As you probably know, a bass guitar is very different to other types of guitar. It has four strings instead of six, and though many of the principals are the same, there are some stark differences in the way bass is played. There are many ways to learn bass guitar both online and offline, and more and more people are turning to the hobby. This is a really interesting musical instrument whether you want to master slap bass for a funk band, acoustic bass, double bass for a jazz band or electric bass for a rock band.
Playing a bass doesn’t have to be that complex. It is among the simplest musical instruments that even children can learn to play in a relatively short time. The myth that bass is a ‘poor mans guitar’ or just something failed guitarists do is absolute rubbish. Bass is a unique and valuable instrument, but with less chords and two less strings, there are some shortcuts which can be taken.
So what is the best way to learn bass guitar? You can have several options in the modern age. You can buy a DVD program, but that is a bit ’10 years ago’. The two main ways are online courses or offline one to one bass lessons.
Finding options for your online bass guitar lessons isn’t that difficult. The main option many students are turning to is online lessons and that has led to sites like udemy growing in popularity. Just on this one site there are loads of different instructors tutoring in different ways. One of the reasons for this is that working with a local instructor has some downsides. It may be expensive and requires you to adjust your schedule to his or hers for weekly lessons and ongoing practice sessions. This can be difficult for anyone. But for working adults already trying to juggle busy schedules and budget concerns this is often just not a realistic option. Performing even a basic online search for guitar or bass lessons will generate tons of links to courses online. For a relatively small cost, you can also find quality professional lessons online for far less than it would cost to hire a traditional teacher. There are other benefits to learning online too.
Online lessons are taught in a step-by-step approach using high quality videos to guide you through the learning process. Basic lessons include hand positioning, plucking techniques and music theory. Really good online programs are usually just as effective, if not more so, than having a local teacher. In addition you get 24/7 access to your lessons. And you can watch the lessons over and over again as many times as you need to get the technique right. The computer won’t even get annoyed when you’ve repeated the same technique for the hundredth time in a row.
Another benefit of taking your bass lessons online is that you control the pace. There is no set schedule to adhere to. You can take a day off with no cancellation fee and no instructor to deal with, if something crops up you can just go at your own pace. Take the same lesson as many times as you need and you can progress as fast or slow as your abilities allow.
Recommended Course: The Music Coach
The Music Coach offers an exceptional course via Udemy, designed for beginners, it is also good for some of the more advanced techniques and teaches you how to play bass as accompaniment and how to do things like solos and even compose songs on bass. In their own words, you can learn in 30 minutes per week, and the course is nicely broken up into bitesize chunks.
In Person Lessons
Although I can’t speak highly enough of many of the online courses, there are benefits to lessons in person. If you get a good tutor, you’re able to ask specific questions and work out a way to get your own specific needs rather than stick to a more rigid course.
Buying the Right Bass
If this is your first time purchasing a bass guitar and you haven’t played any other instruments before (many convert from electric guitar), make sure that you opt for a fretted guitar. This will make it easier for you to learn the notes and how to play them, and some bass guitars are fretless.
Beginner models are the way to go if you are just starting out. Brands such as Squier and Ibanez offer some great bass guitars at a budget price point.
Whether you’ve got your bass yet or not you can start with some finger exercises. Bass guitar can be played both by right handed and left handed people alike but if you are a leftie, make sure you buy a left-handed bass. There are some cool exercises here to get you started.
Watch a Lot of Youtube Tutorials
Whether you’re going to go for an online course or in person lessons, it is good to check out a few tutors online. You should see what learning style you like, who makes the most sense to you and often you will be able to find courses through their Youtube channels. On top of that, the more knowledge you have from the outset on how to read tabs, how a bass works and other useful tips.
No instrument is an overnight project. It is going to take time and a lot of failure along the way. The best bassists in the world have practiced their craft and perfected their skills over thousands of hours. Don’t be afraid to do the same if time allows, but also don’t get frustrated if you don’t get things right first time.
Keep Things Fun
There’s no point in going all ‘Whiplash’ and taking the joy out of things, the chances are you wont stick to it if you approach things in a way you don’t get any enjoyment. This is the main reason for people giving up, so make sure you play songs you like not just scales and exercises, and regularly find ways to keep your bass playing full of enjoyment.