find yours and pair with an instrument that speaks to your style and sound.
Having the right tools is key to learning your instrument. There are a few basic things beginner bassists should have when starting out:
• Guitar Strap – A guitar strap not only helps you securely hold your instrument in the correct playing position, it also helps you show off a bit of your personality and sense of style.
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• Cables – Whether you’re plugging your bass into an amp or plugging in effects pedals, cables help make that connection possible.
• Amplifiers – There’s nothing quite like the feeling of turning on an electric bass and hearing its hum come to life. Whether you’re cranking it up to 10 or practicing at a lower volume, an amp can help you hear your instrument’s true tone and perfect your technique. Not sure which amplifier is right for you? Get help and learn how to choose your ideal bass modeling amp.
• Digital Tuner – Making sure the bass stays in tune can help develop your ear. As your skill level increases, you may want to experiment with alternative bass settings. A digital tuner can help you find the right tone.
While it may have a thicker, punchier sound than its six-string cousin, the guitar. the bass has the same first four strings, tuned to the same notes. The strings on a bass guitar are:
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There are several ways to adjust the bass. While you can tune it by ear or use overtones — playing a specific fret on an adjacent string and matching the highest, open string note to it — the Tune app makes it easy to stay in tune. Download a free bass tuning app to maintain the perfect tone.
“Music is like the genius of mankind, universal… People who have never taken time to engage in music, their lives are much shorter.” – Flea Techniques, Red Hot Chili PeppersBass Finger Techniques for Beginners
For years it has been the subject of much debate about the bass: whether to play with a pick or with your fingers. The truth is, there is no wrong way to play the bass. Depending on the genre and style you like best, as well as the strength and dexterity of your fingers. Both styles have their advantages:
• Play the bass with a pick: If you’re looking for speed and versatility, playing the bass with a pick may be your preferred method. Not only can you pick notes a notch faster than with your fingers (eliminating years of practice and perfecting your technique), but experimenting with keys of different thicknesses can help you fine-tune your tone and give you different sound.
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• Finger Bass: Sometimes called fingerstyle, the finger bass produces a softer sound and allows you to strum and strum the strings for a funk-filled sound. Most bass players find it easier to start by using their index and middle fingers to pluck the strings. But over time you can build your dexterity and experiment with using your thumb to strike the strings for an instrumental tone.
When learning to play the bass, you may not encounter