Bass isn’t just a guitar with fewer strings. It is a particular musical genre with its distinct tone, scale length, musical role, and technical requirements.
New bassists typically double the guitar part one octave lower. Listen to Sweet Emotion by Aerosmith, The Ocean by Led Zeppelin, and Pantera breaks me.
But the bass guitar has so much more to offer.
As a bassist who later picked up a guitar, We have devised five general bass playing guidelines. By thinking and playing like a bassist, you’ll notice an improvement in your playing.
Play for the song
When it comes to good bass playing, more often than not, it is necessary to exercise patience and subtlety rather than displaying your technical proficiency and flashy maneuvers. Working primarily with the root notes of chords and locking in with the drummer’s kick-and-snare-drum patterns is ideal in many cases.
Learn to walk
Walking bass is a jazz and blues technique that has spread to various genres. The word refers to a playing style where the bass line constantly moves rather than staying on one note. With occasional embellishment, the line moves from one chord fundamental note up or down to the next.
Transition notes are used to seamlessly link the dots and bridge the space between root notes as the chords change. You can use any combination of chord tones (arpeggios), scale tones related to the chords, or chromatic passing tones.
A chord tone is the safest bet musically; scale tones hint light discord when heard against an underlying chord. The more chromatic notes utilized, the more discordant the line, as they conflict with the dominant chord. Whether or not this is a good thing is up to you.
Lock in with the drummer
In a rhythm section, the bass guitar helps to connect the drums and the rest of the ensemble. An excellent method to make bass and drums sound like one thing is to write bass lines that perfectly complement the drummer’s kick and snare drum.
Octaves allow you to build an active bass line with an angular melodic contour that doesn’t clash harmonically with the underlying chords.
Playing the same song over and over again isn’t grooving. In Led Zeppelin’s The Lemon Song, John Paul Jones embellishes the groove and keeps within the bass’ function as a support instrument for six minutes without repeating himself.
Use octaves and fifths
The fifth is the most harmonically pleasing note after the octave root. Many famous bass lines are built on roots, octaves, and fifths. So you can construct a bass line that’s intriguing, melodic, and doesn’t clash harmonically with the underlying chords.
Some record producers prefer it when bass players use a pick rather than a pick since the attack is more consistent. Alternatively, if you’re a fingerstyle player who wants to accomplish a more constant attack, try using only one finger, such as the index (rather than alternating between the index and middle fingers), for the majority of your attacks.
James Jamerson, a Motown bass superstar, taught John Paul Jones this method, which he put to good use on several famous Led Zeppelin songs, including Good Times, Bad Times, and Ramble On.
What do you think about those five easy guides on how to play bass for beginners? Is it helpful for you? Those are just simple guides, and there are lots of things that you need to learn to play bass. So, make sure that you know all things to be a good bass player.