The bass guitar is a stringed instrument, usually electric, and very much related to the electric guitar. It has a longer neck than the electric guitar, and much thicker strings of which there are usually only 4, but there may be 5 or 6. The sound produced is much deeper and is usually accompanied by the drums to create the rhythm section of a band; the part that keeps the beat of a song rather than the tune. The bass has been described as easy to learn but difficult to master.
The Bass is a diverse instrument that is essential in many musical genres, so would suit a child who has varied musical taste. More popular bass styles include blues, soul, hip-hop, dance, and rock n roll. Bass is also a great choice for kids interested in starting a band. Being less popular than drums or guitar, very often there is space in the band for a bassist.
What should you be thinking about to help you choose the right bass guitar teacher for your child?
Trinity College London offers bass guitar exams. Whether you’re self-taught or taking lessons, the exams are about performance and creativity, giving you the skills you’ll need as a rock and pop musician. The bass song list includes music by Radiohead, Ramones, INXS and Muse.
Bass guitar grades range from initial for beginners, up to grade 8.
Taking exams does not necessarily mean your child has to be able to read sheet music. This can be done separately in music lessons or can be avoided altogether if that is the route your child chooses.
There is no minimum qualification required to teach music at home. However, passing grade 8 practical and at least grade 5 theory will indicate an acceptable level of competence regarding playing ability and musical knowledge. A Music Degree would be advantageous.
Playing bass may teach your child rhythm, develop their creativity, help them appreciate how reading music works, how to harmonise and how to play along with other instruments while providing them with a general appreciation for music.
Paul McCartney MBE (born June 18, 1942) played bass for The Beatles only after the previous bassist left. He started playing the piano informally as a child, and took up the trumpet as a teenager. He traded his trumpet in for an acoustic guitar at the age of 14 and is now recognised as the one of the most successful composers of all time.
Michael Balzary, better known as Flea (born October 16, 1962) is the bassist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Flea was invited to join the band when he demonstrated that he could play his instrument faster than Chad Smith, the band’s drummer, could play his. He also started his music career with the trumpet, influenced by jazz musicians. He is now regarded as one of the best bassists of all times and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.
Terry Gene Bollea, otherwise known as Hulk Hogan (born August 11, 1953) spent 10 years playing bass for various rock and roll bands in and around LA before becoming the wrestling icon that he is today. He is also friends with Metallica’s drummer and was once offered the bassist spot in the metal band. Hogan enjoys returning to his days as a musician in his spare time and has played with a whole variety of rockers.
A very helpful clip of Flea (bassist for the Red hot Chili Peppers) explaining what you need to know about the bass guitar.
Choosing a guitar for your child.
I decided to take up the bass guitar when I was about 16 years old. This was also about the same time that I realised I would forever have difficulty getting used to the tiny strings of a normal electric! I found that my hands were just a bit too clumsy to play the guitar properly but it was much easier for my hands to adapt to the larger features of the bass. I also found it quite easy to learn due to the nature of the instrument being rhythmic rather than a lead because I had previously played the drums. Although I would be considered self-taught, I had a lot of help from my friends who were very musical.