Introduction: Beginning to Learn to Play Bass.

Picture of Beginning to Learn to Play Bass.

I will be explaining on how to begin to understand bass. this is my first instructable, so be nice! I will not be using tablature teaching. so if you wanna learn fast, go somewhere else. and im sorry i dont have a camera...:(

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

Sorry, this will be like a science experiment listing.. so ya
Materials Needed Are:
1) 4 string bass (i dunno 5 6 or 8)
2) Bass Clef Music that you would like to learn
3) Chromatic Tuner
4) a little patience.

Step 2: Getting Familier With Your Moozic.

Picture of Getting Familier With Your Moozic.

Hokay. so the first pic for this is the Bass Clef, if you got anything other than that, you cant learn it in this.
The second is the staff. dont think of gandalf. This is how you will read your music. yes, i said read, no tabs

Step 3: Muzic Theory, Its Boring, But a Nessicary Evil

Picture of Muzic Theory, Its Boring, But a Nessicary Evil

You are going to hate this but i am not going into the actual bass playing for a while, so boo hoo.
The musical alphabet has the letters A B C D E F G.
There are Sharps (#) and flats (b). a Sharp Brings the note up half a step, a Flat Brings it down. There is Ab A A#=Bb B B#=C C#=Db D D#=Eb E E#=F F#=Gb G G#=Ab, there are no B# Cb E# or Fb. These notes are not commonly used: G# F# D# A#, but you will see their equivilent b
occasionally you will see a Abb or G##, that is just some idiot putting a different version of the note.
The lines on the bass clef (see step 2) are remembered as this: Good (G) Boys (B) Deserve (D) Fudge (F) Always (A) (bottom line to top line)
The spaces on the bass clef are remembered as this: All (A) Cows (C) Eat (E) Grass (bottom to top)
Take a look at the beginning of your music. See after the clef and after all the Flat signs, you will see numbers or a C or a C with a slash through it, dont fret (no pun intended) this is the Time Signature.
Written like that is the most common. it is also written as
C because its common time the C with a line through it means Cut Time, which is usually a march (why the hell are you playing a march on an electric bass?!?!) and everything is divided in half
This means there are 3 beats in a bar
A Bar is in your music like this 1- - - - 1 (hyphons mean the amount of beats) in 3/4 time its 1- - -1 and cut time is 1- -1
Phrases are Four bars. with a wind instrument, you suck if you cant play a phrase in one breath in most tempos. when the music ends :( there will be a double Stop (first pic) sometimes above the double stop there will be an upside down boob-looking thingee
This means hold note until conductor signals to stop.
in your music there will probably be a few flat or sharp signs. this is a key signature, and im not going to list all bloody 36 of them, just google bass clef scales. these tell you that the note that the b or # is on will be b or #
Sometimes the music doesnt obey the key signatures, this is an accidental, it changes the note to a flat natural or sharp natural signs are weird, but its the sign i didnt tell you about :D
Whole is just a Blob, with a hole in it (full bar)
Half note, whole note with a stick on the side (half bar)
Dotted Half note is a half not with a dot to the right. (one beat less than a full bar)
Quarter note, a blob (no hole) with a stick on the side (1/4 of a bar
Dotted Quarter, quarter with a dot to the right. lasts one beat longer than quarter
8th note, blob with a stick and a squiggly thing on the end, 1/8th of a bar
Im not going any farther
notes that arent on the staff, figure them out urself. sorry. all music goes in the pattern abcdefg
a double stop with 2 dots in front of it.

Step 4: GUITAR WOO!!

Picture of GUITAR WOO!!

That took forever and was painful.
Now we will grab the bass!
hold your horses, we will not be playing yet.
If you have a chromatic tuner just pluck the G (closeset to your lap this string AKA 1st string) and tune it
then the 2nd (D) String
then the 3rd (A) string
then the 4th (E) string

And now you are in tune
We are started on the E
open E
1st F
2 F#
3 G
4 G#
5 A
open A
1 Bb
2 B
3 C
4 Db
5 D
Open D
1 Eb
2 E
3 F
4 Gb
5 G
Open G (haha g-string)
1 G#=Ab
2 A
3 A#=Bb
4 B
5 C
6 C#=Db
7 D
8 D#=Eb
9 E
10 F
11 F#=Gb
12 G!
now you have your octive!
woo, its pretty much the same for all strings
but thats the easy way.
Play the guitar with your thumb resting on the top pickup, and play with your Right index and Middle
(same for leftys)
For fingering the fretboard, use the tips of your fingers, and no thumbs allowed! keep the thumb on the back of the neck.
No picking until you get good enough to get your own style.
Warning on the picking and fingering hands. YOU WILL GET BLISTERS UNTIL YOUR HANDS HAVE ENOUGH CALLOUS, these hurt like hell, no pain, no gain, and there is no such thing as playing too much! so have fun
-End note-
You are now able to play a bit of bass, you are not pro! keep practising and someone write an instructable on how to play slap


jfrias (author)2012-07-21

thanks a lot for this ^__^ i'm planning to start playing bass soon.

rocknrollskwurl (author)2007-08-02

ok, i am also learning to play bass and this lays it out great for a begginer(im no newbee on theory and bass cleff thanx to 4 years as a trombone player) but im glad you posted this! it was imposible for me to find anything on the internet when i started playing! i will say though that to help tunning the 5th fret on one string should sound exacaly like the string below it open. also easy begginer bass songs are lowrider-war, blitkrieg bop-ramones, animal ive brecome-threedaysgrace, pinkpanther-the movie/cartoon, and the usual like iron man and stuff. and for the makers of guitar hero a bass player IS more important than a mini fridge

try studybass.com

You could also try this site to help you learn to play bass guitar

W00! they should make bass hero, and then drum hero, and possibly karaoke hero XD mini fridges are good. did you know that before the double bass was introduced, jazz combos had tubas instead?

well there is a game called Rock Band coming out (not sure when though) It is for XBOX 360 and PS3 I believe. But it is up to four players and each plays a different part, the four parts are vocals, guitar, bass, and drums, google it if you wanna know more.

like imma buy a ps3 or 360 tho

Get a 360 and dont get rock band 2 for the ps2, I got it and it sucks for the ps2 >.>


well today i think i heard something about it being available for ps2 also.

ironicly i just got a ps2

Rock band 2 has all those

ide love to get my hands on an old standup like in the old jazz groups

i will be making an attachment for my bass (see last step) to make it a standup, k think of this: Straplock with big metal washer with two metal rods goin like this \ / to a single rod with like a spray painted golf ball on the bottom

sugg22 (author)old_bass_masta2007-10-18

dude, there is a much simpler way - <1) take at least two 2 liter sodan bottles 2) cut off the bottom part of one, and stick the other bottle in about 1-2 inches. 3) then take out bottle 2, and put glue around the area that you are attaching 4) cut a slit in bottle 2 the size of the bottom of your bass 5) sharpen 2 pencils on both ends (remove erasers first), and poke through bottle 1 (bottom bottle) going perpendicualr to the slit in bottle 2 6) slice open a tennis ball, stick it on the cap of bottle 1, and then tape it in place 7) put one large rubberband on one side of each pencil, then bring the band over the horns of your bass, then back down again to the other end.> This takes a bout 2 minutes, and is easily removable with no damage to your bass.

couldnt you just make a wood stand that it stands on so its not attached to the guitar?

haha, i assume youve never seen a straplock, they attach to a strap and lock into a strap button, and they are removeable

huh, that would be cool

i put the theory because you have to learn it to play well, I play everything, im thinking doing one about transposing music mentally oh well, and i know the 5 5 5 4 5 trick

octopuscabbage (author)2009-10-26

Another cool trick i tought my friend, whos a begginer bassist who likes to jam with me, (me playing the guitar) is just to play the root of the chord. Now in non music theory terms its the lowest note (pitch wise) in a chord.

so if an Emaj chords bass note is just an open on the E (which it is) just play that and if your both tuned up it will sound good.

If you do not understand this just ask your guitar buddy (if you have the same scenario as us) what the root of his chord is.

Another helpful trick, i put my thumb on the string im not playing, in chords such as c, a, and d, to make sure that he understands im not playing the e string.

O and also if your doing that the dots on his fretboard correspond with the dots on the top of your fretboard and the dots on it.

You sir, are a smart man,
i haven't looked at this instructable in so long, that i forgot that i explained a crapload of theory.
I dont play bass regularly anymore, and when i do, i just fiddle around and just do the root and some rythym.

Bah. you make me feel bad about my music capabilities, havent touched a bass in 3 months, havent touched a guitar in 1.5, havent played piano since july.
Oh well. :P
Keep enjoying the music.

Hey man, You should keep with it. I actually liked this so much i sent it to my bassist buddy. When i play bass in my band (Even tho im trained as a guitarist) i just read it and If were jammin just play some scales and roots.

Could you maybe write some basic scales, maj, minor and all that good stuff.

Thats not really for him but more for me just cause i need it to write music. . it generates more scales than i am ready (and have enough time ) to tab out, but at christmas ill throw an 'ible up on my scale secrets.

what to look forward to? Pentatonic minor, Blues, Major

Id be willing to help with that if need be. I have all the guitar scales in one book just no bass scales.

I can also help with blues scale secrets as i fancy myself a bit of a blues musician.

SeMi_AuToMaTic (author)2008-04-06

second picture farthest to the right. what kind of guitar is that? just wondering. Nice instructable, though! i added it to my group, rock band. do you want to join?

that, sir, is a hofner violin bass. if ur interested in buying one has them.

That's a Hohner. Like OBM said, Paul McCartney used to play one like that (only in lefty.)

If yer hankering for one just like it, you'll have to settle for used, and pay a premium for the beast. If close enough is good enough, herehere they have one almost like it. and not that expensive eiter.

And, unless you like pain, stay away from the Hondo copy. It's not even good for firewood.

Correct me if i am wrong, doesnt Epiphone make one as well as gibson advrtised as te McCartney Bass?

99% sure

i thought epiphone just a sub-brand of gibson.?

it is.. but not made in usa..


Can't correct you because i don't know, but I think it's very likely they did. McCartney was a Hohner, though, so I looked for that. well thats ok. :D hohner is cool too

jhorn51 (author)bob.smitty2008-12-06

McCartney's bass was a German Hofner, not a Hohner.

i think gibson viola

violin bass, like the beatles. and yes i will join

bounty1012 (author)2009-06-15

Lol, F-Holes that sounds awful I think they called them something different on the violin and cello but I cant remember...

knexguy (author)2008-04-12

Muzic theory, its boring, but a necessary evil!: Not if you use tab!

old_bass_masta (author)knexguy2008-04-13

actually it is necessary, some day you may end up playing with a musician that goes: can you do an Eb aolean, and you are gonna be like: WTF??. so you do need to know the terms, the books i use have tab+music so i can get the timing without playing by ear


knexguy (author)old_bass_masta2008-04-14

Fair point, but I've only just started playing, so that doesn't really apply to me just yet :).

jdeanthecool (author)2009-03-25

Haha, takes a life time of mastering the bass, you need to get that in there.
Hokay is the sickest way of spelling ok, too.

wingman246 (author)2007-09-03

hey, i need amp advice. I've been told buy as much power as you can afford, and i know which one of these seems better to me, but i figure i better ask someone who knows more. So do I buy a Behringer Ultrabass BA115 600 Watt 1x15 Bass Cabinet, or a Behringer Ultrabass BXL450 45W 1x10" Bass Combo? Or do you have a better suggestion for $150 USD?

wingman246 (author)wingman2462007-09-16

okay now i'm looking at a Crate BT50 Bass Combo Amp, no one ever told me that i'll need more than a cabinet. Any better suggestions?

sorry bud, i am not helpful with amps i have a Peavey that i use for my bass and standard electric 6 strings

yeah my problem is solved for now, a friend gave me 15 watt he never uses. eventually though i'll go buy a 300 watt or something like that

nice i have a 15 watt, its walcrap brand tho, then a 30 watt peavy rage

oops. and a 100 watt fender roc pro 1000 head and 1 peavey cab and 1 ampeg cab.. LOL!

and btw, there is no 300watt amp. just speakers that go that far, id suggest a marshall cab

About This Instructable




More by old_bass_masta:Guitar Playing: TappingYAGI; Yet another guitar instructableBeginning to Learn to play Bass.
Add instructable to: