My StudyBass

Recommended Beginner Bass Materials

Let's make sure you have everything you need to start playing and learning effectively.

In the video above, I run you through a checklist of items I recommend for all of my students. Some are essential, and others are just nice to have.

Printable StudyBass Materials Checklist

I appreciate you shopping through any links on StudyBass. They help support the site.

The Essentials:

  1. Bass - See StudyBass Bass Guitar Buying Guide and My Bass Guitar Recommendations
  2. Strap
  3. Amp (and/or Headphone Amp) - See StudyBass Guide to Bass Amps and My Bass Amp Recommendations
  4. Instrument Cable
  5. Music Stand
  6. Guitar Stand or Wall Hanger
  7. Electronic Tuner - Bass Tuner Guide
  8. Metronome - Free Online Metronome
  9. Ear Plugs

I suggest specific items in the Shop section of StudyBass - Required Items.

Other Suggested Materials:

Soft, Padded Case - I suggest a soft case unless you'll be doing a lot of rugged traveling and letting others handle your bass.

Aux Audio Cable - Hook your computer or audio device (phone or tablet) into your bass practice amp. Many amps have an auxilary music input. If you have a hard time hearing the bass from your device, get the right cable to plug your device's audio out to the audio in of your practice amp (not the bass instrument in). See your bass amp manual and audio device manual for the right connections. It's likely 3.5mm (audio device output) to 3.5mm or 1/4" (bass amp music input).

Audio Slow-Down Software - There are a number of apps for all devices which can slow down music files (mp3, wav, aac, etc.) without changing the pitch. This is great for learning new songs or figuring out songs by ear. You can also do this for free in Audacity. And, YouTube videos allow you to slow them down, too. Check the settings button.

Notation Software - There are a number of paid apps for viewing sheet music and bass tabs. One free program everyone should download is MuseScore2. It allows you to open popular notation files and write and playback your own music notation. You can also try GuitarPro and PowerTab. You can search the net and find many songs in these file formats.

Bass Song Books - You can find many songbook suggestions on the bass book recommendations page. They are ordered by how many times they are referenced throughout the StudyBass lessons. I highly recommend the Bass Tab White Pages. It has a wide variety of songs and I reference them often.

Music Staff Paper - Writing music notation - notes and rhythms - is a great way to learn music. You can find pads of music paper or books to have on hand. You can also print staff paper for free on StudyBass.


More Bass Resources on StudyBass

Besides how to play the bass, there are a number of things every bass player should know about his or her instrument.

Some of you old-timers might be familiar with StudyBass' sister site I've now integrated its articles into the Bass Gear section of StudyBass.

Technical Resources for the Bass Guitar

How to Tune Your Bass

How to tune a bass - explains what to listen for, gives you a sample, and explains the various ways to tune your bass. You can't play if your bass is out of tune!

Bass Tuning Notes

Online bass tuner - You can always find tuning reference notes on this page of StudyBass. If you're logged in, it will default to your preset tuning.

Learn About Bass Strings

Bass string FAQ - includes how to change bass strings, the different types of bass strings, and more.

How to Set Up Your Bass

Bass setup guide - this thoroughly explains the process of adjusting your bass setup like the height of the strings, intonation and other technical stuff.

Learning to Play Makes Almost Any Gear Sound Good

All of that should cover the essential stuff every bass player should know and have. Hopefully you'll spend more time practicing the StudyBass bass lessons instead of tinkering with gear!