A lot of bass players hate it when people ask them if learning how to play bass guitar is easy. To think about it, learning ANY kind of skill – be it cooking or swimming takes time. Let alone playing a musical instrument.
So yes, learning how to play any musical instrument such as the guitar, bass or drums, takes many years of study and hard work. A lot of people mistakenly believe that the bass guitar is easier to learn compared to the regular guitar. And while it may be true to some extent, understanding and mastering how to play well, practically any instrument takes plenty of effort. Some people might argue that it is even more difficult than a guitar.
How Long does it Take to Learn Bass Guitar?
To be honest, there’s no definitive answer to this question, it actually depends considerably on the individual. A new player, for instance, may begin to get the hang of things within just six months; however, to learn bass guitar inside and out along with mastery and skill of all the advanced techniques could take many years, even a lifetime. Bass guitar is more than merely a guitar with 2 fewer strings.
As a result, it has a very different scale length, tone, feel as well as musical role. Also, keep in mind that in several cases it also requires a quite different technical and conceptual approach. It is likely that a guitarist will have a much easier time hopping to the bass because they’ve familiarity and knowledge of how the fretboard works. That being said, if you are thinking about playing bass after guitar, it’s pretty much the one and only thing these instruments have in common, besides the possibility of using a pick.
Sometimes even a single lesson with a great bass teacher could put you on the right track and approach to learning. You should take the time to ask around and look up bass guitar teachers. Always keep in mind that at the end of the day, your willingness and ambition to learn this instrument (and perhaps your innate musical ability) would be the primary factors that will affect your overall progress when you are learning the bass guitar.
Ps. Looking for a good pair of open back headphones? Check out my AKG K701 review.
Tips to Learn and Play Bass Guitar
There are some general tips that you can use when playing the bass. Apply these guidelines to the instrument, and you will hear your playing improve considerably. These tips will also help you learn the instrument faster.
Use Fifths and Octaves
The fifth and the octave are perhaps the most harmonically agreeable notes you could play. It is worth noting that many classic and popular bass guitar lines have been created using mostly octaves, roots, and fifths as the main framework.
One of the best things about this technique is that it will allow you to construct a bass line that is both melodic and interesting. It will also lock in well with the drums and not harmonically clash with the basic chords.
Play for the Song
In most cases, solid bass guitar playing requires that you show subtlety and exercise restraint rather than showcasing your slick moves and technique. More often than not, it is best to work primarily with all the root notes of the chords while locking in properly with the drummer’s kick as well as snare drums.
Note that many people actually prefer to have a bass player that uses a pick as the attack is usually more even. That being said, if you are a fingerstyle bass player and are looking to pull off a much more consistent attack, then try to use only one finger, like the index (rather than alternating between the middle and index finger) as much you can.
Online Bass Lessons
You can find online bass guitar lessons on many different platforms. They can also be formatted very differently. Nevertheless, they offer a convenient and affordable way to learn this instrument. It is worth mentioning that YouTube is a great source, and usually the first stop for most new players as it is free!
You will be glad to know that there’re many amazing channels that are dedicated to bass guitar lessons and helpful reviews that explain topics very clearly.
There’re popular lesson sites like Jamplay.com that provide structure while following a logical order, usually in a convenient course format. This means you should not end up in a bass lesson that’s too advanced for you. Rather, start with some beginner bass video lessons and then move up from there.
There is no denying that books are also a great tool to learn bass guitar basics, but quite frankly, they are underrated at this point. Online lesson services and YouTube have kind of overshadowed this useful method of learning bass and music in general.
It’s vital to mention that there’s a great chance that one or more of your favorite bass players learned through books. That is because back then there was no internet.
So, Who Should Learn How to Play the Bass Guitar?
It’s my personal experience that starting off on a bass guitar is much easier for students. You can always work your way up to a guitar. Plus, don’t undermine the importance of a bass player. We’re pretty awesome and it’s safe to say that no band would ever be complete without us.
Despite its reputation, playing bass guitar is not easy. However, there are definitely ways you could make learning fun and easy. You just have to be patient. Take full advantage of online bass lessons as they provide you with convenience and are among the cheapest way to get started.
Although there’s no concrete answer to the popular question “how long does it take to learn bass guitar?”, if you dedicate yourself, take full advantage of the resources which are available to you, and correctly practice, you will get the hang of it in no time.
Is there something you’d like to add? Let me know in the comments section below.