How to Play Bass Guitar: A Beginner’s Guide.
The electric bass guitar is a staple in many music genres, but it can be difficult for beginners to play well. That’s where we come in! In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about the instrument and how to get started playing like an expert. From choosing your first bass guitar, to setting up the right amp and effects pedals – don’t worry; we’ve got you covered!
Make sure you have the right gear
A great way to get started is by purchasing a starter bass pack. These packs are offered by many different brands and include an electric bass guitar, amp with effects, and additional accessories like picks.
A few things you’ll want to consider when choosing your first bass guitar are what kind of music you play (i.e., pop, jazz, rock) and how much money you have to spend.
If you’re on a budget and just want to try out the instrument, consider an inexpensive model. I recommend the Fender Squire bass guitar. It’s great for beginners because it has a nice tone, and it’s easy to play!
If you have more money to spend, I recommend the bass guitar by Rickenbacker. This is a great instrument for rock and pop music because it has an aggressive tone that cuts through all other instruments in the mix.
And of course if you’re looking for something specific, such as an acoustic bass or a fretless electric bass, there are plenty out there to choose from!
– Bass guitars come in different shapes and sizes, so be sure to pick one that suits your needs. Keep in mind how heavy the bass will be before purchasing – heavier models might not work well with small children who may be playing it on occasion (i.e., smaller people).
However, if you plan to perform in some capacity (i.e., live shows), then it’s important to get something that will be loud enough for larger audiences – like this Schecter bass guitar!
A good place to start is by asking your local music store about their special offers or demo days which are usually once per month of new product arrivals
Which bass guitar amp?
A bass amp is a speaker that amplifies the low frequency sounds of an instrument such as a bass guitar.
There is a bass guitar amp for every type of player. Whether you want an all in one package, or just the basics to get started, there are plenty out there to choose from!
– SWR Workingman’s 15 bass combo amp. It is a good choice for the beginner that wants to spend less than $500 on their first amplifier, and it also has an excellent tone.
If you’re looking for something more powerful and louder, you could choose the 200 watt Randall RG100AV powered bass stack with built in effects or another option would be Alamo series amplifiers by Alligator: affordable but still high quality! One of the best bass amp brands is Roland. Their Amps are affordable, easy to use, and they have a great sound quality.
Amps can range in price as well – but luckily this means that there should also be something available within your budget (even better!). Head over to our list of amps below to see some great picks at different prices points.
Practice with a metronome for timing and accuracy
Bass guitar players often work in unison with drummers to create what we call the rhythm section. If you’re playing bass with a drummer, it’s important to stay on the beat in order to keep up. Practice by using a metronome and starting at 60 beats per minute, which is slow for most songs but will help you get used to staying on time before increasing your speed.
When playing along to a metronome , it’s a good idea to tap your foot or snap your fingers along with the beat. This can help you keep time without having to look at anything other than counting out loud in beats – and this trick works for most instruments, not just bass!
Once you can stay in time with a metronome is time to put on your big (or girl) pants and team up with a drummer. Pandemic going on outside? Ok, enlist a drum machine or app instead. Now you have your drum buddy , you’re ready to play bass!
When playing along with a drummer , it’s important to stay in time with the beat. This can be difficult because drummers often play on the backbeat, which is a count that falls every two beats instead of one. Notice how you’ll hear “dum” or “ba-da-dum”? That’s what we’re counting along with: on the ‘and.’
Learn to read music
Learning to read music is a great way to test your knowledge of the musical notes and sharpen your ears for harmony. It can even be fun! It’s like learning a secret language that only musicians know.
Reading music can be challenging, but there are many resources available that can help you learn.
Learn to read tablature
Tablature is a simplified form of musical notation that’s used primarily for bass guitar, and it can be easier than reading standard music notation. It uses symbols or letters instead of numbers to indicate notes on the lines or spaces below the staff which show where fingers should go on each string in order to play a note.
Many musicians use tab as their main method of learning how to play songs they don’t know by ear. You may not see tabs labeled “Bass Guitar Tablature,” but just make sure you’re looking at something with four lines instead of six so you can get the right information!
Tabs are available all over the Internet Songsterr is one of our favourites.
Learn scales and chords
Learning bass scales and chords will allow for a greater control of the fretboard, make playing more expressive, and provide knowledge of chord progressions.
One way in which you can start developing your musical skills is by using different patterns to get from note to note or chord to another.
Practicing these different patterns may seem challenging at first, but with time it becomes easier.
When you first start learning scales for the bass guitar some of the most popular bass scales include whole tone, chromatic and pentatonic.
- Whole Tone Scale: The C major scale consists of all the white notes on a piano. For this particular scale, you would want to start with your first finger on any note in the key (C) and work up each consecutive note.
- Chromatic/Semi-Pentatonic Scales: These are only two of many kinds of scales that can be used for bass guitar playing but they’re among some of the more common ones that appear in Rock music (e.g., Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”). In these types of scales, have one finger always landing on every black key as you move from one note to the next.
- Pentatonic Scales: This type of scale has five notes per octave, and again is among one of the more common bass scales used in Rock music (e.g., Van Halen’s “Eruption”). With pentatonic scales, you will want to have two fingers on each note as you work your way up from C major.
- Major Scale: Again, this specific scale consists of all white keys on a piano but starts with any different starting point than Whole Tone or Chromatic/Semi-Pentatonics do since it includes an interval between every other pair of adjacent notes that are separated by three semitones each).
Learn whole songs on bass.
Learning whole songs on the bass and committing them to memory can be a great way to dive into the bass as well as your fretboard.
- Take some time and learn how whole songs are structured, not only on bass but also across all of the instruments in a band. This will help you get more familiar with chord changes and where melodies lie within that context, which is essential if you want to play along or improvise effectively at any given moment during performance.’
- Find out what scales they use so that you can confidently solo without worrying about ‘running out’ over an entire octave range. Although bass solos are seen less commonly in the wild there are some great examples such as the bass solo in the song ‘So Excited’ by The Pointer Sisters.
- When practicing bass solos try not to think of them as just small versions of guitar solos – they are, after all, much shorter but have their own unique challenges (such as lower register).
- Learning scales used in your favourite songs will also help you figure out what notes sound best against other instruments that might be doubling or adding harmony
Start sounding like the greats!
Whether it’s the jazzy slap bass of Victor Wooten or Marcus Miller, the heavy heavy groove of Rob Trujillo and Timmy Commerford or the rock icon Flea , there’s plenty of bassists you can look to as examples.
To start, we recommend starting out with the following: ‘Victor Wooten – Slap Bass Techniques’ and ‘Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) Style’. The first video is a great introduction for how to get started playing slap bass and what it sounds like. If you want more insight into Flea’s style, watch this video on his technique in general or search YouTube for “Flea bass solo” which will be an excellent example of why listening to what other instruments are doing while improvising is important too!
Maybe your hero was Stanley Clarke or James Jamerson? Or maybe Geddy Lee from Rush? The best way to find out what works best for you is to discover the tools and tones that others have used. You can find out what bass guitars they play, their preferred amp and effects pedals, the strings that they use (coated or un-coated), and any other equipment modifications.
After you get your gear sorted out it’s time to practice! We like these videos on technique: ‘How To Play Bass Guitar – Finger Technique’ for slapping up high with your thumb and fingers, this one from Justin Meyers for picking right hand patterns in general as well as using a pick while playing acoustic bass guitar live, Benny Greb for jazz techniques which teaches how to execute walking bass lines, double stops and more finger style licks . These are just some examples of different styles of music.
If you want an excellent example of slap bass you can listen to Bernard Edwards and Bootsy Collins from the band Parliament Funkadelic. If you want an excellent example of fretless bass guitar, give Jaco Pastorius a try!