My StudyBass

On the Bass Guitar, Up is Down and Down is Up!

One of the first things to confuse students on the bass guitar is the use of the terms up, down, high and low. These terms all refer to pitch, or how high or low a note sounds.

If someone says go up one string or one note, they mean to go up in pitchnot in physical space on your instrument. On the bass going "up a string" means your fretting hand is moving toward the floor. That seems backwards, but if you listen, you will hear the pitch goes higher in this direction.

To go "up the neck" means to move towards the body of the bass. Again, that makes the pitch go higher, or up.

The sooner you get this straight, the better. If you understand what up in pitch and down in pitch mean and you LISTEN, then you won’t have any problems with this concept. If you're new to playing bass guitar, then this may take some getting used to.