If you want to know how to play the bass guitar then this is the article for you, it is very easy to learn, especially those who are transitioning from guitar. Anyway, to know everything about the bass guitar is a totally different story. Many people think that a bassist doesn’t need to know a lot of things, but this is wrong. There are various ways of playing the bass guitar that need a lot of hours of practice and effort to master everything well. Again, some people think that a bassist need only know one or two types of playing styles and again, a bassist has to know all types of playing styles to be called a good bassist. Playing the bass guitar is an art and its styles of playing vary from each other.
Bass Guitar Playing Styles – Guide
One of the playing styles is the fingerstyle. This is the first technique any bass guitarist should learn. Beginners usually prefer to use the plectrum style (which will be discussed later) compared to the fingerstyle. The fingerstyle is the basics to all the other types of playing style and is a basis for a majority of music that will be played on a bass. So, it should be mastered first. If you are learning to play the bass guitar, learn this method first, you won’t regret it. You start off by placing your thumb on the thumb rest and use your first few fingers to pluck the string. There are basically three types of fingerstyle playing; the fingernail strumming, dual plucking, and the walking bass. Fingernail strumming involves using the fingernail of the pluck finger to strum the strings downwards. The dual plucking involves pressing two notes with the fret and plucking two strings simultaneously. Walking bass, commonly used in jazz, consist of quarter notes played up and down the tonal scale.
Beside the fingerstyle, another important playing style to learn is the slap and pop. It is advisable to learn this playing style after the fingerstyle although the two have nothing much in common. The slapping and popping is a playing style where the thumb is used to slap the strings with a rotational motion from your wrist and using the index or middle finger to pop the string. In order to perform slapping optimally, it is important to use the middle of your thumb as the contact point. After contacting, let your thumb bounce back to ensure that the sound isn’t muted by your thumb. Popping is where you use your middle or index finger to pull up a string and letting it go to make a percussive snap noise against the neck of the bass guitar. Both methods require a lot of practice to master it. You can alternative between slaps and pops with different rhythms and different strings to improve your skills.
As previously mention, many people opt for the plectrum playing style. It may not be as flexible as the above mentioned playing styles but it is easy to learn and produces a tone with more attack than the fingerstyle but less than the slap and pop style. The sound it makes is rather metallic and hence, is used widely in the heavy metal genre. The plectrum, or pick, is held between the thumb and index finger and is used to pluck the strings. The strings can be plucked both upwards and downwards. As with the other playing styles, the plectrum method requires a lot of practice to master as well.
In conclusion, it can be seen that there are many types of playing styles that a bassist should master if he or she wants to call him or herself a good bassist. I hope this article has helped some aspiring bassist to better master the bass guitar.