Many people mistakenly think that the bass is easier than the regular guitar.
While it might be a bit easier to pick up and play it at first, to truly learn and master the instrument takes as much effort as any other. Some may argue that it's even more challenging than a guitar.
If you're looking to learn how to play bass guitar, this article will guide you in the right direction to getting started.
So How Long Does It Take To Learn Bass Guitar? An Overview:
The truth is, there is no definitive answer to this question, and it really depends on the individual.
For example, a new player can start to get the hang of things within 6 months, but to learn the bass inside and out with a mastery of advanced techniques can take years, even a lifetime.
A guitarist may have an easier time hopping to this instrument because they have familiarity with how the fretboard works. However, if you're thinking of playing bass after guitar, this is pretty much the only thing that they have in common, aside from the possibility of being able to use a pick.
At the end of the day, your ambition and willingness to learn the instrument (and possibly innate musical ability) will be the main factors that affect your progress when learning the bass guitar.
Luckily, with focused practice, there are quite a few ways you can expedite the process. Here's where to learn bass guitar:
- Online Lessons (Through YouTube, Jamplay, etc.)
- Instructional Books
- Private Lessons
- Listening and Playing Along With Your Favorite Artists
If you are a total beginner, these are how you should get started because it will give you information on how to build a solid foundation for yourself (technique, theory, feel, etc.) The next section will discuss these thoroughly to show you why these can benefit your learning experience and speed it up.
The Quickest Ways To Learn Bass Guitar
The previous section gave you a small taste of the most effective methods of learning the instrument. This one will explain what these bass guitar tips entail and how they can be helpful to you.
Online bass guitar lessons can be on many different platforms and also be formatted quite differently. Nonetheless, they offer an affordable and convenient way to learn any instrument.
YouTube is an amazing source, and often the first stop for any new player because it is free! There are many great channels dedicated to bass lessons and reviews that explain their topics quite clearly.
Here's an example of a clear and concise online lesson:
However, unless their videos are in a series, your lessons might lack some structure, and you might be just picking up bits and pieces of things rather than building upon previous concepts.
There are popular lesson websites such as Jamplay.com that give structure and follow a logical order of building on things, usually in a course format. That means you shouldn't end up in a lesson that is just too advanced for you at the moment. Start with the beginner bass guitar video lessons and move up from there.
One-on-one online lessons in the form of a webcam, Skype, etc. are also options, but they usually cost more and you can't repeat the lesson if you forgot something later on. Nevertheless, it's still an effective way to learn without having to travel anywhere.
Books are also an excellent tool for learning bass guitar basics, and quite frankly, underrated at this point. YouTube and online lesson services have kind of overshadowed this method of learning music.
It's important to point out that there's a considerable chance that more than one of your favorite players learned by reading books. That's because there was no such thing as the internet back then.
Instructional publications can be very extensive or be very specific - you can find a series that you can follow along with for a while, or you can find an individual book that is centered around a particular topic, such as music theory.
This method might seem outdated, but don't neglect it. Read as much as you can because books can serve as an invaluable resource.
Private lessons are another traditional way of learning any instrument, but it is also one of the most expensive because it requires travel and commitment from both parties.
One of the most significant advantages of taking private lessons is that you can get instant feedback. If something is wrong, your instructor can immediately try to correct it for you.
However, at this point, private lessons should probably be reserved for fixing up your technique. It's not that it's ineffective for other ways, it's mostly from a value standpoint.
Private lessons can cost around 40 to 60 USD per hour. For the price of two lessons, you can get a lot of books or almost afford a year-long membership to Jamplay.
Keep most of your beginner bass guitar lessons online.
You can learn faster with more resources, but you should reserve private lessons for those times when you want to address your individual technique because online lessons and books can't do that for you.
Listening and Playing With Your Favorite Artists
This section is one of the most significant aspects of learning the bass. Practicing drills and studying can take you somewhere, but learning from recordings offers you something different. If you want to learn how to play bass by yourself, this is one way to do it.
By playing along with music, you can learn some essential skills such as:
- Developing your ears
- Feeling the rhythm
- Simulates playing with others, especially the drummer
By playing along with records, you learn where the bass is situated within the music. There are times where you want to lay low and times where you can stand out. More importantly, it will help you develop your feel and timing.
Try jamming along with this:
Metronome work is excellent, and it's highly recommended that you get one for practicing, but being able to play with recordings offers a different experience, and it's usually way more exciting!
The bass has a vital role in any group, and without it, it's obvious something is missing. It isn't well-known for being a solo instrument, so it's crucial to learn how it fits in with all of the other band members.
Summary & Conclusion
Despite its reputation, the bass isn't easy. However, there are ways you can make learning it more straightforward.
Take advantage of online lessons because they offer you convenience along with being the cheapest way to get started. A lot of the time these lessons are completely free and can help you learn bass guitar efficiently.
Books are underrated and can be a fantastic resource for you. They might not be as engaging as a video, but they can provide extra information and even various drills for you to practice.
Lastly, don't miss out on playing along with your favorite bands. You're going to want to learn some easier songs first or improvise, but by doing so, you learn about feel and timing.
These are critical skills for any player to learn. As a bassist, you are the glue that holds the band together. You are part of the rhythm and melodic section; you are the bridge between the drums and the guitar.
Sure, you can pick up the bass and probably play some walking lines pretty quickly, but developing a real deep understanding of the instrument will take a lot of time.
There is no concrete answer to the question “how long does it take to learn bass guitar?” But as long as you dedicate yourself, take advantage of resources that are available to you, and practice correctly, you will have a handle on many things in no-time.