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Why Choose to Play the Bass?

By Yann, published on 26/03/2019 Blog > Music > Guitar > Reasons to Play Bass

“The bass player’s function, along with the drums, is to be the engine that drives the car… everything else is merely colours.” – Suzi Quatro

If you want to get people dancing, you should play the bass. Paul McCartney didn’t originally even want to play bass in The Beatles.

Interesting, isn’t it?

Learning to play the bass is an enjoyable musical experience.

Are you ready to go?

In this article, we’re going to take a look at the reasons why you should consider picking up a bass guitar and learning to play it.

It’s Easier than the Guitar

With six strings, the electric guitar or the acoustic guitar can be harder for beginners to get the hang of.

How easy is it to play the bass guitar? Since a bass usually has fewer strings than a guitar, it can be easier to start playing. (Source: PublicDomainPictures)

The bass is an important part of almost every song. It provides tones that are around an octave lower than that of a guitar. Tuning is simpler because each string is the same interval apart. This makes scales much easier to play. This is easier than it would be on a guitar where there are more strings and they’re not all the same interval apart.

You want to play along with a metronome and develop your ear.

This means bass guitar for beginners tends to be easier. Of course, once you learn to play, you’ll soon see plenty of complicated techniques during your bass guitar lessons.

The Rhythmic Aspect

Whether it’s blues, rock, jazz, bossa nova, R ‘n’ B, you’ll probably hear the bass.

How do you transport a bass? A bassist needs to be ready to play at any moment. (Source: zooverano)

The bass is the heart of soul of a lot of music and gives it the lower tones. The bass also tends to have more of a focus on rhythm, unlike the guitar, which focuses on melody. No need to start with major scales, pentatonic scales, chords, or a lot of the scales you have to learn before you can get started with the guitar.

A bassist will focus on the rhythm. Of course, when we say it’s easier, it’s relative. If you have no sense of rhythm, you’ll have to work on it.

You can learn how to play along to a given rhythm in just a few days rather than having to learn guitar chords which can take longer.

It’s easier to get started with the bass than the drums, too. You don’t need to do as much multitasking and your legs aren’t even involved.

On the bass, you’ll just use your left hand and your right hand. If you’re right-handed, your left hand will be on the fretboard and your right hand will strike the strings to make the noise.

It’s Not as Heavy as a Drum Kit

Drums are cool, that’s a fact. If you like rhythm, you might be tempted to pick up some drum sticks and get started with the drums. That said, you don’t want to spend loads of time working out just to be able to lug all of your drums about.

Once you’ve transported the bass drum, cymbals, drum throne, etc., you’ve got to assemble the kit. While the drummer has to show up to shows early, the bassist can rock up with their bass and an amp. You just have to plug in your bass, grab your pick (if you use one), and start rocking!

Similarly, it’ll be far easier to bring your own bass guitar to your beginner bass lessons than it would be bringing your own drum kit to one.

Bass Makes Less Noise than the Drums

If you don’t live on your own or don’t want to bother the neighbours, the bass is a good idea. If you have an electric bass, you can often play with headphones on. The only noise anyone will hear is a light sound from the strings. This is definitely good if you want to keep your flatmates, family, or neighbours happy.

You Have Big Fingers

The guitar has six strings that are relatively close together. With just four strings, it’s easy to position your fingers on the strings of a bass guitar. That said, you’ll need strong fingers if you want to play bass:

  • Slapping involves hitting the strings with your thumb.
  • Tapping involves hitting the string with the tips of your fingers.

If you have big fingers, you’ll probably be better suited to these techniques.

The Bass Plays an Essential Role in Bands

The bass can be felt by the audience. When a guitarist makes a mistake, it sounds wrong. When a bassist makes a mistake, it feels wrong. The audience and the band will feel that something’s wrong.

How important are bassists? It’s hard to have a rock group without a bassist. (Source: zooverano)

The bassist creates the link between the melody and the rhythm section of the band. It’s much easier for a bassist to play along with any musician. In most songs, the chord structure is an evolution of the bassline. The bassist needs to harmonise and keep rhythm at the same time.

They’re the driving force behind every song. They create the harmonic foundation for the other members of the group. Their role is to follow the rhythm and be the driving force behind the music.

This is the reason why the bassist and drummer are usually best friends (musically). Their job is to work together and keep the band together.

Find out more about how often you should practise.

Playing the Bass is More Original than Playing Guitar

How many people do you know that play the guitar, even a little? How many of them play the bass?

In my group of friends, there are easily four times as many guitarists as bassists. Additionally, my dad’s a drummer so I probably know more bassists than most.

As a bassist, you’re more likely to find a band so have a look around a music school or music shop for bands. There are often noticeboards with bands looking for musicians. You’ll see that most are looking for drummers and bassists.

Work On Your Ear with the Bass

A guitarist won’t learn rhythm theory as quickly as a bassist. Put simply, music is 50% notes and 50% rhythm.

The bassist usually focuses on the rhythm. They’ll need to work on their ear much more than a guitarist.

You can’t learn rhythm in the same way as you’ll learn notes. You’ll need to listen to the guitar parts, bass parts, and the drumbeat if you want to master rhythm.

A Led Zeppelin song, for example, won’t have the same rhythm as a Clapton song.

Learn the nuances of the bass guitar to become a better bassist.

Find out more about the equipment you’ll need.

The Bass is a Versatile Instrument

Even if the bass is easier to learn than the guitar and drums in some respects, that doesn’t mean that you can’t work on your playing.

What are the most common bass techniques? Bass players are often snubbed but they’re arguably the most important member of a band. (Source: jonathansautter)

There are plenty of techniques you can teach yourself on the bass. There’s also slap, tapping, soloing, improvising, and arpeggios. Learning to play the bass allows you to become a versatile musician.

The most common bass techniques include:

  • Plucking
  • Muting
  • Fretting
  • Legato
  • Staccato
  • Fingering
  • Slapping
  • Tapping

Find out more about buying your first bass.

It’s Cool

The bass is cool as hell… As long as you master the bassline and play in time with your drummer.

You need to synchronise with your drummer and play a sweet bassline that the other musicians can play on top of.

Even a bassist who isn’t the best in terms of technique can still be one of the best bassists.

If the bassist can play along to any beat, it allows the other members of the band to play to the best of their abilities.

The bassline is the backbone of any song and it is the bridge between the rhythm and the melody.

You need to be listening to both the drums and the other musicians.

So are you ready to start playing bass?

If you’re interested in learning how to play the bass guitar, you should consider getting help from a private tutor on Superprof. You can get one on one private tutorials, online tutorials, or group tutorials.

Private tutorials have you face-to-face with the tutor and you’ll be provided with bespoke tuition. This is the most expensive but also the most cost-effective solution.

Online tutorials are taught remotely by using a webcam and a programme such as Skype. With no travel costs, the tutor can charge a lower rate than a tutor who has to go to the student’s house.

Group tutorials are cheaper than the other options as the cost of the lesson is shared amongst all of those in attendance. However, you won’t necessarily get the tailored tutorials as you would in a one on one private tutorial.

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