The bass guitar is the foundation for almost all forms of music. Electric bass guitar became popular with the advent of rock and roll in the early 1950's. Until that point, the antiquated double bass was used widely. In order to learn how to play the electric bass
guitar, some basics are necessary. Here are five quick ones to get you going.
What you will learn includes:
1. Names of the strings.
2. Where the notes are on the fret board.
3. What the notes look like on sheet music.
4. How to build hand strength.
5. String memory, hand/finger strength and fret work precision.
6. Reading tablature.
First, learn the names of the strings. A bass guitar has only four strings which are tuned to the same tones as the bottom four strings of a standard six string instrument. Those notes are E, A, D, and G, in order from the biggest to the smallest. All bass guitars, electric or otherwise, are the same in this way.
Take this information and draw out a picture of a fret board. Label each string with it's name and then chart the notes on each fret. This will help you to memorize the fret board so you will always know where to play the next note while playing the bass.
Next you will want to learn to read music. This will help you to recognize the notes on the strings as they appear on sheet music. This is a skill that can be very valuable when learning songs or writing music. Reading music is not hard but adds a level of confidence for the player as well as versatility and fun.
Because getting your hands used to the heavy strings of a bass guitar, practice playing one note at a time. Repetitive single notes are very common in bass lines of songs. Once you have the feel down, you can move on to other skills and speed exercises.
Follow up the single notes with notes on different strings. Practicing this way helps build hand and finger strength. It also gets you accustomed to switching strings and memorizing the locations of the strings. In addition to the strength building, doing this practice helps build speed and fret precision. You should be able to play without looking at your fret hand.
One thing you can do that will benefit you greatly is learning to read bass tablature. This is like reading sheet music, only there are only four lines. Each line represents a string. The bottom line is the thickest string; the top line is the smallest string. On each line, there are numbers that tell you which fret to play on that string.
These six basic skills are only designed to get you started. Just start out with the most basic elements and move on at your own speed. Practice until you have each skill pretty well under your belt. Remember that practice is the key to your success at playing the electric bass guitar.
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