View Full Version : Is bass a dificult insturment to learn?

01-07-2010, 05:54 PM
I've always loved the bass lines in island music, and now i want to learn.

I'm just a little afraid that I'll purchase a bass, and never really 'get into it' like I did with my guitar.

I don't know anyone who plays bass, and I'm not looking to pay for an instructor, would bass be a difficult instrument for me to teach myself?

I picked up the ukulele pretty quickly, probably because ukulele underground is so easy to learn from. :D

with that said, does anyone know of any sites like ukulele underground, but bass?

and one last thing, can anyone recommend a nice, reasonably priced acoustic bass?

any other information you want to give is also appreciated.

thanks :shaka:

01-07-2010, 06:02 PM
I would say that learning the techniques of playing bass isn't hard, although it is harder than it looks to many people. Playing bass tastefully and ON TIME takes a little more. Talent does help.

You could probably teach yourself bass well enough, depending on what your expectations are. I took up bass late, but I hired a good teacher and took lessons for a while. I could use more. Lessons really helped me in that there are SOOO many bad habits you can develop that can keep you from improving as a bass player. At least as many, I believe, as for guitar.

Studybass.com has excellent lessons with sound samples. You can learn a lot from that, and with YouTube, you can surely get far.

Have fun! I really do love playing bass, and my bass just has a feel to me that none of my other instruments have. It just feels like MY instrument.
Do consider taking a few lessons if you can, as there is a little more to playing bass WELL than it looks like, but either way, good luck with it. Bass is great fun!

01-08-2010, 09:34 PM
bass is pretty easy to pick up once you have some sense of rhythm, like any instrument though it takes time and effort to do well. the only thing to really consider is the scale length. i prefer short scale bases even though i am a tall guy with big hands, as i find the one fret per finger principle too stretched on a full scale bass. coming from guitar, or uke you may have a similar problem. having said that i just bought an acoustic full scale bass and i love it!

01-08-2010, 09:34 PM
..oh and bassmasta.com has loads of stuff to help you plus thousands of songs tabbed

Floyd Blue
01-08-2010, 09:54 PM
I guess it is as easy, as playing or learnig to play any other instrument. You have some work to do, if you want to play it properly.

01-09-2010, 09:13 AM
Listen carefully to a lot of different music. Pay particular attention to what the bassist plays (or doesn't play) and how tight the bass stays with the bass drum. Also, put on your favorite cds and play along. A good place to start for very fundamental bass is U2. Sting/Police is another good listen.

And when you practice, focus on smooth transitions between notes. Because the bass neck is so long and the strings can be noisy, it can be difficult to shift between notes without a lot of string noise at first.

There is a forum called Talkbass that I belong to. However, since I spend most of my time either here or on facebook, I don't know much about it. http://www.talkbass.com/forum/index.php

01-09-2010, 09:52 AM
Being a big reggae and dub fan, I've always wanted to pick up bass as well.

01-09-2010, 10:15 AM
Bass is what you make it. I've been playing for 12 or so years, and I can definitely play bass, but whether or not I can play bass *well* or whether I can really add a lot to a song is a different story altogether... I've played a ton of basses, but I don't consider myself to be really *good* at bass.

It helps to know a bit of theory and to practice lots of scales. If you want to learn funk bass, or slap, or anything like that, I'd recommend not going with an acoustic bass.

From my experience, "reasonably priced" acoustic basses tend to have really awful action, and they're terribly quiet. I haven't found many acoustic basses that I like. The ones I played that I really liked were Takamines (pricy) and Ibanezes (less pricy, but the sound wasn't as good). I've never played a Fender acoustic bass that I liked (mid to high end Fender electric basses are about as good as you could ask for). I suppose you could look into Dean basses... But don't order online. They tend to be hit or miss (from my experience).

Electric basses are a different story altogether... I highly recommend Ibanez electric beginner basses, and Fender intermediate basses.

Whenever I play bass when I jam with people on acoustic guitars, I usually just stick to using a 15 watt amp and my electric bass.

I play this one (Ibanez EDC700):

and the only other bass I've ever played that I liked as much was a Fender Jaguar:

Whatever you pick, make sure you get the instrument set up with nice low action. It can be very difficult on a lot of beginner basses to fret the notes because the action is poor and the string tension is so high.

As far as learning, I second the other resources that have been suggested. And I do this a lot to build finger strength:


I hope that helps.

Chris Tarman
01-23-2010, 07:42 PM
Bass is pretty easy to start, but it can be as hard as you want to make it. I started playing in 1980. My other friends all played other instruments and no one played bass. I was literally playing in a band the very first day I had my bass. Not WELL, mind you! All I could do was go "duhduhduhduhduh" on the root notes. But that works quite well for some songs. After playing for nearly 30 years, there are certain times and certain songs where I still do that.
Ok, so bass is pretty easy to get STARTED on, but it can take a long long time to sound like a bass player. I have known a lot of guitar players who knew way more than I do about notes and scales and who could whip out bass parts like no one's business. But very few of them play bass like a bass player would. It's hard to pinpoint, but there is just something wrong with the "feel". A big part of it I think is knowing when to be simple and when NOT to play. And little things like varying the length of notes, muting, etc.
I always strongly encourage people to give it a try if they're interested. If you find that you like playing bass and can do it halfway well, you can usually find gigs.

02-16-2010, 04:14 PM
Is learning the ukulele difficult? No.

Is it difficult to play well? Yes!

Same with bass, or anything else.