What’s the Easiest Way to Learn Bass Guitar?

It took me quite a while to learn bass guitar back in the day. I didn’t have Internet back then and had to go to a teacher and learn from a friend. Learning to play the bass guitar can be relatively easy – if you know the proper steps to take.

What’s the easiest way to learn bass guitar? The easiest way to learn bass guitar is to first learn the basics. Start by learning the notes and then the major scale intervals. Then you can move on to learning chords and playing songs by ear.

In summary, here are the 3 steps to learning the bass guitar as easily as possible:

  1. Learn the Notes and Major Scale Intervals
  2. Learn the Bass Chords
  3. Learn a Simple Song by Ear 

Read on to learn more about the easiest way to learn bass guitar including the necessary steps involved.

Also, for an excellent bass guitar, take a look at our top pick, the Yamaha TRBS204-GLB-4 String Guitar:

Click here to see it on Amazon.

:

The Easiest Way to Learn Bass Guitar (3 Basic Steps)

Step #1 – Learn the Notes and Major Scale Intervals

One of the first steps to learning how to play bass is to learn the distance between two notes (scale intervals) on your bass guitar. To be able to do this, you have to learn how to pluck the strings. You can do this by plucking/pulling all the strings – one by one – using 2 fingers.  

Typically, the 4 strings of a bass guitar are similarly tuned as that of the ordinary guitar’s lower 4 strings, only, they are an octave lower.

The thickest string, also called low E string, is the 4th string that is properly tuned to E. The 3rd string, also called A string, is less thicker and is tuned to A. The second string, also called to D string, is tuned to D; while the first string, also called G string, is tuned to G. It’s the thinnest string among the four.

Listen to the sound produced by each of the 4 strings of the bass guitar. Through this process, you can proceed to learn the scales. 

Several experts recommend using the first finger with the second fret, the second finger is placed on the 3rd fret, the 3rd finger is placed on the 4th fret, and the 4th finger is placed on the 5th fret. Practice moving your fingers one fret down the bass guitar starting from the fret farthest from the body. 

The index finger is #1, the middle finger is #2, the 4th finger is #3, and the pinkie finger is #4, the thumb is not numbered as it serves as a support only.

Here are tips on positioning your fingers on the bass guitar:

Step #2 – Learn the Bass Chords

Learn the basic bass chords or triads. The triads are the 3 most vital notes in all musical scales. The 1st, which is considered the root note, is followed by the 3rd note and the 5th note. If you have noticed, you have to skip every other note when playing these notes. 

Since chords are a group of notes played together, they are not often used in bass guitars compared to ordinary guitars. 

Practice playing these chords on your bass guitar until you can play them with ease. Your posture must be correct; your back straight, your hand arms relaxed. Your wrist straight and your fingers are positioned around the strings. 

If you’re right-handed, the bass guitar can be supported by your right knee – unless you’re standing up and the guitar is anchored to your shoulders and neck by a padded, comfortable strap. A secure and comfortable strap will help prevent shoulder-arm injury or discomfort.

Take note that the role of your bass guitar is to provide the low notes that your regular guitar can’t. Thus, you must find a position and posture that you’re most comfortable with. Practice by standing up and positioning your bass at an angle that allows your arms and fingers to reach the G string (last string) without difficulty. 

A correct position enhances the pressure from your fingers, down on the strings to produce a clear sound. You can pluck or pull the strings to create the sound. Make sure your fingers land inside the frets and not outside. 

Start playing with the E string or the 4th string. As a beginner, you can first learn the root notes on the E string and the A string. The E and A strings are your bass guitar’s two thickest strings.

The root notes on the E string are as follows (“#” is a sharp note and “b” is a flat note):

FRETSNOTES
0E
1F
2F#/Gb
3G
4G#/Ab
5A
6A#/Bb
7B
8C
9C#/Db
10D
11D#/Eb
12E

The A string root notes are as follows:

FRETSNOTES
0A
1A#/Bb
2B
3C
4C#/Db
5D
6D#/Eb
7E
8F
9F#/Gb
10G
11G#/Ab
12A

You can concentrate on these notes first, and proceed to the other root notes eventually. You can also learn about the arpeggio later on. In Arpeggio, you play the notes simultaneously, so it can be difficult for a beginner. For now, you can concentrate on playing on the E and A strings. 

You can also start playing the major C chord on the different frets on the fretboard. Start from the fret farthest from the body, followed by the frets going towards the bass guitar’s body.

Step #3 – Learn a Simple Song by Ear

The next step is to choose one of your favorite songs and play the song by ear. Listen to the music/track and take note of the bass guitar’s sound. Play the bass guitar in your mind. After you have mastered the sound in your head, you can now, play the music with your own bass guitar.

How to Play the Bass Guitar Using a Pick

easiest way to learn bass guitar

Using a pick when playing the bass guitar is another alternative you can choose than using your fingers.  

1. Hold the guitar pick between index finger and thumb, with the other fingers folded below your index finger.

2. Use your wrist to exert a downward motion on your fingers. This will apply ample pressure on the pick to be able to pluck the strings.

3. You can do alternate picking by plucking the string in a downward motion, followed by an upward motion. The downstroke must have the same pressure as the upstroke to produce a clear, clean sound. 

Practice with the different scales until you acquire a certain ease in using the guitar pick. 

Beginner Bass Guitars that are Easy to Learn On

best way to learn bass guitar

Since you’re a beginner, the 4-string bass guitar is best for you than the 5-string bass guitar, as the former has lesser strings and is easier to handle. Examples of 4-string bass guitars are as follows:

1. Yamaha TRBX Series Bass Guitar 

The Yamaha TRBX Series Bass Guitar, is a lightweight, 4-string bass guitar that has a vintage-style bridge and a sturdy body made of durable basswood.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

The slim neck is of smooth maple that you can grasp with ease. Additionally, you can conveniently operate the 4 controls, such as the balance, the band equalizer (#2), and the master volume. 

2. Sterling by Music Man StingRay Ray4 Bass Guitar 

The Sterling by Music Man StingRay Ray4 Bass Guitar, is another 4-string bass that is easy to learn on. It has a smooth body made of basswood and a Jatoba fretboard.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

The slender neck is made of maple – you can grasp it easily. Also, it features 2-band preamps, a bass, a treble, and a volume control. 

3. Hofner 4-String Bass Guitar 

The Hofner HOF-HI-CB-SB 4-String Bass Guitar, features a high-quality maple body and an incredible club bass ignition that enhances the music perfectly. All these are incorporated into a one-piece, long-lasting bass.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

You can learn how to play well due to the superb balance between the sound of the electric and acoustic riffs.  

Should You Take Bass Guitar Lessons?

Whether you should take bass guitar lessons depends on your financial capability and availability. When you’re certain you can afford the expensive lessons, you can opt for bass guitar lessons from a tutor or a bass expert. Lessons will make it easier to learn how to play the bass, but there are many resources available online nowadays to learn yourself.

Pros and Cons of Learning by Yourself

Pros

  • Less expensive.
  • Convenient – you can adapt to your own availability and learning pace.
  • You have active involvement in your learning process; thereby, allowing you to remember more.

Cons

  • No person-to-person contact.
  • It can take longer to learn if don’t know where to look.

If you have decided to do-it-yourself, follow the steps outlined above. You can also search online for the many YouTube tutorials.

Summary Pointers for Learning How to Play the Bass Guitar 

1. When buying a bass guitar, opt for 4-string bass guitars. They’re simpler to play and cheaper than the 5 or 6-string bass guitars.

2. Buy a bass guitar with a fretboard and fret blocks or fret markers. These are crucial, especially if you’re a beginner or a visual learner, who needs to ‘see’ where your fingers should be. 

3. Use a bass guitar strap to ease the guitar’s weight off your body. It’s better to practice standing, as you would most probably be standing during your future gigs.

4. Acquire the right posture and hand position to lessen shoulder arm injury. It’s great to enjoy your music but you have to stay healthy as well.

5. The string nearest to you is E, followed by A, then D, then G. E is the thickest string and G is the thinnest string. You can play first with the E and A strings.

6. Learn the actual notes of each string. Listen to them carefully and hold them in your mind. This will help you play better and will aid you in mastering your bass guitar-playing more quickly.

7. To make learning how to play the bass easier, think about patterns, shapes, or notes. You can move these patterns up and down the bass guitar’s neck or fretboard. These movements can either decrease or increase the pitch of the notes.

8. Master first the triad (3 notes), before proceeding to the arpeggios (4 or 5 notes). Many bassists, including myself, didn’t learn all in one go. It took me years to perfect the techniques. 

9. You’re allowed to use one finger at the beginning, but as you develop your skills, you should learn how to use two or more fingers.

10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help online or offline from the community of bass players. You can do this on your social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Surely, you will be having the same experience as many of the bass guitar beginners.

11. Request feedback from family and friends. Ask them how your notes sound. Are they precise, clear, and clean? Listen to the critics and improve your style. There’s always room for improvement.

Conclusion – What’s the Easiest Way to Learn Bass Guitar?

What’s the easiest way to learn bass guitar?

In summary, here are the 3 steps to learning the bass guitar as easily as possible:

  1. Learn the Notes and Major Scale Intervals
  2. Learn the Bass Chords
  3. Learn a Simple Song by Ear 

How easy it is for you to learn bass guitar depends on your background knowledge about the instrument, your style of learning and your personal preferences. The guide provided here are the standard recommendations, but they are not written on stone. You can adapt your own style as long as you can prevent injury, as you play the bass notes clearly.

Learning the proper technique, early on, will establish a firm foundation for you to become a superb bassist. In a bird’s eye-view: as a beginner, you have to learn the proper posture, correct positioning of the fingers and the basics of bass guitar playing. 

As you gradually advance to more complex lessons, you may acquire your own style of playing the bass, but it’s best to stick to the proper methods in order to learn as quickly as possible and as easily as possible.