Bass Blog

Check here for regular bass tips, articles, and information on bass player culture.

Friday, June 23, 2017

"How to Play the Bass Guitar"


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Maybe you’ve been listening to your favorite song, and the thought finally hit you: you want to learn the bass guitar. Maybe learning to play bass guitar is something that you’ve always wanted to do because you've always wanted to be on stage. Perhaps your friend is getting a band together, and they need a bass player and you want to be the one to carry that part. Regardless of the reasons you want to learn the bass guitar, these tips below are certain to help you learn it successfully, have fun rocking out to your favorite songs, and maybe even write your own music sooner than you think.

Listen to Music

The first thing that you must do to learn the bass guitar is to listen to music. This may seem like an odd and obvious suggestion, because most people who want to learn to play an instrument can’t stop listening to music. They are constantly trying to find the latest artist offering a new voice to the music scene, or they may be enjoying some of the classic old school rock and roll that will never die. Most musicians, no matter their skill level, will always feel as though they will never have listened to enough music. Listen to music you love, as well as genres that you wouldn’t normally gravitate towards. Listen specifically for the bass part and how it contributes to the entirety of the song: when the bass is heard on the surface of the song and when it is in the background.

Learn from the Pros

Educate yourself on great bass players, both past and present. Find out those who are considered revolutionary or influential in their playing style, the music they created, and their playing philosophy. Pay attention to the complexity or simplicity of their bass lines and how it contributes to the overall composition of their band’s music. Also, watch videos of the greats playing to observe their technique, playing styles, and stage presence. You may want to listen to music by your favorite bass guitar musician or band whether or not they are considered one of the greats; figure out what you like about their style and put that in your arsenal for developing your own playing style, skills, and philosophy.

Go to Shows

Like our suggestion for listening to music, going to shows may seem like an obvious thing to do to learn the bass guitar. However, we also understand how busy life can be and how the things we are passionate about are often our last priority. Go to shows of your favorite bands, other genres of music, famous artists, and local bands. You will not only get a first hand look at bass players, how they play, and contribute to a show, but also you will gain inspiration that can fuel the discipline and motivation for learning the bass guitar. Going to shows is a great opportunity to meet other musicians and people who are passionate about music.


Consistency is key for learning the bass guitar. You must dedicate time to practice several days a week, if not everyday. Consistency will help you retain fingerings, note names, and will continue to not only create muscle memory, but also enhance finger agility to move up and down the fretboard easily. Playing everyday will also cause you to develop needed calluses so that playing your instrument is comfortable. To make progress in your playing ability that will allow you to play with others and enjoy it, you must schedule time each week for practicing your bass guitar.

Educate Yourself

To learn the bass guitar well, you should educate yourself on the basic construction of your bass: how it generates sound, what affects the type of sound produced, and the options you have in the type of instruments you play. So much affects how a bass guitar sounds: string gauge, wood type, humidity, etcetera. Learn about the various type of basses available. Also learn about the tell-tale signs that your bass needs maintenance, such as when the strings need to be replaced, or when the pickups need adjustment or maintenance. When you learn about what makes your bass sound the way it does, you can easily find ways to customize your instrument for the sound and style you prefer.


Finally, to learn the bass guitar, you should take lessons from a professional musician. Though you can still learn to a degree by teaching yourself, instruction from a professional player will not only make sure that you are playing your instrument correctly, but can give you “shortcuts” for the difficulties that you specifically may be having. Lessons are also a great way to stay accountable. If you know you must report to a teacher, not being a disappointment to them by not practicing will add motivation for making practicing a priority. Learning to play an instrument can often feel overwhelming at first, but having an instructor to guide you can not only take away this feeling, but make the time you spend playing and practicing is more purposeful to get you to your goal of playing the bass guitar.

Ready to Get Started?

Are you ready to learn how to play bass? Start today to learn the bass guitar online with Low End Univeristy! We offer online bass lessons that can not only help you learn how to play your instrument, but also become the musician you are meant to be. Learning the bass guitar online with us gives you access to multi-angle, high definition lesson videos, a community members forum, regular Q&A videos, instruction by professional bass players, individual lesson critiques, bass-less backing tracks to play along with, and so much more. Learn more about our monthly lesson plans, about our founder Mark Michell, and all that you need to know so you can learn the bass guitar online with Low End Univeristy. Start learning how to play like a rockstar today!