Bass Guitar for Absolute Beginners | Andrei Popa | Skillshare

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Bass Guitar for Absolute Beginners

teacher avatar Andrei Popa, Musician

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (1h 11m)
    • 1. About

    • 2. Introduction

    • 3. Basic Technique

    • 4. Using a Metronome part 1

    • 5. Using a Metronome part 2

    • 6. Using a Metronome part 3

    • 7. Rhythm

    • 8. Basic Music Theory

    • 9. Conclusions

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About This Class

If you just picked up a bass, and you wanna learn how to play it, if you want to learn the correct technique, rhythm and basic music theory, this is the course for you. You will find exercises that help you develop all the above. 
But, however, don't forget that bass guitar is supposed to be fun, so enjoy all the time that you spend playing it!

Note: For best audio quality, please use headphones!

Meet Your Teacher

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Andrei Popa



Bass player


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1. About: Hello, My name is Andre and welcome to my studio space. I am a professional musician. I playing Krupa shots, a band as a bass player, and I play over 50 gigs each year in all sorts of venues like Bob's open stages and even weddings. And I also teach base privately. If you're watching this video, this means that you've just picked up a base that's really cool and was the first thing that comes to your mind. You want to play it and you go on YouTube and search for Pleasants. That's not really the smartest thing that you can do because you'll find lots off bed lessons that are not really structured and you'll develop a bad technique that will be really difficult to correct. So if you're developing bad habits, those are really difficult to correct. So that's why I made this course to help you start learning race 2. Introduction: So let's talk about bass guitar. What's this instrument about? It was invented in the fifties by the offender and became popular during the sixties because people were shifting from playing the operate base or the double bass to this guy for the obvious reason that it's a lot easier to care. Here on they're all of the bass guitar is to provide rhythmic foundation and harmonic foundation toe any tune that it's played on. Let's take a quick tour of the base. We basically have two big parts. This is the body, and this is the neck. We obviously have strings that are kept together by this metal part. This was called the Bridge, and these are tuning bags. This is the fretboard and has small frets except for the front list basis. And we have other small parts like this one. This is called the Not These are pickups, and these are the controls. There are basically two types off bases. The ones that are passive and don't require better is or D active ones like this one, which requires some nine volt batteries and has a lot more controls. This is not really important, especially if you're just starting out. If you have a base with just two notes, that's redefining, and I think it's good enough even for a pro. You don't need this fancy stuff with six buttons and a switch and all that stuff. Now that you know what basically Atari's and who I am, we should start talking about playing the instrument. 3. Basic Technique: Before we start talking about basic technique, we should 1st June our bases. You can use every tuner you have at home. Maybe have a clip on tuner. Maybe you have, ah, pedal tuner. It doesn't matter. You can use even a phone app. Or if not to contend by year, by listening to me. Let's go. Um Oh, and for those of you who have a five string, here's the Lobi. And if you don't know how to use that to not let me help you by using the built in tuner into the logic softer. But all the tuners work in the same way. Let me on tune first like make it really bad And now let's right the first string. It says it's d sharp, but I have to go up until I get to G. And then I should place the arrow on the middle. Next on should be deep, says it's me. So I have to go higher until I get to D and place the arrow on the middle. Next on says it's F. I have to go higher until I get to a next one should be E. And the next one should be be if you have the Lobi, and if a string is too high, you obviously need to go down until you get to the center point until the arrows shows. Zero. You might have to do it several times until you get it. Now we are in tune and ready to go. Technique. Why is it so important? Well, basically targets. Not really uneconomical instrument. So you have to develop a correct technique and not to play with your wrists toe bend because you'll develop tendonitis, Carpal tunnel syndrome and other associate ID diseases on dure suffer pain in time. So if you play a lot and you play with your wrists toe band, you'll have issues. That's why you should develop a correct technique. I've been playing this instrument for so long that I actually managed to hurt myself. I don't know if you're going to hear this. My left wrist disc racking or so I played so many hours. So many geeks, so many rehearsals, and I had to correct my technique. That was really difficult. So again, if you don't develop a correct technique, you'll end up hurting yourself before we talk about how we should place our hands on on the base. We have to discuss two important things. First, on these strip height, I have a strip right here. Let me put it on. This might seem not important at all, but it actually is. Why? Because most of your playing at home or if you rehearse with the band, will be sitting. So when you stand up, all your angles will shift if you have your strap too low. So that's why it's important that when you sit, you have a bit of tension in your straps. So if I stand up, it's the same the same height. Nothing changes, so strip height doesn't seem be important, but it is. Holding your base next to your body's another important thing, because if you want to keep your re straight, you have toe angle it. If you keep it straight, some where things will happen with your left hand and your right hand, you tend to keep it like this and you you have a bent here, so this is not really good. You should keep it on your lap, and you have to make like, a 45 degree angle between your neck and your body might seem a bit off at first, but you'll get on it, and this this should be the way you hold your base. You'll have your left wrist a lot, a lot or straighter, and also your right wrist can be straightened. Now let's talk about the left hand so or the fretting head. And if you're left handed and you play left handed, let's look about the right thing so you should keep it in such a way that you your fingers will occupy one space like one. Fret for each finger, and the thumb should be like in between your middle finger and your ring finger. So let's talk about the right hand thinking you should keep it in such a way that you, when you pluck your strings with your index and middle finger, that's the most common way to play the bass. You don't have a bent in the wrist. It's really important. Might seem a bit odd at first, but it should should work off there after some exercises like this. Also, you should be careful about flying fingers also in the left hand and also in the right hand , like when you try to threat something like if you If you're using just the index finger, don't do the sweet their fingers. Try to keep them grouped, and this is also important. On the right hand, you might see some guys playing like this in the pinky flying around. Ah, not that good, because you'll have tension here, so you should group the ring and the small finger together like this and then should block . We should start making some exercises because it's important to develop this technique. Net wears talking about forced exercise that you should make, and the most common exercise is one finger perfect. What does this mean? It means that you'll play with each finger. One fret, and then you'll skip strings. You'll see this exercise in a lot off lessons, but I have something important to tell you. You will see most off. The teacher will teach you about doing these exercise like here from the first fret. And it's really difficult to start from here, especially if you're like, really basic beginner, because you have to stretch your fingers like a lot, so you should start from the ninth fret and as you develop your technique should go down. Like from the eighth, the seventh, the sixth and so on. This should sound like this. Ah, uh, if you have ah, five string bass like I do, you should also use the fifth string. So do not play a five stringer as a four string bass. Just using this is a huge Tom breast. Let's do it again with the five string. Another exercise that I'd like to teach my my students is old, the spider, and it helps you with string skipping and also crossing your fingers. So it's a different kind of exercise. Do it from the nine threat. It will be a lot easier than doing it from the first fret. It goes like this. So now we're playing on the e and the a string, and you can skip the A string and plate on the East ring and on the D string like this. And if you want to get really adventurous, you can also skip the D string. So play on the East ring and on the registering thing is a bit difficult because it's it really stretches your fingers if you, especially if you do it in the first position. It's a bit difficult. So start out with playing on the E string and on the A string, and as you develop, you can go down the neck until you get to the first breath. Now that I've showed you this, we can go a bit back and talk again about your right hand, like you're blocking hand. If you do the one finger perfect exercise, you'll go like this. Index Middle Index, Middle and Again Index Middle Index Middle and after a changer string. You should also change your anchor point if you do this year, us. Your string muting will be a lot better because you'll have your Tom on honest thing that was vibrating a bit earlier. I always try to move your anchor point. If you're changing the string that that you play on, should move your anchor point. Also next we should talk about a group off exercises that will help you improve your dexterity, especially in the left hand, because that's the main issue. When you're starting out, we will go up and down the neck using different fingers Index and Middle Index and ring, I think thinking, please do not forget it. If you have a five string bass, you should also use your fifth string coffee. Yeah, we are at the end of our first chapter, so don't forget a few things. These exercises that I've shown you, you should do them like daily, if you can, until you get older moves into your muscle memory so you don't have to think about technique. You just make the moves. Secondly, don't forget about the left hand. Keep your restraint and spread your fingers like one finger for each fret totally on your right hand. Don't forget about blocking the strings with your index and your middle finger alternating them. Also, keep the wrist straight and move your anchor point as you as you block the strings. Four Thing strip height. Don't forget about it. If the strap is too low, you'll have a huge bend on your left hand, and if you have your strap too high, you'll have a huge bend on your right wrist. 4. Using a Metronome part 1: if you remember in the Inter off the video, I've told you that base provides a rhythmic foundation to the tunes that is played on. We need to have a good internal clock or good internal field off the read um, and for that to happen, we need to start practicing by using a method. What is a matter for Metronome is a device that makes inaudible click at a certain amount of time. In modern music, it's usually beats per minute if you don't have ah, classical Mataram at home. And let's face it, who has won? We can use a phone app off PC app or you can even use Google. Google has a metronome, and we will do the same exercises that we did before in the previous chapter. But now, using a metronome, we will start with a metal no matter slow pace, like 60 beats per minute, and as we improve, we'll go up and up and up. So let's try this. - Wait your turn to try this exercises. I leave the matter in a moment, but I will meet the base. So let's trade 5. Using a Metronome part 2: if you are comfortable enough with this exercises at 60 beats per minute, we can go up to 90 beats per minute. - Wait . Wait your turn to try this exercises. 6. Using a Metronome part 3: and if you are comfortable enough with 90 beats per minute, we can go upto 1 20 Hey, wait, wait your turn to try this exercises. Let's talk about some interesting things that are happening. With these exercises. You'll probably notice that playing at 60 beats per minute, it's actually a lot harder to do than playing at 1 20 because when you play really slow, it's more difficult to get the note exactly in time with the beat or read a click. Also, when you do these exercises, try to think about the stuff that I told you in the previous chapter. So keep the flying fingers away and try to focus on the technique and also on the Metro. 7. Rhythm: Now that we've done this exercises using the matter norm, we should talk about rhythm. We played a note for each click off the metal. Um, that means that we've played quarter notes, but there are many types off lengths that you can add to a note. For example. Ah, whole note means that we should have played a note for each four takes off the Metrodome. 1/2 note means that we would have played a note for each two clicks off the metal home. This means that to have notes are actually ah, whole note. We played quarter notes. This means that 4/4 notes will be a whole note or 2/4 notes will be, ah, half note. And we can go even further and subdivide the quarter notes that we've played and play eight notes like two notes for each click off the matter NAM or even 16 notes. This means we we can play four notes off the exact same same length for each click off the methanol. So let's do some exercises so you can understand what each type off note length means. We should set the metal, omit the same 60 beats per minute. But we will use different note lengths to apply to the same exercises says before Onley. Now we are going to do only the one finger per fret and the spider. If you have enough patients, we can go even lower than 60 beats per minute like 40 on. If you do that, that will help you improve even more. And as we gradually get better with playing on note lengths on the matter at home, you can go even higher and higher and higher until you get to on 20 or even more. Oh, Oh! Oh, wait. - Uh uh Oh ! Oh! - Way . Ah! Uh huh. - Oh , you. I think now it's your turn to try these exercises. Let's notice something here, especially when you play at a slow tempo and you play whole notes. You have a lot of time to think about your technique and how how can you apply it to the exercises that you're making? So this will really help you develop a lot faster than other guys that are just playing brand, um, songs on YouTube. So do do this for a least 10 minutes. They try to do the exercises and you'll become better, a lot faster. And please do not forget. If you have a five string or a six string bass, use all the strings to do the exercises. Use the use the fifth string. Don't just use it that as a huge dumb breast, because then it's pointless to get the five string. 8. Basic Music Theory: Now let's take out the fun part out of this course and talk about music theory. Neither music theory can be fun and music theory. It's actually a language that we musicians spoke to each other, like the language that you're speaking. If you get good enough at it, you don't think about it. You just speak it. So that's why it's important to learn music theory. And also it will help you develop and learn stuff about songs and about what you're actually doing on the base. So it's important to have the basic knowledge off music theory, and it all starts with notes. Note comes from vibrations, and our brains interpret that into a peach. If I blocked the string, it vibrates up and down, and our brains can interpret that into a peach or into a note in modern music or investor music. There are 12 notes, and all of them are equally away from each other and the distance between notes. It's actually called 1/2 step or a semi tone, and on the base, it's actually one fret. So one fret. On the fingerboard, it's Ah, Sammy tone. Two semi tones next to each other are actually Ah, whole step or a tone. And before we go any further, we should start talking about notes on the base so we should start learning the fingerboard . So if you have a four string bass, you don't have district the Lobi and we start with Then we have f f sharp g just sharp. Okay? A sharp me see Sin Sharp de Sharp. And from here it's the same thing. Like before he have f sharp G and so on. So after the 12th fret, things are going to start repeating Now we are going to go toe the a string and we'll have like this A a sharp be c sharp d The sharp f have sharp g just sharpened a So after the 12th fret everything. It's the same. But it's an octave higher that the string new, sharp, sharp G G sharp a a sharp B c c sharp The after the told fret again we are repeating and we go to the G string now. So it's Jean g Sharp a a sharp mean seeing C sharp, the sharp F sharp gene. And if you have a five string, let's do the five string go, So we have B. See C sharp, the the sharp F sharp G g sharp A a sharp be. You'll notice that I used lots off sharps. This in between notes like between A and B. We have a nay, sharp, or this can also be B flat, but depends on what key are wean, and that's or what we are going to do next. But if you are on example with flats, we can do that now. G flat G a flat, a B flat, B C D flat, the e flat. And when we are gonna talk about keys, and that's what's happening next, I'm going to tell you about why we use sometimes or sharp and why we use sometimes a flat a key, and don't confuse it with a piano key or a key. Burki is a main concept or or a main core in a song. Most of the songs are made using only one key in a Kiwi usually use seven out off those 12 notes, and we arrange them in a way that becomes a song. So it's a group off beaches that come together in a song. Mainly, there are two types Off key is that we use major and minor major may be interpreted as being happy and minor might be interpreted as being set. If we put all the seven knows that we use in a key together, we will end up having a scale. The scales that we use are usually major or minor, but not all the time. If we take, for example, blues, the skills that are used to improvise over blues are blue scales or pentatonic scale, and those are a bit different. But we are not going to talk about those right now because our main concern is learning major skills and minor skills. So let me show you how to play a major scale. First, we'll start with the the most common the C major scale and in C major skill we have the following see the the F G A B C C is repeating, So this means this is an interval and it's called a knocked of because it is the same note a knocked of higher the first note in the scale. It's also called the route, and it's the base off the scale, so it's the most important note in the scale and every relationship between any off the nodes are cold intervals. If I go from sea to Dean, it's a second. If I go from sea to mean it's 1/3 from C to F. It's a Ford from sea to gene. It's 1/5 from Cito A. It's 1/6 from CTO. Being it's 1/7 and from sea to sea it's inactive. If you learn the shape off these major scale, you can play any skill on the base. Any major scale on the base doesn't matter what notes are in it because you'll know the shape, and then you can play the scale. Like, for example, let's take G. And let's assume I don't know the notes in G. I start from G because that's the basic thing that you have to know the route and I will play this gym major scale, even even if you don't know the notes inside G major, you can still played by applying the C major scale shape toe another note. So any scale you want to play if I want to play me is the same shape. So first you need to learn the shape Now let's try and play a minor key and the most common minor key or the easiest to learn. It's a minor, and it goes like this a c and again we have a knocked if here. So if you start from a and end upto a by using these shape, you'll have a minor skill. Uh, and now we should do some exercises. Uh huh. Let's talk a bit about why some notes are sharp and some notes are flat. Why? Why do you sometimes flat and sometimes sharp and let's take, for example, the G major scale, and we have the following g a. Being C, D E F Sharp and Jean. Why do we use F sharp instead off g flat? Because when you play a scale, it's best to have all the notes inside it because that's easier to come. Communicate with others. If we take something with more sharps, let's say a and we have a B C sharp d e f sharp g sharp A. If we would have had flats is instead of sharps, then it will be all a mess because we would have had a B d flat G flat, a flat? A. There's too many notes repeating so that that's why we use sharps or flats, sometimes instead off using both or repeating notes. Now we will go back a bit to the concept off keys. I told you what the scale is, but still, when you're listening to a song you're not hearing actually a scale you're hearing some chords and the melody. And what's up with that? Why are in people playing skills a key? It's actually based on chords, so each degree off the scale has accord to it. Cords are a group off three or more sounds put together, and in modern music we usually create cords by staking out thirds. So let's take, for example, a C major chord. It's made out Off and Jeanne from seat doing. We have 1/3 from Eugene. We have another third, so if we take a minor chord, we'll have Let's take a minor because it's the easiest. It's actually a C. And so from May to see Way have 1/3 and from city way, have another third. Let's go back again to keys. So a key it's actually formed out off cords. And if we take each degree of the key. We'll have different chords on Let's Talk about C Major Key again. If we take the first court off the C major key, that will be C major way. Take the second cord off the key. That will be D minor. The 3rd 1 will be E minor. The 4th 1 will be F major. The 5th 1 will be Jim Major. The 6th 1 will be a minor and the 700 will be Be minor. But if we play B minor things note is not actually in C major scale, so the B will actually be diminished. So it's a different type of cord. Like See, Major is made out the for major dirt and a minor third a minor. It's made out off a minor third, and the major third and be diminished will be a minor third and another minor third. It sounds a bit green Jeep because when you played attended to resolve it like when you hear it, it calls you home. No, let's do that again. So C major D minor e minor F major G major A minor be diminished. N. C. Major, if we are gonna take any off discords and put them into a Nord ER. We'll end up with having a song. Let's take, for example, see Major a minor have major G major. This is really common in pop song, so 1645 now it's time for some homework. We did some exercises before using the C major scale and the A minor scale. So you have to do those exercises again by using the following G major skill D major skill F major skill B flat major skill, a minor scale B minor scale, the minor scale and a minor scale. 9. Conclusions: So this is the end off this beginner course. Before you leave, I want to tell you a few things. Don't forget if you have a five string bass or a six string bass, use all the strings to practice. Don't play on just four strings and ignore the others. The second thing is that you need to practice daily at least 10 minutes a day, and you will improve a lot faster. You will improve your technique and you will improve your field and read. Um, if you practice with a matter. No and don't forget basis. Supposed to be a fun instrument, so have fun playing it and try to play as many songs as you want. But don't rely on tops all the time. Try to get them by using your year. And if your ear doesn't work for now, then rely on tops. Maybe a few exercises out off the scores are boring, but they are made to improve your technique and your freedom. If your favorite thing to do on basis to play songs you can use these exercises are only as a warm up, but try to do them daily. So thanks for watching this course and stating, because I will be uploading in the future a lot more courses about advanced technique, advanced music theory about genres and all that good stuff, and I almost forgot. Never forget to tune your bass before you practice.