Five reasons why you should be playing bass guitar

If you’re thinking about getting into music, taking up an instrument, and joining a band then bass guitar lessons might not be your first choice. The guitar looks more glamorous, and drums make more noise, right? Well maybe you should reconsider.

Here at Rock Scholars we LOVE the bass guitar - without the bass music has no groove, no soul, no heart. That’s why we offer bass lessons including bass lessons for kids. 

If you’re not convinced here are 5 reasons why you should be playing bass guitar.

1 It doesn’t have to be hard

The job of the bass guitar in a band is to lock down the bottom end, emphasise the rhythm of the song, and bring the groove. And you can do that with even the simplest of basslines.

A good bassline could be nothing more than playing the changes, following the root note of each chord as the rest of the band moves through the song. Rhythmically you can lock in with the kick drum and nothing can go too far wrong. It can be as simple as a single driving note underneath the rest of the band.

Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters is a master of the understated bassline, but never more so than here where his simple walking bass through the verse is the musical hook that holds this classic song together.

Because one of the bass player’s jobs is to follow and accentuate the chord changes in a song, taking bass guitar lessons is not only a great fun way to learn to play a musical instrument, but it’s also a fantastic entry into learning the basics of music theory, understanding how chords work, and how they link together.

2 Be the Glue

In most songs the drums provide the tempo and the beat. The mid-range instruments – the guitars and keyboards – play the riff and the chord progressions that give a song its structure. But the bass guitar is the glue that holds it all together.

By playing on the beat with the drummer, and following the chord changes with the other instruments, the bass connects the band and brings it all together. Check out Smoke on the Water - this song starts with the most famous guitar riff in rock history and builds up with the drums and organ, but what really drives this song along? Listen to how it all comes together when the bass starts up at 0:33 in this video.

3 Bring the Groove

It doesn’t matter what style of music you’re listening to – it’s the groove that gets heads nodding, feet tapping, and bodies on the dance floor, and it’s the bass that brings the groove. It may be the drums that set the tempo, and the guitars and keyboards that play the tune, but the rhythm and feel in music comes from that pulsing bottom end; that’s the groove and it’s all down to the bass.

Music without the bass sounds puny and soulless, and the song doesn’t move. Could you have funk or dance music without the bass? You could not.

Check out the groove of the bass line in Chic’s timeless disco classic Le Freak:

4 It hurts so Good

When you play the bass you don’t just hear the music, you feel it. The low frequencies that come from a bass guitar cranked through a big sound system will loosen your fillings and make you tingle all over. That thumping your chest you get at a big show is coming from the bass guitar.

When you play the bass for the first time and realise you have control over all that seismic power at the tips of your fingers it will give you a huge buzz – literally. The thick strings and heavy body of a bass guitar give out a vibration that you can feel before you even plug it in. Once you’re connected up to your amp you can make the walls shake and the floor rumble, and it’s not just you that feels it. The band, the audience and anyone else within 200 metres will pick up on your thing.

The Stranglers’ Jean Jacque Brunel knows how to put the bass in your face and he has a bass tone to die for.

5 Be Front and Centre

We’ve talked about role of the bass guitar in a band – bringing the groove, being the glue, giving the music the bottom end, its depth and soul. But sometimes the bass player can be front and centre too. There are some awesome bass-playing front men and front women you can take inspiration from – Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott, Lemmy of Motorhead, American rocker Suzi Quatro - and our local fave Sinead O’Hara from Perth band Flossy. But even if you don’t want to put yourself in the limelight, your bassline still can be out in front.

The movie Bohemian Rhapsody has introduced a whole new generation to the 80s creative force that was Queen. No surprise that their 1980 smash hit Another One Bites the Dust was written by bassist John Deacon, and if there was ever a way to put the bass guitar at the heart of a song, this is it.

Rock Scholars is Perth’s favourite contemporary music school and we specialise in putting kids and teenagers in a creative, stimulating environment where they can find their voice and make music with other young musicians. If you’re looking for Perth bass lessons, or bass lessons for kids, please call us today on 0437 806 109 or complete an enquiry form here.