The Basics of Music Theory for Bass

Understanding bass music theory will help bring your playing and bass line writing to a whole new level. We’ll show you the basics to get started.

Some people think that learning theory is unnecessary, and all you have to do is feel the music to be a great bass player.

They’re not completely wrong — there are a lot of famous musicians who didn’t take the time to learn theory. However, understanding the theory behind music will help you with everything from improvisation to writing unforgettable bass lines. It’s important for bass guitar players of all skill levels.

To get started, here are some of the basics you should know.

Intervals

Before we get to anything else, you need to understand intervals. Intervals are just the distance between two notes. Think of them as how far up or down you move on the neck of a guitar. You can cover all of the intervals even with only four strings!

There are four types of intervals: major, minor, augmented, and diminished.

In a major interval, you move up a whole step — for example, from C to D in C Major. In a minor interval, on the other hand, you’d only move half a step.

Most songs will deal with major or minor intervals.

Scales

It doesn’t matter if you’re playing piano or bass guitar — every musician should know scales. Scales are basically different patterns of notes and intervals.

If you’re going up in pitch, it’s an ascending scale. Down in pitch is a descending scale. Simple, right?

Just like how there are different types of intervals, there are also different types of scales. There are major and minor scales for various notes.

Chords

Chords are also important in bass music theory. Tabs might create the melodies of songs, but chords actually help you learn how to play by ear. For beginners, you can learn guitar much faster using chords.

A chord is a collection of tones sounded all at once. Some chords appear so frequently that if you learn just a few of them, you’ll be able to play thousands of songs.

Knowing common chord progressions will also help you understand songs much better.

Root Notes

Finally, anyone learning bass music theory should know about root notes. A root note is the basis of a certain chord, usually the lowest sounding note.

If you know the key signature, chord progression, and root note of a song, you can write a basic bass line. Just take the root note and play it for a ‘stable’ sound.

To make things more complicated and improve the bass line, you should switch the notes up a bit — but playing the root note is a great place to start.

Highlight Your Bass Music Theory Knowledge

Want to connect with thousands of other bass guitar players? Interested in helping other people learn?

Send us a video of either a lesson or a gear review that you created yourself and we could share it with over 35,000 fans!

Upload your content to Google Drive or Dropbox and then send the link to social@thebassfactory.com for a chance at being featured.


You Might Also Like:

7 of the Best Fuzz Pedals For Bass Guitar

7 Bass Fuzz Pedals Your Need To Check Out A good fuzz pedal is necessary for a bass players arsenal. Like spaghetti and meatballs or peanut butter and jelly, the fuzz pedal is a perfect partner for your bass. So without any further delay, here are 7 of my favorite...

What is Action, and How Does it Impact My Bass Tone?

The Action of Your Bass Can Impact Your Tone More Than You Think If you have ever talked about bass tone, you have probably heard the term “action”. Most people don’t bother to define everything they say, but action, in this case, refers to the distance between your...

The Best Beginner Bass Guitars under $200 | Fender Squier Edition

  The Best Beginner Fender Squier Bass Guitars Links: Squier by Fender Jaguar http://amzn.to/2ziD1WF Squier Affinity Jazz: http://amzn.to/2ziPSrZ Squier by Fender Fender Vintage Modified PJ https://amzn.to/2MlqvAe   I remember a day when you had to fork out a ton of...

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons
Share This