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How to Play Notes on a Bass Guitar

Learn how to play notes on bass guitar from musician John Sutton in this online guitar lesson from Howcast.


So I wanna get started talking about the basics of playing notes. We wanna talk about note names and learning where the notes are in the instrument. When you are playing the electric bass, there is these 4 strings and each have a name that go along with them. So, the way music works is that notes go from A to G, and then repeats back to A. So you always have notes that are A, B, C, D, E, F, G and then the next note is A. The names of the open strings, the strings that's closest to you, the lowest string is E. The next string, the closest one to it, is A. The string that's closest to that, it's neighbour, is D. The string that's closest to that, the last one we are gonna play is G. Now, the bass is tuned in fourths, that means that there are 4 note names in between each of the strings. If we know our lower string is E, then we count to four, E, F, G, A. We can remember the string is A. A, B, C, brings us to D. D, E, F, G. So, that's how we remember the names of the four strings. And then we can find all the notes in between, by remembering that there is always a skip. We always skip one fret in between the names of all of the notes. And we'll get to those notes later, they..they are not bad notes, we just need to get to them at a different time. But, we always skip one note in between the names of each of the note names of each letter, except for between E and F, and B and C. There will be no skipping between those two. So, We know that our lowest string is E, and no skip puts us at the first fret with F. Now we are gonna skip the second fret and the third fret is G. Then we skip between G and A. So, the fifth fret is A, which is the same as the longer string. A skips a note to B, which is the second fret, and then B does not skip a note between B and C. So, the third fret on the A string is C. And then again, a skip between C and D, which is the open string next to it. D and E, we are gonna skip that first fret. And then there is no skip between E and F. So, that brings us back to E and F, a different E and F. And that's the basics of playing notes on bass guitar.

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