Learning the Notes on A Bass Guitar

Learning the Notes on A Bass Guitar

Learning to play wonderful music on a bass guitar is no easy task, it is something which needs time, effort, patience, and something which also requires dedication, to get the sounds just right.

Whether you choose to teach yourself, or you go down the line of paying for bass guitar lessons, it’s important to make sure that you get one step right before you move onto the next one.

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Playing the bass guitar is like anything else in life, if you teach yourself (or you’re taught) one step in the process, and you don’t practice it until it really sinks in before moving onto the next one, you’re starting your next stage on a very rocky foundation – this doesn’t make the best foundation for wonderful and sweet, sweet music!

Notes & Chords

You will learn your trade first of all on a beginner-friendly bass guitar, and that means it will have four strings. There are five and six string versions available, but these are really best served for more intermediate or experienced players, and if you attempt to start on one of these types of instruments, you’re going to confuse yourself and make your whole task that much harder.

Basically, the notes on a bass guitar are influenced by the strings, and on a four string instrument there are, obviously, four strings and therefore four notes.

The string which is nearest the top of the instrument is the thickest of the strings, and this is the lowest sound you can from on a bass guitar. This is a very commonly used note, so you need to make sure you can learn to get this one right, in order to form he best foundation for your musical endeavours in the future. The fourth string is tuned to an E note, so it is called the E string.

Now, moving down you have the third string, and this is tuned to an A. The second string is tuned to a D note, and the bottom string is the thinnest, this is a G note.

You should first master the fourth and third strings, the E and A notes. These will form the foundation of your music, before adding in the second most important notes, the D and G notes.

The best way to begin is by playing the notes over and over, in a form of repetition, because this way you will tune your brain and your fingers to recognise the notes as second nature. When you are completely practised in the first two notes, move onto the other two, and then practice all four together.

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To give you an idea of where the notes are on the instrument, the natural notes, the first seven notes, A,B,C,D,E,F,G are worked in a backwards manner, so you will play G first, down to A – for the purposes of playing the bass guitar and learning the notes on a bass guitar you should think backwards in terms of the alphabet!

The notes are two frets apart from one another, so you need to learn to teach your fingers to move this distance away from each other when you change notes in a natural way – once you practice this movement, again, it will become second nature.

There is an exception to the two frets apart rule, and that is with the steps between E and F, and B and C, as these are just one fret apart instead.

E, A, D, G – Form the Basic Notes on a Bass Guitar

Provided you have learnt the above notes, by working with the top two first and then adding in the bottom two, you will have the basic notes down, in order to combine other notes for more in-depth music. E, A, D, G are the most natural of notes, so obviously these should be learnt first – a little like learning how to type, with memorising the home keys (the middle row) first.

Basically, learning to play the bass guitar, and figuring out the notes on a bass guitar is really about repetition before technique, because once you know the notes, you can then learn to tweak your technique accordingly.

Again, check out Blues Bass For Guitar Players for some more information and to explore the more technical aspects in visual detail.

Our Top Pick For Blues Bass Lesson

Learn Perfect Blues Bass Lines Fast!

Learn More

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