Playing bass... how difficult is it if you already know how to play guitar?

So yeah I've been playing guitar for years, and I'm thinking of learning more things sometime soon too, such as drums and bass (I actually know a tiny bit on drums). however I've never picked up a bass in my entire life. though I guess one of my big inspirations for wanting to learn bass was Cliff Burton, especially after hearing his insane bass shredding.

But really, to me bass playing seems a little similar to guitar. Is it? and would it be easier to learn bass since I already know guitar?
Playing bass... how difficult is it if you already know how to play guitar?Playing bass... how difficult is it if you already know how to play guitar?




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Most Helpful Guy

  • I started with bass (well after percussion shtuff) and moved up to guitar.

    From my experience, I would say bass would be relatively easy to pickup after being proficient on guitar. It’s basically the same as a jumbo guitar (except with 4 thicker strings), so it’s not that crazy of a difference. It requires a longer reach, more fret strength, and muting the strings. I’m having flashbacks from the bad bassists I’ve played with who were crappy at muting strings, and then the sound turned into muddy out of key blehness 😱

    There is a reason many guitarists are forced by their band to become bassists versus bassists becoming guitarists.

    The main thing is to get used to fingering the bass vs relying on a pick. It’s very easy to get frustrated and fall back to a pick for comfort. Not only will you lose serious bass player credit for your rep, but it also limits your playing style. Also, it means you can’t do the Iron Maiden triplet hits, so I mean, there’s that.

    Slap bass is a bit of a different beast. It’s harder, but not horrible. It’s basically just like opening a door knob repeatedly while hitting frets. If you’re interested in metal, it could have uses, but that’s more so a small thing. I’ve seen players use it live to get their hits a bit more ‘oomph’ on the E string. It’s not required too often in metal though.

    If you’re playing with others on bass for a band setting, chances are you’ll be expected to know your scales a bit better than on guitar I’d say. Well, if you’re not, you’re either really good at the rest, or I’d question your band haha. Least, one of the things I look for when scouting bassists is if they know what notes work where in the current key. It will separate you from the rest if you can stray from just being a root note only bassist— while not being too busy of course.

    Bass requires more patience than guitar and more, in my opinion, of just feeling it. It’s matching with the drums and knowing when to be flashy vs when to lay back and set the foundation. When a bassist and drummer match their fills just right, it really elevates the sound

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What Guys Said 9

  • I did the transition form guitar to bass.

    The thicker strings make the feel a bit different especially with the bigger gaps and learning the right hand takes some time. Also the instruments purpose and the way it's played is a bit different. Bass is as much part of the rhythm crew with the drums and the melody crew with the guitar. It's the glue that binds everything together and when done perfectly, you might not even notice it.

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  • I hear it takes more self timed rhythm but I don't know for sure, it should be somewhat easier than learning guitar thanks to hand strength and understanding how music should flow, my mum played for years I'm the 70s and taught herself, she has a good ear and rhythm but if she could do that I'd say you won't have a problem

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  • Since you already know where the notes are your ahead of the game and because you already know how guitar rhythm works further more so. Depending on what kind of guitar you played if you know scales then you are pretty much set and just need to practice to figure out when you need to hit the "g-c-e" notes and where you can play around in the scale when you're playing to a "g-c-e" chord progression.

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    • I've worked with mainly rock and metal type stuff, and have been learning the scales lately (luckily!)

    • Rock/metal are still the same principle as anything else.

  • The challenge is the right hand. Bass picking techniques are really complicated compared to even fingerstyle acoustic guitar. But you definitely have an advantage over someone who's never played a string instrument

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    • @anon_anon_anon what about when it comes to playing a bass with a pick? I know there are a few bassists out there that have done it.

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    • @Op You lose some serious bassist credit if you pick. It’s like one of the few things bassists can go to guitar players with and brag about.

      Also, from a playing standpoint, picking makes it more of a pain in the butt to mute strings when things get crazy. It gives a brighter/edgier/pluckier sound... similar to fingerstyle vs pick on an acoustic guitar

  • Not too hard. The difficulty is always in the finger spread to reach note changes at first. You can even start by using a pick and go from there.

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  • Have you got sausage fingers that's what bass guitarists need.

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  • If you can play guitar you've already got a head start on the noobs

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  • It's pretty easy. Think of like a dumbed down guitar with thick strings.

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  • Pretty easy, you just need to develop more finger strength, bass is rather an easy instrument

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What Girls Said 1

  • Gotta adjust to the technique, string and neck thickness, etc.

    All a matter of how quick you can do it. I'm the loser that picks on bass

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    • nothing bad about using picks lol. there are some awesome bassists out there that do.

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