Bass Guitar Anatomy

First let’s take a look at all the different parts that make up the bass guitar!


Tuning The Bass

The 5th Fret Tuning Method is a simple way to check your tuning and to tune your bass guitar. With this method you have to get at least one of your strings in tune (preferably the low E string), because from that string you will tune the rest of your strings using that as a reference. If you don’t have access to a tuning fork, keyboard, or other tuning device, then that’s fine. You can get one string as close as you can by ear and then tune the rest of the guitar to it. The guitar will be in tune with it’s self and will sound just fine, even if every string is a little sharp or flat.

Open Strings – Down below I will talk about playing Open Strings. To play an Open String means to play a string without fretting anything. So that’s why it’s called Open.

Use the picture as a reference, Assuming now that your 4th String(E note, thickest string) is in tune….

  • Fret the 5th fret on the 4th String, If your guitar is in tune or close, then if you pluck the fretted 4th string and the open 3rd String, they should sound pretty close. Turn the pegs on your 3rd string until they match the 4th String.
  • Now that the 3rd String is in tune we can now tune the 2nd String to it. It is the same process as before, fret the 5th fret on the 3rd string and play that string and the Open 2nd String, and then turn the pegs on the 2nd String until they match.
  • Same process again, fret the 5th fret on the 2nd String, and tune the Open 1st String to the fretted 2nd String.

This is why we call it the the 5th Fret Method? Your guitar should now be in tune.

You can also use an electronic tuner to tune your bass. You can buy a hardware unit but there are also apps you can download. I recommend the tuner called guitar tuna. Use the appropriate link below for your device.

Apple https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/guitartuna-tuner-for-guitar-bass-and-ukulele/id527588389?mt=8

Android https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ovelin.guitartuna&hl=en


Posture

The most important part of posture for a beginner bass guitarist is that the neck of the guitar goes up in a 45 degree angle. This allows you to see the fretboard clearly, keeps your left arm below the neck, and makes it much easier to fret the bass guitar. The easiest way to achieve this is with a strap. First try standing with your bass. Then sit and see if your bass moved drastically. If so you need to adjust the length of  your strap so the bass doesn’t move as you sit. To help achieve the 45 degree neck angle when your sitting, try using a foot stool.


Right Hand Technique

Now that we have good posture it’s time to play some notes. To do this, first place your thumb on the pickup like the picture below.

Now imagine your index and middle fingers on your right hand as a soldier marching left-right left-right. Now play the 4th string this way with this motion.

Now move your thumb down to the 4th string like in the picture and play the 3rd string with the same left-right motion.

Some players use this position to play the other strings like this too.

Some players anchor on the string below the one they are playing. You can decide what works for you.


Left Hand Technique

Now that we have our right hand sorted let’s now take a look at the left hand. To fret a note press down in the gaps between the frets. However you want to push your finger more slighty in the direction of the bridge. Note you must mute the other strings with the side of your finger so you don’t get any unwanted noises. Combine this with your right hand muting technique (where you place your thumb on the string or pick up below) to keep your playing nice and clean.


Learning Our First Notes

Let’s first learn some notes on the guitar so we can start to play some songs!

Now lets practice everything we’ve done so far by playing to the chord sheet below. Remember to use all the muting techniques you’ve learned to keep your playing clean. Use the online metronome below. Pick an easy tempo to start like 40bpm and play a note per click. Use the left right left right fingering with your plucking hand until it feels natural.

Online Metronome

40bpm 4/4

60bpm 4/4

80bpm 4/4

100bpm 4/4

120bpm 4/4

140bpm 4/4

160bpm 4/4

180bpm 4/4

Practice Guide

HOW LONG SHOULD I PRACTISE FOR ?
This depends on how quickly you want to learn.  Everybody is different but I have found that success on the guitar is directly in relation to how much time a student dedicates to their instrument. The times written below are in relation to quality practice i.e following the lesson materials as layed out on the website.