So you’ve taken up an interest in playing the bass, and you’re excited to get started.
You may find yourself wondering, how long does it take to learn the bass guitar? How quickly will you be able to play along with my favorite songs, or make your own compositions?
As you may be able to guess, there isn’t a straightforward, one-size-fits-all answer for me to give you. However, in this article we can look over a few factors, that will help you to determine how long it will take you to be able to learn the bass.
Debunking A Common Myth
It’s commonly believed that it’s quicker to learn the bass guitar, than it is to learn the electric or acoustic guitar.
Unfortunately, this isn’t exactly true.
Bass can be a bit easier to get started, and you may be able to play some of the songs you know more quickly. Typically, you only need to worry about playing one note at a time, and many of the advanced techniques that are common with electric guitar aren’t utilized on bass.
However, that doesn’t mean that learning bass is easy. Bass has its own unique set of techniques and intricacies that make it challenging to master.
For one, basses have a longer scale length. This means that the length of the neck is longer, and there is an increased amount of distance between each note. Even if you have experience playing guitar, this can be difficult for beginner bassists as you have to do much more stretching and shifting of your hand to play all of the proper notes.
Additionally, it can be more difficult to play note with a clean tone, and you have to exercise much more restraint when playing bass to maintain the feeling of the song.
Since bass is part of the backbone of the entire track, playing with perfect rhythm and feeling to the song becomes even more important.
Of course, a skilled bassist can bring out the best in a song. Although bass doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, it is certainly noticed when the bass is missing from the song!
So, How Long Will It Take To Learn Bass?
Ultimately, this will come down to what your goals are with the instrument.
If you’ve played guitar before, transitioning to bass shouldn’t take long at all. You will already know your way around the fretboard, and have a thorough understanding on how things such as plucking, dynamics, shifting etc. all work. There will certainly be changes to get used to, but most of the hard work will already be out of the way once you’ve learned guitar.
This isn’t to say you will be able to pick up the bass and fill-in the night you start playing. However, you could likely get the basics down in a solid few days to few weeks of playing.
If you’re completely new, most bassists can begin playing along with basic rock or pop songs in 1-2 months, to as long as 6 months depending on how frequently you practice.
More complicated genres like jazz or funk may take much longer than that, as the techniques required as well as the overall playing style require a bit more skill to pull off.
However, with a lot of practice and dedication it is certainly possible to build your bass skill to the point where you feel comfortable playing in front of others relatively quickly. And if the songs you’re playing aren’t particularly complicated, you may be able to perform them in as little as a few weeks (although playing along with other people is a separate skill on its own.)
Truthfully, You Never Stop Learning
Like many musical instruments, you’ll never really consider yourself to have fully ‘learned’ the bass guitar.
Although the bass can be easy to pick up, it is difficult to master. Many bass players still find themselves developing their technique and improving their skill level after decades of practice.
In my eyes, that’s one of the things that makes bass such an attractive instrument. To many it’s seen as simple, but you can really take it incredibly far. Your learning never has to be complete, and you’ll always have something exciting to work on.
Although it can take some time to become an exceptional bass player, I encourage you to push forward with it anyway.
You’ll quickly discover that you’ll constantly be hitting new milestones, building your skill, and making progress.
Remember – the longer you stick with it, the more enjoyable it will become!
Have fun playing the bass!