You normally hear guitarists say that what they do is to make their guitars sing. How about the bassists? Well, what they should do is to make their bass guitars dance.
You see, the bass, together with the drums, is the one giving rhythm to the band’s sound. What’s more important is that it also keeps what it provides. It is safe to say that without the depth of the bass’ resonance, the overall sound of the band will be wispy and flimsy.
While it may be dismissed as just providing this thick drone to complement the sounds of the guitar, the bass need not be limited to this. Remember about “dancing”? The bassist’s job is to lay out a solid sonic foundation but at the same time be creative with the chords and their progression so as to liven up the songs.
To make this possible, you need to accustom yourself with the different bass playing techniques, which you could get an introduction to–and later on study–if you enroll in bass guitar lessons.
Others would say that it is best to discover the art of bass playing on your own (with the help sometimes of instructional videos, books, magazines, advice from fellow musicians, etc.), but attending a class is actually more reliable since it involves the help of a professional teacher and the time to study and practice in this learning method is more focused. Also, there is a system to follow so students will find it easier to progress from one lesson to another.
As far as techniques go, here are some tips in playing the bass that both the rookie and the advanced player can benefit from.
As earlier mentioned, the bass guitar and drums go together. As such, a great bass player should know how to make, keep, and follow a steady beat–in a crafty way, no less. Since the bass guitar is tasked for time-keeping, it is important for the bassist to be keen about both unaccented and accented beats so that the flow of the song is well-calculated. They say to make music takes heart. Well, to make bass music, it takes heart, primarily the way it beats.
Master your guitar notes and chords
Bass guitar lessons may require you to revisit your guitar notes and chords. Bass guitars are usually tuned the way regular guitars are. The only difference is that the guitar has more strings than the bass. But then playing both is basically the same. So it will help if you are well-read when it comes to your notes and chords. Bass playing, though, is more concerned about the notes. As such, you should know the notes–and the tunings as well–of ordinary guitars to be able to deftly play the bass.
Place your fingers where they are due
Have you seen how Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Flea rocks the bass? How frenzied his fingers on the fretboard! It will be easier for you to be more experimental with the way you play if you have complete control of your fingers as you do so. In particular, the fingers of your left hand should be accurate in hitting the bass guitar fretboard since this is what will determine the clarity of each note. But, of course, the right-hand fingers should not be left out since they are important when it comes to playing the bass using a holistic approach.
Work on your grip
The bass guitar is a sturdy musical equipment. You need strength to be able to play it. Thus, you should develop not just the dexterity of your fingers but also their power. When you play, you should be able to accurately press down the strings for the notes to come out as thick and whole. There are many exercise offered in bass guitar lessons that could help you develop finger strength and flexibility.
Cindee Daniel, who has a degree in Journalism, has been a casual yet big fan of music since he first listened to The Beatles when he was 10. He then came to discover other bands, most specifically from the punk, grunge, and post-grunge movements, and has since been interested in the scene. His exposure to music saw him writing music reviews for various websites and founding his own band, with him composing songs and performing drumming duties.
You may want to visit Bass Guitar Lessons for more information or you may call us directly at 619-231-8505.
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