How to learn bass as a guitarist (exercises and tips)

How to learn bass as a guitarist (exercises and tips)

If you’re a guitarist who is looking to make the switch from that instrument to the bass, you may find it a more challenging transition than you expected. While they may look similar, these are after all two fairly different instruments, which means an adjustment period is to be expected.

However, there are exercises and tips for guitar players who want to take up bass that can speed up the whole process and make it a fair bit smoother. If you’re looking for something like that, you’ve come to the right place, so let’s see what can help you play bass better.

Examine the differences

A good starting point is examining all the differences between the bass and your guitar. It’s not just about the number of strings on each instrument, it’s also about the different techniques of playing them. For example, the position of the musician’s hand is completely different.

There are plenty of excellent videos on the internet that can point these things out, and this way you will be able to change your whole mindset. Obviously, when you start playing, you will explore the differences further, but learning some theory can help you grasp everything much faster.


Switching to the bass can also be physically demanding. The strings are much further apart, so your fingers will need some practice. It’s not uncommon that they get sore, and sometimes even injuries happen.

To stretch your fingers a bit, you can do the 1-2-3-4 ascending exercise, the same one many guitar players use. You should also try to get a feel of every possible finger combination, and a few position shifts can also help a lot. This all focuses on improving the skills you have in your fretting hand, but there’s more. 

You can, for example, start practising your rhythm, first with a full beat, then with a half-beat and finally with a quarter beat. That way, you get a whole different perspective of the bass.

Keep things familiar

Another good tip is to first start with the songs you’re already familiar with on the guitar. This will give you a completely new perspective of the song and keep your interest high, which will allow you to focus better and learn faster. 

On top of that, many songs’ bass and guitar parts match, so you should be able to master these quickly. You don’t have to think about the notes, which allows you to explore other aspects of playing the bass. After that, you can gradually shift to the songs in which the two instruments’ parts differ more and more.

So, there definitely are ways with which you can speed up the process of getting used to the bass after playing the guitar for a while. Preparing yourself thoroughly goes a long way, and consistent exercises can prevent injuries. After a period of adjustment, you will soon feel at home when playing the bass.

Beginners need to work on every aspect of their musicianship, and should have a well-rounded practice session, emphasizing technique, but also touch on ear training and musical development.The bass may only have four strings compared with the electric guitar’s six, but that doesn’t make it any easier to learn to play properly. … So no, the bass isn’t necessarily easier to play than the electric guitar. If you can’t play the guitar, then just play bass. This is somewhat connected to the myth above.

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