“I would like to be part of a rock band, or any other band for that matter, but not have to practise for years before I can join”.
Easiest To Play
The Bass Guitar is probably the most accessible instrument in the guitar category. However, playing the bass on your own – without other instruments to play along with – can be a bit boring.
That’s why playing along with a rhythm track on CD – especially of your favourite band, or typing a chord sequence into “Band in a Box” is a great way to practice too!
Get a Good Set-up
Although the cost of a guitar and amplifier will set you back a little, depending on the quality, a good set-up will last for years.
Learn All The Notes
Knowing where all the notes are (sounds obvious but you’d be surprised!) and understanding chords and inversions are all part of being a good bass player.
Keeping The Beat
The bass isn’t just a melodic instrument but also plays a role in helping to keep a steady rhythm together with the bass drum. If you have a tendency to get faster, your drummer (if you play with one) will not be very happy!
Having a “good feel” that makes the beat sound steady and solid is what it’s all about.
Although it’s relatively easy to play the bass to an average standard, very good bass players are much sought after. Become an excellent player and you will be in demand – that’s for sure!
Some players use a plectrum or pick, others use their fingers to pluck the strings.
It often depends on personal choice whether you use a pick or your fingers – but most funk players will use their fingers to get the slap and other techniques associated with that genre.
There are two classic bass guitar types…
- One is the Fender Precision bass with one pickup and a wide scale neck.
- The other is a Fender Jazz bass which has a slightly longer and slimmer neck with two pickups.
It may be slightly easier for the beginner to learn on the precision owing to its shorter scale neck making it slightly easier to hold.
Both models can be found at a lower cost (non Fender) as they are made all around the world but as a Fender copy.
A bass guitar amp needs a bass guitar speaker owing to the low frequencies that would distort or blow a speaker meant for higher frequencies.
I remember once blowing the speakers of a lead guitar amp because general speakers just can’t cope – buy an amp specifically made for bass guitars.
They are slightly more expensive because they have to be more solidly built owing to the vibration – a good one, that’s not too heavy will keep you happy for years!
Learn To Read Notes and TAB
Being able to sight read music on the bass guitar is a very good skill to have but you will have to read from the bass clef – not difficult when you get used to it.
Regular practice is the key to learning every instrument to a high standard.
See also: Learn To Play Electric Guitar