Hobbies and pastimes are important to us all, they challenge us, relax us, and let us have a good time. We're often happy to spend a lot of time on hobbies like learning a new instrument, but sometimes the financial investment to these hobbies can be a bit more daunting.
These days it can sometimes seem that nothing is free and you have to spend money every step of the way, and learning an instrument like the bass guitar is no different.
Too much expenditure can put people off trying something new, especially when times get tough, so we've put together this article to give you some helpful tips and tricks to stick to your budget when it comes to learning to play the bass guitar.
Learning Bass as a Beginner
When starting learning bass guitar, there are a lot of upfront costs involved to get the right equipment and gear you need to start playing. Because of this, as a beginner you might not want to continuously invest money into the hobby. Luckily there's a few places where you can learn the basics for free or quite cheap.
Tips For Starting Out
Firstly though, remember to shop around when you're buying your original set up. A new bass guitar, amplifier, and other accessories cost a fair bit of money. As a beginner you could consider buying second hand from local buy and swap websites, or even renting a bass guitar for lessons until you are sure you want to commit to the instrument.
A beautiful thing about the bass guitar is that it is used in pretty much every genre of music, including but not limited to:
This means that as you progress in ability you will be able to try your hand at a multitude of styles of music and see what you enjoy the most. It also means that there are a lot of different methods and ways of playing the bass.
If you're starting from scratch, it's probably best to focus on one style of music until you get the hang of things. Many guitarists start their musical journey by teaching themselves how to play, some people will then choose to take lessons from a teacher but that's up to you.
You can find many resources online that will help you learn the bass, and quite quickly too if you put in a bit of effort! Here's a couple of great websites to look at when you want to learn the bass guitar.
As both a mobile app and a website, Ultimate Guitar offers portable guitar tabs for over 1.4 million songs that you can read along with and practice for yourself.
For this to work you need to have a basic understanding of how to read and play guitar tabs, but this is easy to pick up after a bit of research.
Ultimate Guitar has a premium feature which you can pay a monthly fee to get rid of ads and gain access to other features like moving tabs and instructor videos, but a lot of the content is accessible for free.
Tabs are normally made by other musicians by listening to the songs, so they are not always 100% accurate, but they are an excellent place to start learning bass guitar and start playing your favourite tunes!
This website will give you a bit more direction when you are beginning as a bass player. It is run by a passionate bass teacher who simply wants to share his knowledge and passion with others.
The bulk of the course is free, as at study bass they believe everyone has the right to learn! It involves a course of step by step bass guitar video lessons that will teach you all you need to know in paced out stages.
To support the project and the man behind it, you can become a member of the site for $14 a month which gives you access to all the study packs, or you can buy study packs for $9 each. These packs include extra resources for the base lessons in each curriculum.
Study Bass offers a great way to cheaply make a good start on your bass guitar playing.
YouTube Channels For Learning Bass Guitar
Another fantastic place for getting free resources and instructional videos is YouTube. You can learn how to do pretty much everything on YouTube, from weaving to hairdressing, and you can learn the bass guitar on YouTube too.
YouTube tutorials obviously aren't as personal or interactive as getting lessons with a tutor in person, but they still offer a good middle ground where you can watch experienced players offer their insight.
If the page posts regularly you could comment on videos and ask questions, there's no guarantee they'll reply but they might!
It seems like bass guitar players aren't quite as common as acoustic or electric guitar players, but there are still several good quality channels that you should consider visiting to get some free video lessons.
This YouTube channel is a goldmine of video tutorials for the bass guitar and other kinds of guitar. Marty Music also creates videos reviewing guitar gear and telling you how to keep your guitar in top shape.
You'll find playlists full of lessons for beginner bass guitar players, as well as many instructional videos for how to play specific songs on bass guitar.
Marty has well over 3 million subscribers so he's clearly doing something right!
BassBuzz is another YouTube channel where you can find a plethora of videos taking you through the steps to learn bass guitar from beginner to advanced levels.
As well as this, there are many videos highlighting tips and tricks to make your style of playing more comfortable and natural, with a big emphasis on having fun and a good time!
Once again Talking Bass offers it's viewers a multitude of videos in which you can learn how to play bass, learn some classic bass lines and songs, and watch reviews and interviews hosted by the channel.
This channel has been posting instructional bass guitar videos for over 8 years and continues to regularly post them, so it's clearly something that they are truly passionate about!
Mobile Apps to Help You Learn to Play Bass
It will take a fair bit of practice before you see your skills start to take shape on the bass, when you first start it's important to keep up momentum by practicing regularly.
Even if you just have time to grab your phone and play a few riffs, that's better than nothing!
You can even just practice reading tabs and sheet music by scrolling through them on mobile apps about learning bass. In order to learn properly, you need to be able to understand the music you are reading fluently so that you can then play it smoothly on the bass.
Little steps like this can really help you to improve your abilities and get you to a more advanced level at a quicker rate.
Most mobile apps are free for at least the base level of access, meaning there are heaps of resources to look at just waiting for you on the app store of your phone.
If you find an app you particularly like to use, consider paying for the premium access where you can get more in depth tutorials and better quality, official tabs.
Here are a few apps that you might like to investigate yourself.
As previously mentioned, ultimate guitar is a mobile app and website which offers you access to over 1.4 million free guitar and bass guitar tabs, with the option to buy premium access. There is more than enough free resources to keep you busy on the app though.
Having this in app form is so useful for portability as you can take your favourite tabs with you wherever you go!
This is another popular app for guitarists which can teach it's users how to play guitar, bass guitar, ukulele, and how to sing along.
The app offers thousands of songs and riffs to practice playing, and provides feedback to you instantly after you play as it listens along to you. This can help you sharpen up your abilities and improve in areas where you may be struggling.
Learn How to Play Bass Guitar
Another app that can give you some basic lessons in playing bass is simply called - Learn how to play bass guitar. There's no glamour to this app, but it does provide 70 free bass lessons on various styles and genres of music.
Getting a Start With Free Bass Lessons
When you're a total beginner, there's also some opportunities for you get a free lesson or two before you invest more time and money into the hobby.
Local music academies, music shops, or recording studios will sometimes host workshops and events where beginners can come and try out playing the guitar or bass guitar with a teacher. Here you can learn the basics and get a feel for if you enjoy playing the instrument.
This of course will only be one free lesson before you would either start classes with a tutor or begin a course at a music school.
The same is true for tutors at Superprof, your first lesson with a Superprof bass guitar tutor will be free of charge to let you get an idea of if you want to continue or not.
Classes with a tutor can be expensive, but are usually an excellent way to improve your abilities quickly. You could even take lessons occasionally to check in with a professional and see how you are going with your self taught skills.
However you decide to learn the bass guitar, we wish you the best of luck and hope this article has provided a few resources that you can use to your benefit.
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