I put together a quick guide about how you can start playing “rock” bass. Rock is a very broad genre, so I’m going to focus on alternative rock right now.
Rock bass tone is often a mixture of playing with a pick and using a small amount of distortion on the signal. To accomplish a raw tone, make sure you are playing hard on the bass throughout the song.
I would suggest having a compression pedal and a distortion pedal. This will first tame the bass, then put it through the distortion to give it the iconic bass grit.
Most rock bass is usually an alteration of the chord structure or guitar riff (this isn’t always the case obviously). As far as punk bass is concerned, playing eighth notes of the root note of each chord is the driving force of the song. Punk bass lines are simple but extremely important.
There is no correct way to play rock bass. For the same song, you may alternate between using a pick and using your fingers. Don’t limit yourself to one style.
The easiest way to learn how to play rock bass is to join or start a rock band. Go out and play some gigs. Maybe you’ll get signed and live the life or a rock star.
Make sure you are always going out and playing with other musicians. Work on your tone and playing style; it’s a never-ending cycle.
Got any questions about playing rock bass? Leave a comment below.
The first scale you need to learn on the bass guitar is the major scale. It’s a critical part of music theory and can be found in many different popular songs.
The major scale consists of a pattern of whole and half steps. The pattern is shown below:
root whole whole half whole whole whole half octave
Here is a C major scale tab
It’s pretty simple, and once you memorize the pattern you can play a major scale starting on any note you choose.
If you are curious to learn about scales, check out the wikipedia article on major and minor scales. I will do a followup article about minor scales fairly soon.
Any questions? Leave a comment below.
The other important part of slap bass is popping, or pulling on the string fairly hard. Please read my slap bass lesson before proceeding.
Put your index finger under the thinnest string (G) and pull it away from the bass. When you release you should hear a snapping sound along with the note.
That’s pretty much everything you need to know about basic popping. Combine it with slapping and you’ve got yourself some funky bass!
Example 1 (S is for slap, P is for pop)
Example 2, a slightly more advanced tab that will help you coordinate your left and right hand.
And finally, another example, with a slightly harder rhythm.
Keep trying different tabs and focus on writing your own material. A lot of slap bass has to do with using octaves on the bass guitar, start there.
Once you become a little more familiar with popping, try using you middle finger as a substitute on faster songs.
Practice until you’ve got it down, then take on more advanced songs like “Higher Ground” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Leave a comment below if you need help or guidance for bass guitar popping.
I put together a short list of four awesome bass exercises. Remember to start slow, then build up to blazing speed!
The Weird One
Mello-Bass [Make sure you let the "~" notes ring out]
Guard Your Bass
Remember to have fun while you play, otherwise you are just wasting your time. I may post a video of my playing the riffs later on!
Please leave a comment or suggestion below!
I compiled a short list of three different sites that will help you grow as a bass player. Check them out:
1. Ultimate Guitar
UG is a great resource for finding tabs to songs by almost any popular band. They have a loyal community base of tabbers and are always adding the latest and greatest releases.
Also consider joining the forum there, but it’s mostly ruled by guitarists. There is a bass guitar sub forum worth checking out, still.
I watch 30 minutes of youtube videos per day, often related to bass guitar. Video is an incredible way to see your favorite players so you can observe their techniques and learn from them.
Also consider watching some of the tutorials and bass lessons available there. The only problem I’ve found is that you’ll have to sort through thousands of videos to find the best ones.
So you probably already use google for everything else, so why not finding bass information? You can find bass lessons, bass gear reviews, news and birographies about awesome bass players, and anything else.
These are just a basic three. There are tens of other sites I could recommend, but I find these 3 to have the most consistent quality.
Got any site suggestions? Let everyone know below.