18 Easy Steps How To Start Playing Bass Guitar – From Plucks To Groovy Slaps

Ready to step into the groovy world of bass playing? Now, don’t fret if you’ve never touched a bass before. We’ve got a handy guide to get you started on your bass journey, from selecting the right gear to slappin’ like a pro. Let’s dive in!

1. Choosing Your First Bass

Before you play, you need a trusty bass by your side. But don’t just grab the first shiny one you see. Consider these:

  • Budget: You don’t need a top-tier bass to start. There are decent budget-friendly options.
  • Size: If you have smaller hands or are younger, consider a short-scale bass.
  • Style: Jazz, Precision, or perhaps something more unconventional? Each has its unique tone.

2. Amping It Up

To hear your bass’s groovy tones, you’ll need an amplifier. For beginners:

  • A practice amp with 10-20 watts is often sufficient.
  • Ensure it has a headphone jack for those late-night practice sessions.

3. The Basics of Bass Posture

Before you play a note, get your posture right!

  • Standing: Use a strap, and adjust the bass’s height so your hands move freely. Generally, the bass should sit over your waist.
  • Sitting: Keep the bass on your dominant side thigh, and let the neck point upwards at a slight angle.

4. Getting to Know the Fretboard

Unlike a six-string guitar, the bass usually has four strings. From top to bottom, they are:

  • E (thickest)
  • A
  • D
  • G (thinnest)

Get familiar with their sounds and where they are located.

5. Your First Bass Lines

Start simple. Try playing basic scales or even follow the rhythm of your favorite songs. Feeling adventurous? Jump into basic riffs from classic songs like “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen.

6. Explore Online Resources

There are oodles of online lessons and channels tailored for bassists of all levels:

  • Scott’s Bass Lessons: Comprehensive lessons ranging from beginner techniques to advanced grooves.
  • TalkingBass – Online Bass Lessons: Detailed tutorials, perfect for those who want to dive deep.
  • BassTheWorld.com: More for gear junkies, but their reviews and overviews can be insightful for any bassist.

7. Practice, Practice, Practice!

Like any instrument, the bass requires dedication. Set aside time daily, even if it’s just 15 minutes. Regular practice builds muscle memory.

8. Dive into Different Genres

Bass is versatile. From the jazzy undertones to rock’s driving force, each genre offers unique bass lines. Experiment to see what resonates with you.

9. Join a Community

Whether it’s online forums or local music groups, connecting with fellow bassists can be enlightening. Share your progress, ask questions, and jam out when you can!

10. Keep Challenging Yourself

Once you’ve mastered the basics, keep pushing. Experiment with slap bass techniques or even venture into the world of 5 or 6-string bass guitars. The bass world is vast and deep (literally!).

11. Gear Up with Essential Accessories

Your bass and amp are crucial, but don’t overlook the little things!

  • Strings: Try out different types, from flat wounds for a mellow sound to round wounds for that bright, punchy tone.
  • Tuners: Sure, you could get a clip-on, but there are fantastic online tuners and apps too.
  • Cables: Invest in a decent cable. Nothing’s worse than a great bass line ruined by unwanted noise!

12. Play Along with Tracks

One of the best ways to improve is to play along with songs. It helps with timing, rhythm, and understanding how bass fits into a track. So, pop on some tunes and get jamming!

13. Consider Bass Lessons

While self-learning is great, a seasoned teacher can offer valuable insights. Whether it’s a local tutor or online courses, a structured lesson can help improve technique and understanding of music theory.

14. Maintenance is Key

Keep your bass in top shape. Learn to:

  • Clean your bass after sessions to prolong string life.
  • Set up your bass, or get a professional to do it. It ensures playability and prolongs the life of your instrument.
  • Change strings as needed. A fresh set can rejuvenate your bass’s sound.

15. Record Yourself Playing

This might sound weird, but it’s beneficial. Listening back allows you to spot mistakes, improve timing, and refine your technique.

16. Explore Advanced Techniques

Once you’re comfortable:

  • Slapping and Popping: Funk it up by mastering this iconic style.
  • Tapping: For those looking to go beyond traditional playing.
  • Harmonics: These can add a magical touch to your bass lines.

17. Jam with Others

Playing solo is fun, but jamming with others is where the magic happens. It boosts your listening skills, helps with timing, and, most importantly, it’s a blast!

18. Stay Inspired

Every bassist, no matter how skilled, faces ruts. The key is to:

  • Listen to different music.
  • Watch live shows or bass-centric videos.
  • Always remember why you started playing in the first place.

Closing Notes

Embarking on the bass journey is thrilling. Like all instruments, there will be challenges. But with dedication, practice, and the right resources, you’ll be laying down groovy bass lines in no time. Always be curious, keep thumping, and most importantly, enjoy the journey. The bass world welcomes you with open arms.

The world of bass guitar is as exciting as it is rewarding. So, strap in, plug in, and get grooving. And always remember, the bassist may be at the back of the stage, but they’re the heart and soul of the groove! Keep it low and let it flow. Rock on!