How Bass Guitar Made Me A Better Musician

So there’s something I’ve wanted to talk about for a long time and that’s how bass guitar has made me a better musician. Some people have gotten into the habit of paying close attention to the guitar, vocals, drums and sometimes piano over a very important instrument such as this!

I grew up on funk music, but I promise I’m not being bias. Bass guitar is a huge carrier of music and is actually what carries the melody. Think about a band as a body: the singer is the head, the guitarist is the upper half and the drums are the lower, but envision the bass as the backbone that holds the body up. The bass is the support that holds the band on its feet.

But a lot of this is beside the point. The bass guitar plays an incredibly key role in music, however we’ll save this for another time. I’d like to talk about how bass has made me a better musician.

When I first start bass, I picked it up without a clue of what role it played in music. I was just trying to play funky slap music and ignore the rest of it. I broke all sorts of strings trying to get it down! However, as my the playing continued I started to view things as a bass player. Most musicians aren’t truly good at reading bass clef, so it helped me out a lot in that respect.

It also helped me listen and identify chords a lot easier. If you have been playing bass then naturally you get a good ear and can listen for well; this is exactly what happened! By being able to identify the bass note you can almost always identify which chord it is (although there are many cases in which there are different bass notes for the chord).

Before bass, my rhythm used to be all out of whack.

“Clap to the beat!” my mother would always shout. I couldn’t even dance to it, let alone clap! Playing bass really refines your rhythm and helps you hit notes in a more crisp and timely manner. It also allowed me to play with rhythm a bit. Being able to make something “sound funky” all comes from how you play the rhythm.

As the backbone of the band, as the bassist you are a big supporter. In order for music to come together and songs to be written, all of the music should come together and flow; music should match the chord progression. It’s like all the instruments coming together to sing Kumbaya around a cozy fire!

So I’m not saying you have to be a bass player nor am I saying you have to become an expert when you begin playing. But from playing myself, I would say that bass guitar has taught me a lot of things that I wouldn’t have known without it. This one’s for the for the bass players: keep on slappin’! 

Lorenzo H. is a RockHome Instructor that specializes in piano, guitar, and voice in Denver, CO. He is a performer and educator that is passionate about spreading awareness on all the positive benefits music has to offer. Lorenzo also contributes to the popular music blog

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