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Approaching Bass From A Guitarists Point Of View

One thing that really gets to me, well two things actually.

1. Guitarists who say they play bass but end up playing guitar like things on bass

2. Guitarists who believe bass is a whole lot easier than guitar and that bass players are failed guitarists.

Some bass playing guitarists are great but some just regurgitate all their guitar licks onto bass. A bad thing? Most of the time. Bass can be a hard instrument to master. but I would say for the most part bass lines are normally simplified root note progressions, but some are pretty tasty!

So you play guitar, but fancy some of the low-end? Perhaps you want to record some bass in your tracks yourself etc.

This post I will run down a few tips, these aren’t set in stone and are totally my opinion.

Pick Vs Fingers

Most guitar players use a pick and a lot of bass players do too. I use both depending on the situation. Try both out and experiment. If you favour using your pick over your fingers that’s fine! It doesn’t mean your not a bass player. I would however suggest picking closer to the bridge for a brighter sound.

Mirroring Guitar Parts

Don’t just mirror your guitar parts an octave lower! Fair enough that a lot of tracks do this but don’t do it exclusively. Try and simplify the parts that compliment other instruments. Oh and remember to listen to the drums!


A tricky one. I use chords on bass occasionaly but very sparsely or not at all on most tracks. I tend to use double stops if I am in an ensemble but then probably on 10% of tracks and only when asked or I feel it will work. I will use triads on my own solo arrangements like my latest promotional video – My point being try not to power chord or root 5th your way though everything.


You need to pay more attention. your part of the rhythm section a separate entity (unless your solely a rhythm guitarist)

Your job now is to lock it down and compliment the structure, rhythm, harmony and the track in general. You’re a support player now. As long as your locked in tight with the drums there wont really be any problem!


Practice your bass lines separate from your guitar lines and please stick to practicing on the instrument intended. Not to be funny about this but it helps to cement in your mind what role the line your playing is used for and it can help you separate the two world. That being said there’s no harm in experimenting

So there a few tips for you shredders!

I have also added a list of my top ten bass lines to help guitarists transition to the deep end, so just dive right in!

In no particular order 10 great transitional tracks.

NOFX – Stickin In My Eye

Metallica – For Whom The Bell Tolls

Queen – Another One bites The Dust

The Police – Message In A Bottle

Bryan Adams – Back To You

Black Sabbath – NIB

Queen – Under Pressure

Cream – Sunshine Of Your Love

System Of A Down – Spiders

Alkaline Trio – Radio

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