Playing your favorite music instrument is not only fun, but it also gives you personal fulfillment. You can use the skill as a hobby or become a full-time professional player of the instrument, whether it is a drum, a piano or a guitar. If you have always been yearning to be a bass guitar player, brace yourself for adventurous times ahead. Bass guitars are used in almost all music genres and their role is to boost the bass aspect of the music artistically. They also give the music rhythm and taste class that it deserves. In most cases, bass guitars are used in conjunction with other instruments such as drums and guitars.
Maybe you are an ardent follower a particular band and you are amazed by the expertise of the bassist. You always wish that one day you will be able to play bass guitar just like that bassist. It’s high time that you get out of your cocoon and try your hand in playing this music instrument. A bass guitar has some additional features that differentiate it from the normal guitar. It has a different tone, fewer strings and requires a more technical approach to handling it. The article is going to give you deep insight of how to play bass guitar.
1. Choose a bass guitar
As a student, you don’t want to choose the wrong guitar that will give you difficult time. Choose a student bass guitar because it has simple features that you will understand within a short time. Of course while planning to purchase the guitar, you should consider your budget. Before we go deeper into the art of playing this guitar, you should familiarize yourself with different parts of the bass guitar. Just like a normal guitar, a bass guitar is made up of the Neck, Headstock, and Fretboard. The fretboard has frets and they are responsible for different notes.
2. Tune a Bass Guitar
This is the part of learning that most of the beginners freak, tuning the bass guitar. You can’t play this instrument without tuning correctly especially if you will be playing it with other band members. Once you have tuned it correctly, the rest of the tasks will be executed with much ease, and you will grasp other aspects of the guitar faster. Just like the normal guitar, a bass guitar has four strings which are E, A, D and G. However, its octave is lower than that of the regular guitar. The procedure for tuning a bass guitar is similar to that of a regular guitar though in some situations you will have to use different methods.
Manual tuning: This method is ideal to a learner. You may find yourself in some situations where other methods of tuning are not available and this will force you to revert to the manual way. The method is all about understanding the strings and adjusting the pegs accordingly. One manual way of tuning bass guitar is known as the 5th Fret Method. Here you get one string and tune it to the lowest pitch. You will then use that string as a reference point of tuning the others. It does not need the assistance of other instruments, and it also gives the opportunity to practice with the tuning.
Electronic tuners and mobile apps: Thanks to advanced technology, you won’t have to be stressed with the issue of tuning a bass guitar. You only need to connect your guitar to the tune then pluck one string. Adjust the tuning pegs until the tuner indicates that the guitar has been correctly tuned. Repeat the procedure with all the remaining strings until you achieve the desired tune. An almost similar method of tuning a bass guitar is through the use of mobile apps. You can download apps that have been specifically designed to help with guitar tuning.
3. Learn how to pluck the bass guitar
In bass guitar, the middle finger and the index fingers of your right hand should be well positioned so as to pluck the strings. Ensure that the fingers do most of the plucking so as to minimize the movement of arms and wrist. You should also practice how to alternate between the index and the middle finger.
Another method of plucking a bass guitar is by using a pick. Hold a heavy guitar pick between the index finger and the thumb. Pluck the string upwards, across then downwards in a continuous motion.
4. Know how to mute the guitar
While using the bass guitar, the strings should not vibrate against each other. The best way of dealing with this situation is to learn how to mute other strings while one is vibrating.
5. Using your left hand, try to press the strings very hard. This will facilitate a smooth plucking process and also increase the accuracy of each pluck. Do not allow any looseness as it can affect the overall quality of the bass.
6. Position your hands correctly
Both of your hands should be on the bass guitar and you should try to be comfortable in that position. The left hand should be in the direction of the tuning pins of the bass guitar. Put the index finger of your left hand on the first fret and other fingers should be positioned on the remaining frets.
7. Practice how to play in time
When it comes to bass guitar, time is of great essence whether you are playing the bass in a band or not. How can you learn about timing? You can practice using any rhythm device that is available. Some of the common devices that you can use include metronome and drum machine. While using the metronome, you should bass notes with each beat of the metronome. Start by using slow beats and as you gain experience, you can start using fast beats. Alternatively, you can still take care of the timing issue by playing the bass along with a music record.
8. Practice regularly
You can only become a pro bass guitarist by practicing regularly. Make it a daily routine and you should dedicate at least an hour of your day. Get a nice place where you can practice smoothly without being distracted by anything or anyone. Track you progress and record all those aspects of the practice that give you a hard time. Revisit them at a later date of course after you have conducted adequate research. The process of learning how to play bass guitar can give you many challenges, but the fruits are much sweeter.