“Being a bass player in these big-time rock bands is hard work.” - Michael Anthony

Forget about guitarists, the bass is the bridge between the rhythm and the melody. The bassist plays with the drummer to create the sound that gets your head bobbing and your foot tapping. The bass guitar is a precious instrument and bassists aren’t anywhere near as common as guitarists, either. However, learning the bass can come at a cost.

The average cost of bass guitar tutorials in London is £29 per hour so with that in mind, let’s have a look at how you can save some money on bass guitar lessons.

Learning to Play Bass Guitar for Free with a Group or a Club

Working with a bass tutor or teacher is much quicker than teaching yourself to play the bass. Nevertheless, teaching yourself is often way cheaper, especially if you don’t have the disposable income to regularly employ a private tutor or music teacher.

Where can you learn bass guitar?
If you join a music club or association, you'll regularly get to hang out with people who can help you improve your playing. (Source: ryannguitar)

Of course, a lack of financial means is the first thing that may scupper your plans to get a teacher. It’s not the only thing, though.

You need to ask yourself if you’re motivated enough to learn to play the bass guitar. Learning to play a musical instrument takes a lot of time, patience, and, in some cases, money. Perhaps you don’t want to pay for lessons because you’re not that serious about learning to play the bass or you just might lot like spending money.

In some cases, we just can’t afford it but we’re deadly serious about learning to play a musical instrument. In this case, you might want to look for groups or clubs.

They’re not necessarily free, though, but there are cheap clubs or groups for people to play music together. That doesn’t mean that everyone in them will just teach you how to play the bass for free. There may be members of these groups who can help you get better at the bass who regularly offer classes or workshops to members paying the monthly, quarterly, or yearly membership fees, for example.

Some groups and clubs may just offer the lessons for free but if this isn’t the case, the membership fee may be so affordable that it’s almost as if they were.

Don’t hesitate to give this a go.

Find out more about learning bass guitar on a budget.

Get Bass Lessons in Return for Favours or Services

It’s becoming increasingly common for people to trade services rather than money. In this case, you won’t have to pay for your lessons with cash but you will have to return the favour.

Perhaps you have other talents. You might already play another musical instrument and offer lessons in that in return for your bass tutorials. Then again, you could always offer lessons in things like foreign languages, cooking, yoga, dancing, or sports.

Can you get free bass lessons?
Instead of paying for your bass lessons, you could offer a similar service in return, especially if you play another musical instrument. (Source: Vladvictoria)

If there’s nothing you can teach them, you can always offer favours like gardening, doing their shopping, cleaning their house, or doing some DIY for them.

You can strike up a deal with the person offering you bass guitar lessons. That said, you don’t always have to necessarily pay back your bass guitar teacher. There are a lot of sites where you can trade or sell things or advertise services.

Don’t hesitate to suggest the idea to potential bass tutors. You could find a bass tutor to teach you music theory, how to read sheet music and tabs, master scales, and they can then redeem points elsewhere.

Check out our favourite bass guitar websites.

Start Learning Bass Guitar for Free Online

If you’re passionate about learning the bass guitar and happy to teach yourself, you can count on the internet for free resources.

Which are the best bass guitar websites?
There are plenty of great free resources for bass players on the internet. (Source: StockSnap)

Once you’ve bought your bass, amp, etc., you can find tabs for beginners and start playing the songs you want to play for free.

Of course, without someone else there to motivate you, you have to be driven. At first, you may be discouraged by the plethora of information you have to go through and decipher. You could spend hours looking for the right resources. You can end up falling into YouTube rabbit holes listening to hundreds of different bassists before finding the one whose method works for you.

Fortunately, there are quite a few sites that are great for aspiring bassists on a tight budget. A lot of websites are quite cluttered with resources but if you put the time in to find the right ones, you’ll be able to get some good stuff on technique and music theory.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions on forums if you need more help. You’ll probably get a bunch of useful responses from bassists happy to share their knowledge.

To get the most out of learning the bass without spending any money, you have to make sure that your searches are effective.

We recommend:

  • Starting with video tutorials.
  • Giving yourself an achievable goal each week. The end goal will be to play the bass guitar well but your first few challenges can be far smaller.
  • Establish a schedule for practising and studying the bass guitar. You’ll know when you “have to” practise.

Check out our favourite bass guitar YouTube channels.

Make the Most of Free Bass Guitar Lessons

There are two types of people who attend free bass guitar lessons:

  • Those wondering if the bass guitar is right for them.
  • Opportunists!

In either case, a taster session or trial class is a good way to attend a bass guitar lesson without spending any money. Every year, there are plenty of music schools and academies who offer trial lessons and taster sessions in the hope that you’ll sign up for the year or at least a semester.

Where can you learn to play bass?
While it might be a bit cheeky, you can always attend the free taster sessions until you get a hang of it. (Source: seriouslycr8ive)

They tend to take place at the start of each term. If they’re not free, they’ll cost way less than the lessons usually do.

Heading to these trial lessons with no intention of signing up might be a bit shameless, but never mind. That’s the luck of the draw. The schools know that not everyone will sign up for the lessons.

Taster sessions are a good way to find out if the bass guitar is for you, learn a few basic bass lines, or the fundamental techniques you need to get you started. A lot of schools make their students sign up first, though.

You'll also need to be organised if you want to get the most out of all the taster sessions from your local music schools.

However, this trick can only get you so far. All of these lessons are taster sessions or the first lesson. You’ll only be taught the very basics and what an absolute beginner can learn about the bass guitar in under an hour. After a handful of taster sessions, you’ll have probably seen the same techniques several times and want to learn something else.

You won’t become an amazing bassist with the most basic technique, after all. But you will have a better idea of whether or not the bass guitar is for you.

As you can see, there are no foolproof ways to learn the bass for free. When you teach yourself how to play a musical instrument, there’s the risk of getting discouraged and giving up. You need to put the effort in and in some cases, this will mean that you’ll have to make the financial investment, too.

Check out these awesome bass guitar apps.

If you've exhausted all these websites, read every bass guitar book, found all the best tips online, and are still looking to improve your level, you may want to consider reaching out to a bass guitar tutor or teacher. Fortunately for you, there are plenty of experienced and qualified bass players on Superprof who will be more than happy to help you.

While they won't be free like some websites or online video tutorials, they can certainly help you get better at playing the bass guitar, point you in the right direction of some good bass playing resources, and adapt their courses to you. There are three main types of tutorials available and each has its pros and cons.

Face-to-face tutorials will be between you and your tutor and are a cost-effective way to learn as every minute of the session will be spent teaching you how to improve your bass playing. That said, these tutorials are often the most expensive as you'll pay a premium for the bespoke service on offer.

Online tutorials can also be quite useful, especially for those on a budget. Since the tutor doesn't have to travel or lug a bass guitar around with them, they can save a lot of money and charge more competitive rates as a result. As long as you have a stable internet connection, a webcam, and a decent microphone, you can enjoy bass guitar tutorials from tutors all over the world.

Finally, group tutorials are a good option for those on a budget. You won't get the tutor's undivided attention during these tutorials but if you and a group of friends or family members are all interested in learning how to play the bass guitar, splitting the cost of the tutor's time may be an affordable way for you all to learn.

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Joseph is a French and Spanish to English translator, language enthusiast, and blogger.