“The bass player's function, along with the drums, is to be the engine that drives the car... everything else is merely colours.” - Suzi Quatro
We used to spend a decent amount of time and money on our hobbies. With the 2020 pandemic and subsequent economic crisis, not everyone has the same levels of disposable income as before and many of us have to tighten our belts when it comes to spending money on non-essential hobbies.
Whether you’ve suffered heavy losses, have children and less money to spend on yourself, or just fancy spending a fortune on learning the bass guitar, you can learn how to play bass without breaking the bank.
With this in mind, we’ve found some great sites, videos, and apps that can help you learn how to play the bass guitar without spending a lot of money. We also have some advice to help you save money on learning how to play bass.
The Best Sites for Learning to Play the Bass Guitar
If you’re a beginner and have been for some time, you probably don’t want to keep investing money in your bass playing. After all, you’ve already bought a bass, an amp, plectrums, and don’t feel like spending more money.
Be is rock, jazz, blues, funk, whatever, if you’re passionate about playing the bass, you’ll get there without breaking the bank. If you love music, the bass guitar will get you grooving.
You’re going to need motivation, though. Unlike what some guitarists might make you think, the bass guitar isn’t just an easy version of a six-string. To get started learning any musical instrument, you’ll need to be disciplined, driven, and, as we mentioned, motivated. This is especially true if you’re going to be teaching yourself.
The internet is full of resources to help you tune your bass, learn rhythms, practise scales, or master techniques like slap bass. Not all resources are created equal, though. You’ll find some veritable gold mines but sometimes you’ll spend hours looking for the needle in the haystack.
To learn the basics of playing the bass guitar, you need to be patient, organised, and work out which sites and resources can help you. Luckily for you, we’ve put together a few bass websites that can help you learn to play without wasting too much time. Here are two of our favourites:
This is a great website for anyone interested in becoming a bass player. The site is home to tonnes of bass lessons, tools, and resources.
The lessons cover everything you need to know about basses and how to play them including technique, harmony, rhythm, music reading, different styles of music, and the notes on the fingerboard.
The site also goes into depth about sound, the science behind it, and how you can use it to make your playing sound even better.
Whether you're a beginner or have been playing the bass for a while, this is a popular bass guitar website that should be added to your favourites.
Bass Guitar Player World
If you're interested in playing the bass guitar, Bass Guitar Player World is a website home to hours of video tutorials that you can access for free.
Lessons are organised into useful groups such as beginner, chords, techniques, soloing, improvisation, ear training, scales, etc. so it's easy to find the right ones for you.
Don’t hesitate to visit bass forums and ask other users for advice. The bassist community is generally open and happy to share their knowledge with newbies.
The Best YouTube Channels for Learning to Play the Bass Guitar
Don’t worry if you can’t afford to pay a private bass tutor. You can still get lessons.
Of course, you won’t be in group lessons or one-on-one sessions so you’ll have to adapt a bit. To learn for free, you can look for bass guitar tutorials on YouTube. The advantage is that you can stop the video at any moment and rewatch something you missed.
Of course, you can’t ask them questions directly and they can’t tailor the lesson to you, but you can leave a comment asking for clarifications on things in the video or asking them to cover a certain topic in their next tutorial. They may even get back to you.
So which YouTube channel should you follow to learn how to play the bass guitar?
You can find everything on YouTube and most bass tutorial videos are quite helpful. However, during our research, we’ve noticed that bassists are far less common than guitarists on the web. The ones you find are valuable allies in your journey to become a better bassist.
There are good video tutorials and you can start making some progress right away.
Here are some of our favourite YouTube channels for bassists:
Josh's YouTube Channel is home to plenty of great video tutorials explaining how to play songs, master certain bass guitar techniques, and some useful tips and tricks to ensure you don't pick up any bad habits when you first start playing the bass guitar.
There are entire playlists for beginners as well as lessons on improv and soloing, bass chords, riffs, and rhythm for bassists.
Anyone interested in playing the bass guitar should probably subscribe to Josh over on YouTube.
Scott's Bass Lessons (SBL)
As the name would suggest, this channel includes lessons from a guy named Scott. Scott knows his way around the fingerboard of a bass guitar and in addition to lessons for beginners, he also has a series of videos on bass tips, playing chords, playing with a live band, and a load of videos talking about different bass gear and bass guitars.
Ask anyone online for bass guitar YouTube channels and you'll see Scott's name popping up again and again!
Low End University
This is the YouTube channel for the website of the same name and features a handful of free videos to introduce you to the bass guitar and get you playing.
Much like the other channels we've talked about, Low End University has videos on gear such as bass guitars, effects pedals, and pickups (the part of the bass that turns the vibration of the strings into an electric signal).
In terms of content, the channel is a bit limited as its main goal is to direct viewers over to the website and pay for the content. If you exhaust all the resources on the YouTube channel, you may want to consider paying for their premium content.
We'll leave that decision up to you.
The Best Apps for Getting Started with the Bass Guitar
When you first start learning to play the bass guitar, much like with other musical instruments, you’ll need to spend a few hours before you start seeing any progress.
Make the most of every spare minute you have to practise new techniques.
Even if you don’t have your musical instrument with you, you can work on music theory, improve your ear, or learn to read sheet music or bass guitar tabs. Even on public transport, you can learn more about how to play the bass guitar.
By downloading a free app so you can learn more about bass, music theory, or basslines.
Some of these apps are free. However, you might need to spend a bit of money to get ahead. Apps will almost always cost less than private bass guitar lessons.
Here are a couple of our favourite apps:
My Music Teacher: This app focuses more on guitars than bass guitars but there are some courses for bassists and practical exercises and tabs. It’s available on iOS and Android.
Yousician: This app can record your playing and correct your rhythm, timing, and mistakes. There are hundreds of videos, exercises, songs to play, and theory sessions. However, it’s not free: It’s a bit over £150 for the year!
How to Get Free Bass Guitar Lessons
Here’s probably the best thing; you can get free lessons on how to play the bass guitar. Here's a technique you can use to attend bass guitar lessons for free without needing some intricate (and potentially illegal) scheme.
You just need to attend taster sessions at music schools and academies. Generally, you’ll find them at the start of courses.
These introduction sessions are there to encourage you to try out playing the bass and ultimately, opt to continue the lessons throughout the year.
It’s a quick and free way to learn the basics.
However, it’s only ever the first lesson that’s free. Even beginners will cover a lot more over the year than what you’ll see in a taster session. Of course, if you attend a few different schools or classes, they may cover slightly different things.
A more honest way to get free lessons is to exchange them for another service. You could offer classes in singing, drumming, cooking, yoga, dance, etc. You could also help with DIY, gardening, cleaning, or shopping, for example.
In return, you could ask for bass tutorials. Rather than exchanging money, you can exchange time and expertise.
So are you ready to start learning how to play the bass guitar?