Are you interested in music? Do you want to be a bass player? If so, read on and learn to play the bass, a unique instrument perfect for rhythm and groove lovers.
In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about playing a bass guitar. Thus, you will be able to take your first steps in practicing the instrument and dive into the study of the four strings.
Bass is a soul of a rhythm
The bass serves as accompaniment and connection between the elements of a band. The bass player is related to the rhythm of the drums and the harmony and melody of the guitars, vocals, and keyboards. Thus, even though bass plays the fundaments of melody, it sometimes requires a complex understanding of music and rhythm theory.
How to play the bass? Where to start
Before we dive into the practical advice, it’s important to highlight that there are a few things that you need to consider. Don’t get discouraged if it seems like it feels challenging. All you need is dedication and willpower to achieve your musical goals. So, stay focused and get to work!
Learn the instrument
Before you buy your first bass, do some research regarding bass types – it’ll help you understand what type of instrument will suit your needs. Especially since different types of bass pickups have different
characteristics of the sound. Also, some basses have a so-called push-pull system used to change the signal and toggle between active and passive pickups.
Something that all basses have is a jack input – a P10-type connector, that transfers the sound via cable, to an amplifier. By the way, this is another important element, since without amplification it wouldn’t be possible to hear the bass.
Choose the bass you want to buy
There are many bass types on the market, for that reason, it’s advisable to be well-informed before making your choice. Some bass instruments, like acoustic bass, don’t even need an amplifier, because they’re a mix of bass and acoustic guitar.
The Best Bass Models for Beginners
There are different types of electric basses available, differing in the number of strings and the fingerboard’s characteristics. Some basses come without frets on their fingerboard, which can have benefits for the sound quality but may pose a challenge in locating the notes.
If you want perfect advice on what bass to buy, watch the video below:
Learn the fundamental principles of music theory
Even if you’re not a big fan of music theory, it’s crucial to understand it when it comes to playing any instrument. This means that learning a little bit about music theory is essential to playing the bass well. For instance, the bass guitar combines rhythm with harmony and melody, thus it’s important to understand these concepts. Start by learning the note names and get familiar with chords and scales.
Keep in mind that to play the bass, it’s not necessary to know how to read sheet music. That’s because you can learn the songs through tablature.
To read the tablature, you should first learn the names of the strings. On a 4-string bass guitar, the strings are named E, A, D, and G from top to bottom. A 5-string bass guitar adds a B string on top of the others, and a 6-string bass guitar adds another higher E string.
After that, you need to number the frets on the bass guitar fretboard, starting from the top, near where the tuners are. The frets are the small metal bars that divide the fingerboard of the instrument. A tablature will provide you with information about which string to play and where to press the fingers of your left hand. Also, another very important musical concept is intervals, which can help you understand chords and scales.
Practice with a metronome – download Camtronome
Now that you have a basic understanding of music theory, it’s time to apply it to your bass guitar. A great way to start is by practicing rhythm with a metronome. Since the bass guitar plays a crucial role in keeping the rhythm of a song, it’s recommended to use a metronome in all your practices. Thus, we recommend downloading Camtronome – this genius and one of the best metronome apps will help you with your daily practice. Setting tempo is easy and convenient, and thanks to the video recording option, you can see if you made any mistakes, or if your playing was on time.
Learn about various bass techniques
When playing the bass, it’s common to use only the index and middle fingers of the right hand, and this technique is known as pizzicato. However, there are other important approaches to playing, such as the slap technique, which involves hitting the bass string with a thumb – that produces an interesting sound.
Also, to successfully read tablature and understand certain movements of the left hand, you should also learn about the hammer-on technique -it’s when you pluck a string and then press it down at a new fret without creating a new rhythm. This changes the sound of the string and gives the impression that you’ve played another string. In tablature notation, this movement is represented by the letter h.
Also, it’s worth mentioning that as a bass player, you can play with your fingers or with a pick.
Choose your repertoire
First, search the Internet for tablatures and video lessons for songs that you like and that are easy to play. Investing your time in practicing them is the best way to develop your bass skills.
Practice a lot and don’t give up!
To become a great bassist, it’s important to practice consistently and not give up. Only with time and dedication can you achieve this. Focus on your studies and watch how great bassists work to get inspired and learn new techniques. And who knows? One day, your name might be up there with the best of them.
Can you be a self-taught, yet great bass player?
Of course! Follow the above-mentioned tips on how to play the bass, and you’ll have a good foundation to develop further bass skills on your own. But, of course, you should keep in mind that learning how to play requires much time, effort, and dedication.