Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang! Four Tips to Improve Your Bass Playing

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4 Tips to Improve Your Bass Playing

You can never get enough practice, but I’ve got a few suggestions to help you on your bass journey. If you follow these four tips, you’ll be playing better in no time:

1. Set aside practice time and stick to it. The most successful musicians treat practicing like any other job or task that needs to be done. Decide on a daily schedule and stick to it. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you improve!

2. Try different methods of practicing. There are a lot of bass books available with instructions, lessons and exercises designed to improve your skills. Get a few of them and try them out!

3. Warm up before playing and cool down when you’re done. Just like athletes need warm-up drills before they perform and stretching after they’re finished, so do bass guitarists (and all musicians). Use the first few minutes of your practice session for warm-ups, and finish with some gentle stretches for your fingers, wrists, arms and shoulders. This will help keep your body limber and free from injury while practicing or performing.

4. Record yourself playing so you can listen back to identify things that need improvement. Recording yourself is one of the best

1. Technique and Theory – A lot of people who play the electric bass guitar simply practice songs, but don’t take the time to learn proper technique or theory. Focusing on technique means learning your scales, arpeggios and chords. Learning theory means understanding how chords are built and what notes you can substitute. By knowing this information, you’ll have a better understanding of how to play over chord changes.

2. Listen to Different Types of Music – The more music you listen to the deeper your understanding will be of jazz harmony and melody. Start with artists like Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and John Coltrane and work from there. Some other styles I recommend listening to are Motown, R&B, Country and Rock ‘n Roll. It’s also important to listen to modern musicians as well such as Wynton Marsalis and Michael Brecker.

3. Play with Other Musicians – It’s very easy for bass players to sit in their basements or bedrooms practicing alone for hours on end (I’ve done it!). But if you really want to improve your playing, jamming with other musicians is essential!

4. Practice Every Day – The best tip I can give anyone who wants to improve at playing any instrument is to practice every day!

Do you want to get better at the bass guitar? Here are some tips.

First, practice scales and arpeggios. Any good book on theory or technique will list the scales and arpeggios of all the keys in a variety of patterns. Start with all four fingers on one string, then move to two, then three, then four strings. Use alternate picking as much as possible.

Next, learn as many songs as you can by ear. Playing jazz music is a great way to develop your ear while learning new material. Most jazz songs use the same chords over and over again. If you know these chords, you can play along with most songs after hearing them a few times. Since there are only seven notes in an octave, it is not that hard to figure out what chords are being used in any given song!

Once you have mastered these basics, start playing along with recordings of your favorite songs. Learn to recognize when chord tones (1/3/5/7) match up with bass notes in the song. This will help you to create melodic lines that fit over the chords of any song!

Finally, listen and copy the bass lines from other players on recordings of your favorite songs. Try to play along with

Photo by Rama, on Wikimedia Commons

There are several things you can do to improve your bass playing. Here are some of the best tips that I’ve found to help me be a better bass player.

Practice: If you want to get better at something, practice is the key. You can’t expect to become a great bass guitar player if you never practice. Even if you go to a music school or take private lessons, you need to spend time practicing on your own each day.

Be Your Own Teacher: Don’t wait for someone else to teach you how to play the bass guitar. Learn it on your own, and then seek out teachers and mentors when you have questions or need help with something specific.

Listen To Other Bass Players: Listen closely to other bass players and learn from them! Listen not only for the notes they play, but also for other aspects of their playing such as tone, phrasing, and technique.

Learn To Read Music: Learning how to read music will help you advance your skills faster than just learning how to play by ear alone. Knowing how to read music is essential for being able to play with other musicians in a band or ensemble setting.

One of the most gratifying experiences for a bass player is to be playing a song and get compliments from the audience or other band members. It’s great to know that you’re appreciated!

But how do you get to that point? What can you do to improve your bass playing skills so that when people hear you play, they say, “Man, he sounds good!”


I’m not sure why, but there is a tendency to overlook the bass guitar as a technique instrument. Maybe it’s because of the stigma that has plagued the bass as just a “chord instrument” for so long.

Maybe it’s because of the fact that many people begin playing the bass guitar without taking lessons and just play by ear.

In any case, I agree that it doesn’t take long to get started on bass guitar. But if you want to become more than just a “rhythm guitarist,” you need to learn how to do more than just play a few scales and chords in key.

Because of this perception (and perhaps reality), many musicians consider it unnecessary to invest too much time into their bass playing practice.

This is sad, but true.

You see, even though it might be easier to get started on bass than other instruments (at least in terms of learning chords and scales)–it’s still an instrument that can take years of practice to master! And unlike some other instruments, there are very few shortcuts when it comes to practicing bass guitar technique.

Even though many beginning players don’t learn how to read music or play from sheet music–you still need to

1. First, you must have a strong rhythm. The best way to do this is to spend time playing different styles of music. I tend to play with the pick, but I often switch to finger-style when I practice by myself. When you play with a group, don’t be afraid to change your style of playing depending on what type of music you’re playing. It’s also very helpful if you spend time listening to great jazz and rock bassists.

2. Second, you must have a good ear for music. This may take some time to develop, but it is worth the effort. You will constantly be listening for the right chord changes to the song and for different rhythms that are going on in the band at any given moment. A good ear is one of the most valuable tools you can have as a musician.

3. Third, it’s important to make sure that your bass sounds good when you play it! There are many ways this can be done: using distortion pedals, using compressors and EQs (equalizers), and even using effects like flangers and choruses can help your tone tremendously!

4. Fourth, you should know how to improvise well! Improvisation is an important skill for all musicians but especially

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