Bass guitar

Get a beginner’s guide to embarking on your bass guitar journey

JThe bass guitar is perhaps the most fascinating stringed instrument which is ubiquitous in most songs but does not overwhelm any melody. It’s just right and amply used in music adds the right bass essence that fills the void in tracks. Although the instrument is mainly used in heavy metal and hard rock, its influence has spread to all musical genres with an increase in the number of bassists around the world.

While it is always recommended to take lessons from an experienced instructor in the field, it is also possible to learn on your own. Obviously, it would take a lot of time and effort to do this since you’re doing a DIY approach. Before going any further, let’s get down to business.

  1. Practical, practical and practical

The famous saying, “Practice makes a man perfect” holds true whenever you’re trying to master something. To start, focus on the chord tones and patterns. The chord notes are mainly the first note, the third note and the fifth. In the case of C major, these are C, E and G. In some music, you will also find the B flat. Try to choose a chord each week and master the notes because most bass lines are composed with it. You can try composing your own bass lines.

  1. Learn to cut completely

Since a bass line is made up of many individual notes, it must be played cleanly to achieve a clear composition. When a string continues to vibrate, it overlaps the next note. Therefore, learn to cut the strings below the note you are playing. You can use your fretting hand to cut the strings above the note. Make sure you only have one channel ringing while the other three are muted. It takes patience and effort to learn to swipe every time, not at the right time. So don’t be in a rush and try to concentrate more without getting frustrated.

Image credit – lessons to follow
  1. The metronome is king

No matter what type of guitar you are proficient in, a metronome is the most important item for any beginner. It helps to improve rhythm and master the notion of time in music. Bass players are the ones who help create the link between the drum beats and the guitar sections. Being part of the rhythm section, you would be forced to play in time and be in tune with everyone. This can only be done by practicing notes with the metronome. You start with a slow tempo and eventually go faster with your practice.

  1. Pull-off and Hammer-on

These are the two most commonly used tricks to create more complicated dynamic bass lines.

  • Hammer – pluck a string while the note is still vibrating and press your finger on the string to play a higher note by plucking it again.
  • Remove – It is a more complicated style and works the opposite of the hammer. Pluck a string to play a higher note and lift a finger to play a lower note.

With this method, you can play more notes in sequence more quickly without overlapping them.

hammer
Image Credit – fender
  1. learn tabs

Tablature notation or tabs help to learn songs and bassline faster and error free. Tabs are displayed horizontally with the lowest channel at the bottom and the highest at the top. Usually the thickest string is the lowest and the thinnest string is the highest. On the tabs, the notes are indicated by numbers. With a simple Google search, you can find famous track tabs and practice understanding them. Start with simpler tabs and eventually expand your skills to try out the complicated tabs.

  1. Knowledge is crucial

Even if you know the basics, you need to improve your knowledge to become a master bassist. Learn music theory and notation to play better. However, it depends on whether you play for friends or want to pursue a career as a bass player. Make sure you are not only brushing up your skills, but also your knowledge.

  1. The importance of warming up

Bass playing is not an exercise but there is a lot of hand and finger movement. This is why a minimum of 20 minutes of warm-up is necessary in order to play smoothly without tiredness or fatigue. Gently stretch your arms and wrists to make them run smoothly.

  1. Invest daily time in music

Spending time for music doesn’t necessarily mean you have to play bass guitar every day, but something about music. You can watch videos on YouTube, read books on music or study some bassists for inspiration. Here’s how to dedicate part of your daily life to preparing to play bass.

Bass guitar
Image credit: Yamaha

“It’s the bass that makes them dance.” Learning the bass guitar is rocket science. If you put your heart and dedication into it, you can get people dancing without breaking a sweat. Follow the tips above and embark on your journey.