Playing any instrument takes sacrifice and practice. Although bass is easier to begin with, it’s difficult to master. Bass needs you to play easy patterns first, but with guitar, you need to memorize chords. However, if you want to level up as a bassist, it’s a completely different story.
Differences Between Bass and Guitar
Welcome the world of bass guitars. If you are new to it, perhaps, you are wondering what is its difference from a guitar you see (play) every day. Well, there’s not much of a difference, except that the guitar is usually a six-stringed instrument, while the bass is a four-stringed instrument.
Guitars have six strings with the corresponding standard tuning of E-A-D-G-B-E, from the low (thickest string) to the high (thinnest) E string. With bass, you also have the lowest four strings, E-A-D-G, but they are an octave down in pitch.
They are both steel-string guitars, but they differ with two strings and the tuning. However, the scales, chords, and music theory you learned from either of these instruments will apply to both.
Different Roles in a Band
These two guitars are completely different in terms of roles. In a band, you’ll see a guitarist and a bassist. But, why the need to have them both in the band, when they’re just playing a guitar instrument?
While the guitarist plays a varied role, play rhythm, solos, and embellishments, a true bassist should act as a driving force of the whole band. Though he’s just in the background, he should be the one to carry the band. With jazz and blues, he should work with the drummers to set the groove. While in metal or hard rock, he should supply the essence of the riffs.
Check out Paul McCartney or Abraham Laboriel and discover how they make the bass shines.
How They Are Played?
You can play the bass and the guitar with your fingers or with a pick. Unlike your regular six-stringed guitars, bass are usually plucked rather than strummed. If you don’t use a pick, you can pluck the strings with two fingers for efficiency and speed. Instead of learning about chords first when you play guitar, with bass you learn to pluck with simple patterns right away.
Now, if you want to achieve the flat and warm tone, pluck the strings closer to the neck. Towards the bridge and you’ll get a percussive sound. With more practice, you’ll be able to play your favorite song on a bass guitar. Once you’re comfortable plucking or flatpicking, then, you may now learn about the roots, octaves, and the fifths.
With the acoustic guitar, on the other hand, once you learn a few chords, you can play different songs. Playing songs will enhance your plucking techniques, strumming, flatpicking as well as freestyle. Though you can develop your playing styles while you’re learning the chords, it’s totally different when you play a song.
Can You Learn Bass without Learning Guitar?
Yes, of course. The good thing about the bass is that you don’t need to memorize any chords like you do when you play guitar. Just strengthen your fingers to pluck the strings. And, when you’re comfortable, you can explore more about playing roots and fifths for an even exciting bass experience.
Playing bass isn’t that easy. Although for a complete beginner, playing the bass could be better because you just have to pluck the strings and you can accompany a song. But, if you want to master the craft and become a bassist, you have to learn more than just the simple patterns.
Like guitars, you need years of practice — learning the basics and music theory. With bass guitar, you also need the octaves and learn to play the roots and fifths. Both guitars take time to really master, especially the bass guitar.