The bass guitar is among the best instruments to learn because it teaches every musician a fantastic fundamental knowledge of music, rhythm, and how to play well with others, but it also comes with its own significant set of learning challenges. The bass guitar is a wonderful instrument, but is it a difficult instrument to learn how to play?
Learning the fundamentals of the bass guitar is simple, but mastering the instrument is a challenge. The bass is large and can be difficult to play, but with time, diligence, consistent practice, and proper instruction, learning the bass can be great fun, especially when you play songs that you love.
The bass guitar is truly something special. There is simply no instrument like it, and if you have the desire to play bass, nothing else will scratch the itch, but how challenging is it to learn to play the bass guitar? Is this something that anyone can do, or are other instruments easier to learn? Let’s find out!
Is Learning Bass Guitar Easy?
The bass guitar is among the most iconic of all instruments. Every genre is played on the bass, including all forms of modern music from every style and traditional music as well. The bass is unique, and nothing can replicate it, but is it a difficult instrument to learn?
The bass can be challenging to learn how to play. This is an unfortunate reality, but the fact is that the bass is a very large instrument, and it is equipped with very thick, heavy steel strings. This makes it one of the more challenging string instruments to master, but there are some important considerations to make regarding the difficulty of the instrument.
The bass is very large and has hard strings, but this instrument is surprisingly intuitive. Many people are born with a natural sense of rhythm, and learning the bass is made easier by this natural skill.
Learning to play the most basic of musical pieces on the bass is a very simple task, as very simple songs and melodies can be learned easily on the bass due to the simple layout and note placement of the instrument.
Anyone can put their finger on the string, pluck a note, and move to another without much difficulty, and for this reason, the bass can also be very easy to get started with, even if it is a challenging instrument to learn overall.
Learning the basics of the bass guitar is relatively simple compared to other instruments, but mastering this instrument is very challenging simply because there is so much to learn.
The bass guitar is immensely versatile and functions with a myriad of playing techniques and skills, but the very basic fundamentals and foundational techniques of the instrument as not complicated to learn and do not require much time to understand.
What are the Challenges when Learning Bass?
The bass is a very versatile instrument, and the versatility of the instrument is among the challenges that come with learning how to play it.
The beginning fundamentals of the bass guitar are simple to learn, but learning more advanced techniques that unlock the capabilities and potential of the bass can be very challenging to learn.
Another learning challenge that comes along with the bass guitar is controlling the size of the instrument. The sheer size of the bass means that every part of the instrument is scaled up in comparison to other string instruments.
Bass strings are far apart from one another, the frets on a bass guitar are far apart, the neck is long and difficult to reach, the fretboard is very wide, which makes accuracy a challenge, and the size of the instrument can make a bass very heavy as well.
The size of the bass guitar is a challenge that every bassist must overcome in order to play the instrument well.
Another challenge that comes along with playing the bass is learning to play with rhythm and feel and learning to master the musical elements of timing. These are critical components of playing the bass guitar, and they are some of the most challenging aspects of the functionality of the instrument, especially when playing with other musicians.
Apart from these challenges, all that the bassist must learn to do is practice well, and they will progress well in their bass playing abilities.
How Long does it Usually Take to Learn Bass?
A very frequently asked question surrounding the learning of the bass guitar is how long it takes to learn to play the instrument, and unfortunately, this question does not have a simple answer.
The time it takes to learn to play the bass is directly related to the amount of practice the bassist puts into learning the instrument.
Learning any instrument has a fundamental rule: what you put in is what you get out, in direct proportion.
This means that the bass player who works hard and practices well will progress far more quickly than the bassist who takes their time, is not diligent in practice, and does not take the time to learn the fundamentals of good practice techniques and methods.
The person who puts the most time into the instrument will learn to play the quickest, but this is not the only important factor in the equation. The other important factor is how the person practices.
There is such a thing as practicing badly, and practicing without the correct techniques, methods, instruction, and direction can lead to more bad habits than beneficial ones.
This means that the bassist who wants to learn how to play quickly and improve in a short time must learn to practice their instrument well, not only practice for long periods of time.
A combination of diligent practice, good practice techniques and methods, and time will cause a bassist to learn their instrument very quickly compared to others.
A person who applies these principles to their bass playing can learn the fundamentals of the instrument in just a few months and can be well on their way to mastering the instrument in only a year or two, but the person who does not practice well will take many years to master the instrument.
Can you Teach Yourself to Play Bass?
The bass guitar can be a very challenging instrument to learn, and it is important to practice well to make any significant progress, particularly in the beginning stages of learning the instrument.
This means that it can be very difficult to learn the bass guitar without the help of a teacher or an experienced bass-playing friend who can answer your questions.
There are some excellent online bass guitar resources and lessons that can propel a bass player into excellent abilities, but they must be very diligent within themselves to learn without the accountability of having a bass teacher to answer to.
Learning under a good bass teacher is one of the best ways to learn to play quickly and progress in bass playing ability quickly.
With that being said, there are many incredibly bass players who are entirely self-taught, so teaching yourself to play is entirely possible but does make the process all the more challenging.
If you teach yourself to play the bass, be sure that you have the time to do it and the diligence to practice consistently. If not, it is better for you to seek tuition with a good bass teacher.
How to Make Learning Bass Easier
Every bass player will encounter some challenges and difficulties in the process and journey that is learning to play the bass, but there are some things that every bassist can do to make the process easier.
The best way to make learning the bass as easy as possible is to enroll with a good bass teacher. A good teacher will provide the guidance and instruction that you need to get good as quickly as possible while making the process as easy as possible.
Another thing that can make the process easier is to have as much fun as possible. Learning the bass can feel like a drag if all you do is learn techniques, scales, and fundamentals. It is important to take the time to enjoy the instrument and play the music that excites and inspires you.
A good way to enjoy the instrument is to learn to play all of the songs that made you want to learn the bass in the first place or to acquire some new gear that gives your bass a different sound or makes it easier to play or practice.
Is Learning Bass Harder than other Instruments?
The bass guitar can be challenging to learn, but many prospective bass plays wonder how difficult the bass is to learn in comparison to other instruments, especially other string instruments?
The truth is that the bass can be more difficult to learn than other string instruments due to its size. The bass is far larger than most other string instruments, and this can be a challenge to overcome.
Apart from the size of the bass, there is nothing else that makes it more difficult to learn than other string instruments. Once the player has learned to cope with the size of the instrument, learning the bass requires the same dedication and practice as any other instrument to learn.
When compared to instruments, the bass guitar can be easier or more challenging to learn comparatively. The bass is easier to learn and understand than the piano is, but it is more difficult to learn than playing a simple string instrument such as the ukulele.
The bass can be challenging to master, as there is a great multitude of techniques and methods that must be learned to master the instrument, but learning the basics of the bass are surprisingly simple, especially when compared to more complicated instruments such as the piano.
What to Remember When Learning to Play Bass
If you are considering learning the bass guitar, there are some things to remember along the way to make the process easier, make the bass itself more manageable, and increase the rate at which you progress.
These are some things to remember when learning the bass guitar:
Bass Hurts – it is normal to experience slight pain in your fingers, hands, wrists, and arms when learning the bass; this is something that every bassist experiences, and it will subside over time.
Learning Takes Time – learning any new skill takes some time. Do not expect to pick up the bass and be playing like a pro in a few days. This instrument will take time to learn, but you will achieve your goals with dedication and practice.
Practice Every Day – this is an important aspect of learning the bass that many students neglect. The best way to progress on the instrument is to pick it up every day and intentionally learn something. Never stop learning, and your progress will never slow down.
Stick With It – learning to play the bass will sometime feel like too big of a challenge, but be patient, stick with it, have endurance, and you will soon come through this rough patch, and your playing will be all the better for it.
Watch Other Bassists – an important fundamental of learning the bass guitar is learning the techniques and methods of those that come before you. Spend time watching other bass players play live or on every video that you can find, and learn from those who have already mastered the instrument.
You Will Improve – even if it does not feel like it at the moment, your bass playing will improve. A good way to measure your skill improvement is to record yourself playing something and record yourself playing the same piece a month later and observe the differences. Even if you do not feel in the moment, with consistent practice, you will always improve.
The bass guitar is a challenge. Learning this instrument is not a simple process, but it is something that can be done by anyone who loves the instrument and who is inspired to learn well. The process can be long, but stick with it and practice well, and you will be playing bass in no time.
Take the time to practice well, develop good foundational and fundamental techniques, go to a teacher if you have that possibility, and enjoy the bass as much as you can along the way! Always remember that playing the bass is not a chore, but it is a joy!