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5 Bass Finger Exercises to Improve Your Bass Skills

Are you having issues with moving your fingers fast enough to make chords? Here are some bass finger exercises to get you used to play your bass guitar.

Are you a seasoned bass player looking to speed up your skill? Or maybe a bass playing newbie looking to hit the ground running?

Either way, there’s only one way to do it: practice. The old adage “practice makes perfect” was probably written about the bass guitar, because it couldn’t be truer.

The more hours you log on your ax, the better you’ll get (read: the harder your callouses will become). Despite the thick strings that give the bass its deep sound, some simple exercises can help you get used to them and lay down some sweet basslines in no time.

Keep reading to learn the best bass finger exercises to speed up your playing.

Chromatic Warm Up

A chromatic warm-up is one of the simplest bass finger exercises out there. It requires zero knowledge of chords, notes, or scales.

Place your fingers on the bottom string on frets one, two, three, and four. Then, play each of those notes separately with your right hand.

Once you’ve done that, move your fingers one by one up to the second string. Repeat this exercise until you’ve reached the top, and then move down again.

Three Finger Warm Up

Lots of bass chords require the use of only three fingers. This can be a difficult stretch, and even harder to press down on such thick strings when your hand isn’t accustomed to stretching this way.

Place your index and middle fingers on any string, any fret, one fret apart. Then, skip a fret and place your index or pinky finger on any string.

Change this configuration up a few times to stretch those secondary fingers, priming them for tons of bass chords.


This is one of the most useful warm-ups you can practice. Besides priming your fingers, you’ll be learning valuable and foundational bass guitar theory that’s important for every bass player to know.

Start by learning and practicing the major scale, and then move on to the minor scale and the plethora of others that exist.

Chord Switches

The ability to switch between chords quickly is the whole point of practicing bass finger exercises, so practicing chord switches is extremely helpful.

For this exercise, choose two chords and switch solely between those two. Start slowly and build up your speed until the switch requires no thought and minimal effort. That’s when the switch is committed to muscle memory.

Hammer Ons and Pull Offs

This is a great exercise for developing flair in your playing style. Practice hammer-ons and pull-offs using just one or two chords to get the technique down before trying it within a more complicated bassline.

Bass Finger Exercises Make a Better Player

Now that you’ve learned some of the best bass finger exercises out there, put them to use and get practicing! You should be practicing 30 minutes per day for maximum retention. Practicing every day is going to yield much better results than practicing for longer periods once a week.

Once you’ve mastered these exercises, check out our tutorial videos for more bass lessons!


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