What do you love about playing the bass
10 good reasons to learn to play the electric bass
"The bass guitar is the engine of the band" Suzi Quarto
Bassists often stand in the background and pluck almost bored on their four strings. So much for the cliché. But playing bass is much more than that: The bass makes people dance, drives the band, slows it down if necessary, and gives it the musical foundation.
If you've decided to buy a bass and learn to play it, you will a versatile instrument hold in your hands, with which you make an important contribution to a successful concert.
Is that not enough motivation for you? Discover with us 10 good reasons to learn to play bass.
The bass is more than just a deep guitar
A another common cliché: Bass is easier to play than guitar. Maybe that's because the two instruments look very similar at first, but the bass guitar has two fewer strings.
The bass strings are tuned to the notes E - A - D - G; the same tones as the four top guitar strings, only an octave lower. Fewer strings means fewer notes. This is actually good news for beginners.
Orientation is also a bit easier because the bass guitar in fourths throughout is in tune. The B-string, which is often confusing for guitar beginners and which falls out of this system, does not exist in a bass.
A third reason to believe that bass is easier to learn than guitar is because that no complicated chords must be grasped.
Still have to the fingers can also be trained in this way when playing bassthat they can be spread wide in order to be able to reach frets that are far apart. Also are bass strings much thicker than guitar strings. Your fingers have to be pretty strong to press them down cleanly.
The Getting started on the bass may be a little easier for you than on the guitar, because it sounds like something when you play the root note of a chord and the band does the rest. So you will probably sooner have the feeling that you can accompany songs well.
But that does not mean that the possibilities of the bass guitar are exhausted. Even after a few years of bass lessons, you can still learning somethingto make your game more interesting.
The bass sets the pace
In blues, rock, jazz or pop - you will hear a bass in almost every style of music. And for good reason: he belongs to the instruments of the rhythm sectionthat make for a solid beat.
Listen to songs that only start with guitar or piano and then gradually add other instruments. As soon as the bass starts you will begin to bob your foot and have the feeling that you have arrived in the song. It provides the basic beat that the others use for orientation.
Even as a beginner, you will be able to complete the most important task in a very short time: to clearly define the beginning of a new measure. Later you will play more and more beats per measure to set the rhythm.
So, to become a good bass player, you need a good sense of rhythm. If you haven't already, you will learn to play bass.
The bass does not compete with the drums
The bass is in most of the bands not the only instrument in the rhythm section. Often there is also a drum kit and maybe even other percussion instruments that are responsible for the rhythm. Depending on the situation, the guitar can also be counted as part of the rhythm section when it is not playing a solo.
You must all work together and get involved. Competitive thinking tends to be a hindrance when making music together. It is also not necessary at all. Even if all of these instruments can be roughly divided into one group, they have different tasks within them.
You can create a variety of different sounds on the drums, depending on which drum or which cymbal is used, but these are always purely percussive. That means that they have no influence on the harmony.
While the Schlagzug is only concerned with rhythm, the bass also has a harmonic function. And that brings us to the next point.
The bass creates the harmonic framework
The bass line is there, so to speak the chord progression in a simplified form again. The root note is usually played at the beginning of a bar, followed by other chord tones. This gives both the audience and your fellow musicians an orientation.
It is also often heard that the bass designed a transition to a new musical part, in which he plays one or more notes at the end of a measure that guide the ear to the next chord.
Your fellow musicians will not only become rhythmic, but also also align harmoniously with you. If a guitarist is suddenly lost and no longer knows which chord to play, he * she may stop playing and pay attention to what you are playing.
If you keep playing consistently, as you have rehearsed, it may not even sound like a mistake. The song stays in the flow. With the next chord change, the colleague can then hear exactly where you are and get back on track.
The benefits of bass strings
Do you have rather fat fingers and with the best will in the world you can't just touch a single string on the guitar? Then you will immediately feel comfortable on the bass guitar. The bass strings aren't just thicker, they are are also significantly further apart as guitar strings. So it is not a problem to be able to play cleanly even with thick fingers.
No matter what your fingers look like, the large spacing between the strings also has the advantage that it is easier with the stop hand hit the right string.
But playing bass really well isn't just about hitting the right string. It also applies different nuances at the ready to be able to use them in a targeted manner. And because of their thickness, you have almost infinite possibilities with bass strings.
With the choice of strings, a pick or other bass accessories, you can influence the sound.
The bass as a solo instrument
By now it should be clear that bassists, even if they are in the background, an important position and function in a band take in.
But now and then they also come to the fore, to play a solo. And you don't have to hide from your colleagues who have six strings available. There are so many resources available to them to make a solo interesting and to pull the audience under their spell.
- Pizzicato (fingerpicking): The most common playing technique on the electric bass; the strings are plucked alternately with the index and middle fingers (two-finger technique); alternatively only one or three fingers can be used.
- Slapping: The thumb is struck on the string; the sound becomes very percussive.
- Popping or Pucking: The strings are raised slightly so that they bang against the frets.
- Tapping: The strings are hammered at the level of the frets.
In addition to these techniques for the beating hand, which you can use in a solo, it is important to combine notes with the gripping hand to form a melody. Even with "only" four strings you have more than enough tones available to create a great solo.
Train your hearing with the bass
We have already mentioned it: the bass provides the basic harmonic structure of a song. So you have to hit the right notes very reliably so as not to confuse your bandmates and confuse everything.
For this it is helpful if the musical ear well developed is and you can "hear in advance" which note has to be played next. As a bass player, you are not alone in this. Ear training is one of the basics for all musicians.
And now you come: as a bass player you even have a huge advantage. The hearing is trained through regular bass practice on the instrument, but also through specific exercises and, above all, active listening to music. Active listening is about observing exactly what is happening in a song; rhythmic and harmonic.
Guitarists especially like to listen to the guitar, pianists to the piano, and so on. Everything is recommended, especially at the beginning, to listen to the bass, because you can learn to hear chord progressions from a piece. So to a certain extent, one work step is eliminated for you because you can concentrate on your instrument from the start.
Let your creativity flow
Regardless of whether it is a solo or a groovy accompaniment: you rock every stage on the bass. Even with small changes you can give a song a completely new character. Give it a try a walking bassas he is very popular in jazz, or add in a ballad percussive elements one to make them more percussive.
Your creativity knows no limits. Try out everything possible (first of all in the rehearsal room, of course). If something doesn't sound good, you leave it and look for something new. Over time you will develop a feeling for what works particularly well when and can play more freely.
Bass guitars are versatile
In almost any style of music a bass is used. So you do not limit yourself in any way with your choice of instrument. If an electric bass is too powerful, you can pick up an acoustic bass or maybe even decide to learn to play the double bass.
Paul McCartney from The Beatles, Steve Harris from Iron Maiden and the jazz double bass player Charles Mingus have shown that with a bass you are nowhere out of place.
Be original: play bass
At the very beginning I mentioned the cliché of the bored and boring bass player. By now it should be clear how far this is from reality.
If you love playing the bass and you know what your options are, you will become a sought-after musician. Good bass players are rare and welcome in every band!
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