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Basics of Bass Guitar Playing

Basics of Bass Guitar Playing


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Basics of Bass Guitar Playing

Hi Fellow Bass Guitarists, First of all, we must forget everything weve ever thought about how complicated playing music is. I compare it to math anxiety Many people fear music and think that it takes a genius to be a good musician. To be a master it might take a genius, but to play songs on the bass guitar, sound good and have a great time is only a lesson or two away! I have been playing and teaching music professionally for many years and was a child piano prodigy myself. I play and teach: piano, guitar, bass, flute and drums. I have taught many friends and family members how to get started playing songs on the guitar practically overnight. When you are dedicated enough and passionate about learning the bass guitar, it comes a lot easier than you may think. My fiance is also excelling at the guitar and the bass guitar since Ive shown her a few methods and tricks. I hope this gives you the kick start you need to get started rockin and rollin! Enjoy. To Your Bass Guitar Playing Success, Paul Gian
All rights reserved. No part of this report shall be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author. No patent liability is assumed with respect to the use of the information contained herein. While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this report, the author assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of information contained in this publication. Note: This publication contains the opinions and ideas of its author. It is intended to provide helpful and informative material on the subject matter covered. If the reader requires personal assistance or advice, a competent professional should be consulted. In no event shall the author be liable for any loss or damages caused or alleged to have been caused directly or indirectly by this publication.

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Basics of Bass Guitar Playing

1. What is a Bass Guitar?

A bass guitar is like a guitar, but with only the lowest four strings. The strings are thicker and give you a lower sound than a guitar. The other difference with a bass is how it's played. The bass player's job is (usually) to "hold down the bottom end" and provide a "groove".

What's that mean?

Well, first, it means your part in the sound mix is the low range -- you're giving it the deep sounds. Second, you're part of the rhythm section! That's right; if you play bass you stick with the drummer. Together with the drummer, you provide a rhythmic base for the other instruments to play with: a groove. The groove you try to achieve is going to be much different depending on whether you're playing jazz, punk, country, pop, heavy metal, or any other style!

Anatomy of a Bass Guitar

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Basics of Bass Guitar Playing

Lets Learn The Bass Guitar

Grab your Bass! I am assuming that prior to reading this you have a pretty good idea of how to hold a bass guitar and pluck the strings either with your finger(s) or with a guitar pick. If not heres the rundown: (For Lefties, Do everything opposite i.e left upper thigh etc.)

Playing the bass for hours can strain your back if you do not maintain an upright posture. Pick up your guitar and place the back of the guitar against your stomach. If you are right handed, the bass guitar neck should be pointing towards your left. Rest the body on your right upper thigh.

Now place your left hand around the neck and place your right arm around the body so that your hand is lying by the strings. Adjust your body positioning so that you are completely comfortable.

Hand Positioning on Bass Guitar

If you're left-handed, don't worry. You have two options here. The first option is to buy a right-handed guitar and re-string it, so that the order of the strings in figure 3 is reversed. The second option you have is to buy a left-handed guitar.

If you're right handed, you will use your left hand to construct chords.

The left hand fingers are bent and pressing down on the strings on the fret board. The back of the neck is curved, so that your hand molds into the shape of the neck. Your thumb is arching aver the top of the neck. This is a common thumb position for constructing chords.

It is also ok to press your thumb into the back of the neck when playing. Copyright 2011 by

Basics of Bass Guitar Playing

Right Hand / Right Arm

This is the hand that you will use to "pluck" the strings to make the different sounds/notes. Rest/Lie your right arm over the bass. Your right bicept should be resting on the top of the body of the bass. Your hand should be positioned directly above the pickups.

You don't strum a bass like a guitar:

You pluck, pick, pop, tap or slap the strings. Many bassists play strictly with their fingers, while others use a pick. This is not only a personal preference, but also affects what kinds of sounds you can get from your bass. For example, most punkers use a pick, while most jazzers use their fingers. Plucking with the fingers is probably most common. And if you're looking to get funky, you're going to want to learn how to slap and pop!

Using a Pick

You should grasp the pick between your thumb and forefinger of your right hand. A lot of bass players do not use picks. It is more common to play with your index and middle finger of your right hand (if you are a righty!)

Fretting, Plucking, and Picking

After getting to know how to play the guitar, it is now time to learn and perfect your performing techniques. Performing techniques incorporate fretting, plucking and picking. There are a few tips that you should know when fretting.

Firstly, always press the string down firmly when playing a note. If the string is not firmly pressed down, the sound produced will not be clear. You should also have all your fingernails trimmed. You will not be able to hold down the string firmly with long fingernails. Copyright 2011 by

Basics of Bass Guitar Playing

Playing Notes

The next thing that you need to learn is how to play the notes. Plucking of the strings will produce distinct notes according to their varying degrees of thickness. The top most string produces the E note while the corresponding strings produce notes A, D, and G respectively.

Constant practice is required for you to produce the best quality sound. Mastering the notes leads us to the lesson on playing the scales. There are three types of scales namely the chromatic, the major and the minor pentatonic scales. The chromatic scales are the most popular. They incorporate twelve notes. The major scales incorporate seven notes while the minor scales use five notes.

As a student, you also need to learn how to recognize rhythm. This you will learn progressively as you listen to music and play in a group.

How to Tune Your Bass Guitar

Well since I don't know exactly how many strings are on your bass guitar I shall present you with different options, namely, 4-string, 5 string, 6 string, and 7 string basses. First of all we shall look at the standard tuning of bass guitars.

The standard tuning of a four string bass guitar from highest (thinnest string) to lowest (fattest string) is G-D-A-E.

On a five string bass the tunings are similar with the addition of a low B string.

On a six string bass guitar, a thinner (higher pitched) string is added, and is tuned to C. In other words on a 6 string bass guitar the settings are B-E-A-D-G-C, where B is the fattest string or lowest note and C the highest and thinnest.

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Basics of Bass Guitar Playing

On a 7-string bass a high F-string is added. The settings on a 7-string bass are B-E-A-DG-C-F where B is the lowest and F the highest.

Tuning your bass is all about matching the pitch of your instrument to that of a bass guitar tuner, pitch pipe, tuning fork or a correctly tuned piano or keyboard. If you do not have a tuner or keyboard instrument, you can find an online tuner by doing a search.

Now all you have to do is match the pitch of the strings to the corresponding notes on your tuner. Hopefully your ears are sufficiently developed (musically), for you to hear this. When the note on your bass is the same as that of your tuner, the vibration patterns will match and you will hear no wah-wah-wah sound when you play the two notes. There will be no clash between the two notes.

So how do you tune your bass?

Loosen the string and tune up to the correct note. In other words your string should be well below the correct pitch and only then do you begin to tighten. That way you avoid breakage by tightening the string too much. Listen carefully to make sure the two pitches match and that there is no wah-wah-wah or clashing sound between the two notes.

As long as the notes are in sync, you will hear no wah-wah-wah sound. But if you pass the in tune point, you will begin to hear that undesired sound again, and it means that you will have to loosen on the string a little until you get back to the in tune point.

Tune all your strings one by one by matching the sound of the strings to the corresponding note on your tuner.

Tuning your bass is not hard. But as with any other instrument it involves practice. And of course, practice makes perfect. After a while you may find that you do not even have to rely on an electronic tuner to tune your bass. Hope you found this guide useful. Good luck. Copyright 2011 by

Basics of Bass Guitar Playing

What is Bass Guitar Tab?!?

It is an alternative way of reading music. Instead of reading notes on staff paper which can be quite tricky, it is made up of a number system that is so easy my grandma can play smoke on the water with ease!! NO joke. The following 4 lines do not represent your typical music staff which actually has 5 lines. These 4 lines represent the 4 strings on your bass guitar. The Top Line represents the thinnest or highest pitched string on your bass. The string that is closest to the floor. The bottom Line represents the LOWEST SOUNDING String on the bass and this one is the thickest. It also is the closest to the ceiling.


High String (Closest to Floor) ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ Low String (Thickest) _____________________________________________

String # ____________________________________________________ 1 ____________________________________________________ 2 ____________________________________________________ 3 ____________________________________________________ 4 NOW..

This is what blank Bass Tab looks like. Right now all you see are the 4 lines (4 Strings) I know youre thinking why is it upside down? I have no idea. Thats how Tablature was Copyright 2011 by

Basics of Bass Guitar Playing invented. Just imagine the bottom line as being the top string thats closest to you. With that out of the way we can work on our next keyword. Frets I am sure you have heard this term before: Frets. If not, they are the metal strips that go up and down across the fingerboard of the guitar. They separate the notes (tones) on the guitar/bass. When you place your finger (from your left hand) in between two frets and hold down the string you are then prepared to strum or pick the string with your right hand. Strings arent meant to only be played open. When you hold down a string at a given fret what you are actually doing is making the string shorter, thus making the pitch Higher and changing the note (or tone). There are usually about 20 something frets on a standard bass guitar. It doesnt make a big difference if you have 20, 22, or 24 frets on your guitar. This just means that you can play a couple notes higher on the guitar and those notes are so high pitched they are pretty annoying to listen to anyway! You will stay in the lower range of the bass most of the time. Now lets get this Higher and Lower thing straight. In music, the musical notes (tones, pitches, whatever you call them) are changed by pitch. We all know that pitch means the frequency of sound so something high pitched would be like an opera singing lady who breaks a wine glass with a super high note. A Low pitch is similar to a Bass instrument or a man with a really deep voice. Deep is the same as Low when talking about pitch. On a slide whistle you blow into it and move the slide up and down to change the pitch. The closer you bring the slide to you the higher the pitch gets and vice versa.

On the bass however it is not up and down. It is left to right. When you play a string open, which is the lowest (deepest) sound you will hear produced from that string. As soon as you place your finger on the First Fret and then strike the same string again the

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Basics of Bass Guitar Playing


pitch will be slightly higher. The more you move to the right the higher the pitch will get. (Because the string length is getting shorter!)

There are usually dots on the fingerboard of your bass guitar to act as a guide when moving around and holding down different frets. Normally they are on the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th and 12th frets.

*TIP*: You dont want to put your finger on the metal fret itselfbut just slightly to the left of it produces the best sound.

Lets Play Already!!!

Ok, Ok. Now we know what frets are and how to play a note (playing either an open string, or pressing down a fret on that string and then plucking it). We also know what a Blank TAB music looks like. Lets learn how to read TAB and how it will help you.

The Lines represent the strings. The NUMBERS represent the Frets. ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ _0_3_5_0_3_6_5______________________________________

Music (and TAB) is read from left to right like English. The TAB above tells you to play on the Low string only (the thickest string) You know this because the numbers are only written on that string (the bottom line) The number 0 means to play the string open. Then the number 3 means place your index finger of your left hand and hold down the 3rd fret on the low string (same string you played open). This is then followed by the 5th fret and so on. Copyright 2011 by

Basics of Bass Guitar Playing


This is the main riff to the popular song Smoke on the Water. If you are unfamiliar with this song you can see it and view at on Youtube. Type in Smoke on the Water. this way you will know what it sounds like before you attempt to play it by reading it above. So if you play the string open (just pluck the string without touching it with your left hand) and then the 3rd fret and then the 5th and then open again, and then the 3rd fret 6th fret and 5th fretyou have you have just played smoke on the water! Try this next songEVERYBODY Knows the tune from Mary Had a Little Lamb so you shouldnt have any trouble with it. Mary Had a Little Lamb

____________________________________________________ high string ____________________________________________________ _____________________________2_2____________________ _4_2_0_2__4_4_4__2_2_2__4__________________________ LOW String

The first 4 notes (4,2,0,2) sound like ma-ry had a and then the three 4s (444) sounds like lit-tle lamb and then again with three 2s (222) is again lit-tle lamb and then the 4 on the low string and the two 2s on the next string sound like the final lit-tle lamb

Notice how the last two notes are on the next string. This would be the second string from the closest string to you. It is also the second thickest string on the guitar. REMEMBER: With TAB you must already be familiar with the melody and rhythm of the song because even though the TAB shows you which notes to play to make the song, it does not show you how long to hold each note in order to make the song sound right. Copyright 2011 by

Basics of Bass Guitar Playing For example, reading the above song Mary Had a Little Lamb by just playing all the notes in a row without giving the proper time for each note would not sound very much like that song at all! You know to put a pause in between little lamb and the next little lamb. Also, you know that the last lamb is held for a slightly longer amount of time than the rest. Learn to Play Amazing Grace


In this bass guitar lesson you will play the melody in the second position. That means that you play all the notes on the second fret with your index finger, the notes on the third fret with your middle finger and so on.

I will write down the lyrics to the song Amazing Grace one line at a time. Below every line I will give you the corresponding melody written with tablature notation as previously explained. Let us start with the first line:

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound


That saved a wretch like me


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I once was lost but now am found


Was blind, but now I see


I suggest that you learn the melody by heart and practice it using the previously mentioned fingerings.

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Basics of Bass Guitar Playing


Music Scales on Bass Guitar

Here is a scale study for the bass guitar. This will sound like (Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La-TiDo) It is known as the Major Scale and plays a HUGE part in music in general. This scale is also a great finger strengthening exercise for the guitar player and requires you to play on three strings.

Frets # 3 and 5 on the LOW string. Followed by Frets # 2, 3 and 5 on the very next string. Lastly, frets # 2, 4, 5 on the 3rd string. Executed correctly it should sound like Do-Re-MiFa-Sol-La-Ti-Do.

____________________________________________________ high string _____________2_4_5__________________________________ ______2_3_5_________________________________________ _3_5________________________________________________ LOW String

It has even been said that the level of your scale playing pretty much determines the level of your bass playing overall! I have designed these exercises to help you to develop a more accurate sense of rhythm and to improve the speed and agility of your bass guitar scales.

Before you begin to play the exercises, you might want to set your metronome at 60 and practice clapping each of these rhythm--2 notes per beat, 3 notes per beat, and 4 notes per beat. The exercises consist of playing your scales with a metronome in each of these rhythms. Here is how to play them:

1. Set the metronome for 60 beats per minute. Choose a scale (pentatonic minor is a good one to begin with) and play the scale all the way through TWICE using eighth notes. This means that you play 2 notes for every metronome beat.

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Basics of Bass Guitar Playing


2. Leave the metronome set for 60 bpm and play the scale THREE times completely using triplets. The first note of each triplet must be accented (played more loudly). This means that you play 3 notes for every metronome beat. This exercise forces you to play the notes a little faster than the eighth note exercise. You may slow the metronome down if you wish. The important thing is that you choose a tempo at which you can play the exercise PERFECTLY.

Important Note: The mathematics of this exercise work out so that you must play the scale through 3 times before the accent will again fall on the beginning note. That is one reason why this exercise is so beneficial. Be patient and practice this exercise until you can play it all the way through the three repetitions without mistakes.

3. Play the scale four times completely through using sixteenth notes. This means that you must play 4 notes for each metronome beat. Again, if 60 bpm is too fast, slow it down to a tempo at which you can play the exercise perfectly. We play this exercise four time through , not only to increase your speed, but also to build your endurance--your ability to play faster for longer periods of time.

The goal is to be able to play all three of the exercises at 100 beats per minute. When you are able to do that, it will be fairly easy to further increase the tempo. Here is a suggestion for advanced practice: Try to play all the way through all three exercises without stopping in between. When you do this, the last note of the eighth note exercise will become the first note of the triplet exercise. The lst note of the triplet exercise will be the first notes of the sixteenth note exercise.

Practice these exercises faithfully and you will be amazed at the difference in your bass guitar playing!

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Basics of Bass Guitar Playing


More songs to learn: Boogie Woogie Bass Line!:

____________________________________________________ high string ____________________________________________________ ______2_4_5__4_2____________2_4_5_4_2_______________ _0_4______________4____0_4______________4___________ LOW String

As stated in the beginning of this report, it is not intended for you to become a master overnight. But, with this information and the fabulous world of the internet and countless resources available you can take this as far as you want. Many famous musicians to this day do not know how to read music and 99% of them know TAB and can learn a song or solo quickly by reading the TAB.

There are SO many FREE websites that have the TAB to almost every song! Go to Google and type in Bass Guitar Tab for (song you want to learn) and it will surely pop right up. Remember that the bottom line is the strings closest to you DONT let that fool you. The TOP Line is the guitar string closest to the floor. We didnt even play on that string this lesson.

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Basics of Bass Guitar Playing


Amazing Bass Guitar Lessons: Teach Myself Bass Guitar

Learn how to play with step-by-step bass guitar lessons supported by video and audio files. Teach Myself Bass Guitar takes you on a journey from beginner to advanced levels in your bass guitar playing. These video lessons are amazing, they have been professionally recorded and edited and are guaranteed to be more stylish and useful than anything you will find. There is no substitute for seeing and hearing how something is supposed to be played. You'll discover the most effective ways to practice so that you master new material quickly, without developing bad habits. Learn to play the bass guitar smoothly and flawlessly, while cutting your learning time in half! Discover how to master impressive skills, such as the various fingering techniques, how to play by ear, arpeggios, including how to play Jazz, reggae, swing and much much more! You WILL NOT waste hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on expensive bass guitar lessons. You will learn all of the tips and tricks. You even get sounds files (AND video) so you can play along. And, unlike a bass guitar teacher, you can repeat each song or riff over and over again until you get it correct and professional sounding.

Teach Myself Bass Guitar is THE BEST bass guitar course on the market.

Click Here Now For Instant Access!

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Basics of Bass Guitar Playing


How to Practice Bass Guitar

One of the most important things you can do is to learn how to practice effectively. Many bass players have no clue how to practice for maximum results. They spend hours and hours practicing with no real effect. Well, I have learned through much trial and error what works. I now know how to practice the right way and I can learn new techniques very fast. So read this article carefully because it will make a huge difference in your progress on bass guitar! Make sure you play with good technique Whenever you are playing bass guitar, you should make sure you are using good technique. If you do not, you will become used to bad technique and it will become a habit. We want to avoid that at all cost. So always pay close attention to good technique and make it a habit! Use a metronome If you use a metronome to practice, you will develop faster than without one. One of the most important things for a bass player is a great sense of time. A metronome will help you develop your sense of time. Find a speed that is really comfortable to play at and practice your technique. Slowly speed up the speed over time. Always make sure it is comfortable for you. If you try to play to fast, your technique will suffer. We never want to sacrifice technique for speed. You should always take care to make sure you are not playing too fast to play properly. Keep a Record Keep a record of how fast you can play to encourage you. If you keep a record, then you will be able to see your progress on paper and see exactly how fast you are improving. This will have a great motivational effect on you. Many people do not enjoy keeping a record but I promise you that it will help you!

Bass Guitar Maintenance

It is important to look after your guitar properly to prevent excessive wear and tear and premature aging; keeping your instrument clean is the first step for every beginner or expert in keeping your guitar in top playing condition. Basic guitar maintenance is within reach of every beginner and the cornerstone of a good guitarist.

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Basics of Bass Guitar Playing


Essential items to keep in your carry case

Keep a couple of soft clean cloths in your carry case along with super-fine grade steel wool, a new set of strings, some polishing oil, wire cutters, a small artists paintbrush, a medium-sized adjustable wrench and perhaps a string-winder.

The clean cloths are for wiping your guitar down, the steel wool is for cleaning your frets, the new set of strings for replacing worn out strings, the polishing oil for keeping the guitar in pristine looking condition, the wire cutters for cutting off the ends of your new strings when you re-string your guitar, the art brush for cleaning the dust from hard to reach places like in the corners of the bridge, the adjustable wrench for tightening up the nut in the tuners, and the string-winder (not absolutely essential) can be used for winding on new strings. These items are good for an electric or acoustic guitar although you should have other items for your electric guitar such as: a deep socket, allen wrenches, and an assortment of screw-drivers.

Clean your guitar after you play and when you re-string

Your guitar will get dirty really quickly. Dirt and sweat will transfer to the fretboard and your strings when you play so it is important to clean your instrument often; the strings will sound better when clean. Try washing your hands before you play to reduce the build up of grime on the strings. Always give your instrument a wipe down with a clean soft cloth when you finish especially the strings. You can slip the cloth under the strings and give the fretboard a good wipe down. When you re-string give your guitar a wipe down from the headstock to the bridge.

Extreme temperatures

A guitar does not like extreme temperatures. Be careful never to leave the guitar in direct sunlight, in the car during winter or summer for any length of time or stored in the garage for a lengthy period even in a carry case. Keep your instrument away from extreme heat, Copyright 2011 by

Basics of Bass Guitar Playing


cold, moisture or dry air. Watch the humidity; 45-55% is regarded by many as the best condition for your guitar.

Protect your guitar

Protect your instrument from sharp objects especially personal objects such as rings, watches, and belt buckles. When you are travelling with your instrument always use a carry case - I always carry my guitar on-board a plane - not sure whether that still applies today. Stow the instrument in the carry case or in a stand when not in use.

When do you re-string?

It really depends how often and for how long you play in each session, but when the strings sound a bit dull they need replacing. If you see dull spots on any part of the strings - replace them. If the strings are frayed - replace them. If they look flat - replace them.

Clean the frets and fretboard

Use a very fine grade steel wool to rub your frets down to make them shiny and smooth; but make sure you protect the fretboard. You can make up a small cardboard template with slots that covers maybe three frets at one time. The template will expose the frets but protect the fretboard from scratching. When you re-string the guitar, wipe the fretboard with a clean cloth; follow that with a rub down with oil; some guitarists use woodwind bore oil. If the strings are still on the guitar, slip the cloth under the strings and wipe the fretboard and body down.

The body, neck and headstock

Wipe the entire surface of the body with a soft clean cloth and then give it a polish with high gloss polish. Pay attention to any loose tuners on the headstock when you give it a

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clean. Don't forget to clean the neck. Use a small paint brush to clean the dust around the bridge area.

Final comments basic guitar maintenance

A well-tuned, clean guitar is a pleasure to hold and play. When you look after your guitar and keep it clean you will extend the life of your instrument. These basic guitar maintenance tips can be applied to both electric and acoustic bass guitars.

Checklist Before You Buy Bass Guitar

Before you buy bass guitar there are some things you need to think about first. You will be parting with your hard earned money so you should be careful with your choice. To get more value out of your dollars you have to do your research in choosing the best bass guitar in the market. Here are tips to help you out.


If you spot something you like out of the rack or even in online stores, once you get your hands on the equipment, you should not hesitate to fiddle or play with it. This will give you a feeling whether or not the guitar is meant for you. You should never forget to do this before you buy.


If the feel of the guitar is alright with you, then you should proceed with the inspection. Make sure that the guitar is brand new. It should not have any dents or cracks. Check for scratches at the front as well as at the back of the instrument.

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Neck Test

Test the strength of the guitar neck before you buy bass guitar. Angle it in a way that you can see if the neck is straight or not. The fret board should be made evenly for comfortable placement of the finger when playing the chord. Speaking of frets, the string should have the ideal distance from the board itself for easy maneuvering of the chords. The bolt on the neck should also be aligned properly.

Nuts and Bolts

Every details of the guitar should be inspected before you actually buy it. The truss rods should be working properly as well as the tailpiece and the bridge. The tuning keys should be switched with ease.


Inspect the whole bulk of the hardware. The woodwork should be smooth to the finish. The material should compliment the sound of the string giving it beautiful resonance.


Bass guitars are mostly electronic so you should sample playing it with the use of the amplifier. This way, you can make sure that the connection is working properly. If you are new in playing the bass guitar, have an expert accompany you when buying the instrument. Let him play with the guitar so he can tell you if it is beautifully crafted or not. If you do not see the ideal bass guitar for you, do not lose patience. There are other online sites and offline stores you can check out.

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FAQ: I Can Play Guitar, That Means I Can Play Bass Too, Right?
It doesn't take too long for the new guitar player with aspirations of playing in a band to realize that there are generally more gigs available to bass players than there are to guitar players. One reason for that is purely in the numbers. Scientifically speaking, for every one bass player on the planet, there are about a zillion guitar players! Okay, that may not be an official count, but you get the idea. Us guitar players are a dime a dozen. We're everywhere you turn. But good bass players - and I reiterate, "good" bass players - are much fewer in numbers. Why are "good" bass players harder to find? One big reason is that many so called "bass players" are actually nothing more than converted former guitar players.

This is the guitar player that sees the amount of competition for "guitar" band gigs, and then sees the availability of "bass" gigs and says - "I think I'll become a bass player"!

Unfortunately this often results in a "frustrated" guitar player that eventually becomes a "frustrated" bass player.

Why? Because playing guitar, and playing bass, are two totally different animals. Simply put, the frustrated guitar player usually assumes that knowing how to play guitar means that you automatically know how to play bass... Wrong.

There are fundamental and practical differences in playing guitar, verses playing bass that you need to be aware of if you are thinking of "converting".

1. The "mindset" of a real bass player is completely different than that of a guitar player. Whereas, the guitar player is focused on rhythmical patterns based on melodies, as well as solos - the bass player (in a band situation) is responsible, along with the drummer, for carrying the "bottom end" of the music. This is a huge difference. Copyright 2011 by

Basics of Bass Guitar Playing


2. The bass player often plays single notes, usually based on the root note of the chord being played by the guitar or keyboard. Conversely, the guitarist will often be playing or strumming multi note chords.

3. Musically speaking, bass lines serve as the foundation of the song. The bass player works in close conjunction with the drummer to lay a solid foundation, and bass lines often follow the "kick" drum to solidify that foundation.

Simply put, the guitar could be considered the "icing on the cake" - while the bass might be considered "the cake".

4. Bass guitar requires a different course of study in terms of music theory and notation.

5. The equipment that the bassist uses is different than that of a guitarist. Bass guitars generally have less strings (4 or 5 in most cases), and the strings are a much heavier gauge than a standard guitar. This is what produces the low pitch bass sound.

Because of the low frequencies that a bass produces, a bass guitar should be played through a bass amplifier that is designed to handle the load. These amps typically are of a higher wattage than most guitar amps, and have speakers designed to handle bass frequencies.

Summary of bass guitar mainteanance

The conversion of a guitar player to a bass player is much more common than you might imagine. And if this is something you are considering then this article is not meant to discourage you. Only to make you aware that guitar and bass should be treated as two totally separate entities. Don't assume that because you can play one that you can easily play the other.

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However, if you truly have a desire and passion to learn how to play the bass guitar devote yourself to it 100% and approach it from a completely separate angle than you do your guitar studies. Do this and they'll be calling you for "bass player wanted" gigs before you know it!

Bass Guitar Players Who Changed The World

Some people think that if you want to change the world you don't become a bass player, but go into something more challenging and stimulating like the Post Office. But does this myth portray how bass players really are? Let's step back from our habitual way of seeing bass guitar players as necessary but boring members of the group. Like accountants. Sure we acknowledge the fine contribution they make to their bands by supplying the bass lines and paying for the beer, but do they actually do anything really creative? This brief listing of some prominent men (and woman) of bass will allow you to see that this apparently self effacing member of a musical group could be the creative powerhouse.

Let's start with the leather jacketed but overpoweringly feminine Suzi Quatro. A vocalist and bass player who had a bunch of hits in Australia and Europe in the early seventies, her popularity in the USA stemmed from her role as Leather Tuscadero in Happy Days.

John Entwistle pioneered the use of the electric bass guitar as an instrument for soloists. His aggressive approach to the bass guitar influenced many other bassists.

Flea of The Red Hot Chili Peppers impressed a lot of musicians with his popping and slapping technique which was originally invented by Larry Graham of Sly And The Family Stone. Flea's innovative use of effects pedals has also influenced many bass players.

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Basics of Bass Guitar Playing


Jack Bruce wrote most of supergroup Cream's hit songs. Among his other achievements are fighting constantly with Cream's drummer, Ginger Baker and surviving a liver transplant.

Greg Lake is another artist of the early seventies who played with a number of innovators from the glam rock era. Lake is best known for his vocals, bass and guitar work with Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

Rob Bailey is a bassist who plays loud and aggressive. His bass playing is an important element in the music of AC/DC.

Benny Rietveld, a Dutch musician who went to college in Hawaii, is admired for his musical and individualistic style of playing. He worked with Barney Kessell, Sheila E, Huey Lewis and Miles Davis. He has also made an album featuring Carlos Santana. Talk about diverse.

Paul McCartney played bass with The Beatles. Many bass players say he's quite good, but he changed the world with his romantic song lyrics.

Considered by some to be the king of bass players, Stanley Clarke employs a variation of the pop and slap technique to produce some truly innovative bass guitar music. His 1976 album, School Days, is acclaimed by many critics as one of the greatest bass albums ever.

A true bass lead guitar player, Billy Sheehan has won Guitar Player Magazine's "Best Rock Bass Player" readers' poll five times. Why a "bass lead guitar player"? Because Billy plays bass as if he were playing lead.

So if you are not familiar with bass guitar players I hope this article has whetted your appetite. Why not spend your next rainy Sunday watching some of their work on YouTube?

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Basics of Bass Guitar Playing



You now know how to hold the bass guitar You now know how to tune your bass You now know how to play the very popular riff for Smoke on the Water You know how to play a major scale which is the foundation for modern music. You know how to play Mary Had a Little Lamb You know how to play Amazing Grace You know how to play the famous Boogie Woogie Bass Line! You know how to read Guitar TAB!!! You had learnt how to plan a practice session. You can now go look up the TAB for any song you want to learn for FREE online! You had learnt how to go about buying a bass guitar especially if you are a beginner. You understand the basics of bass guitar maintenance.

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Basics of Bass Guitar Playing


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