The Art Behind Bass Guitar Tabs

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 26th, 2010

Playing bass (or any guitar, for that matter) is more than pressing strings and fancy strumming. There?s a lot of technicality involved, technicality that?s religiously safeguarded by bass guitar tabs. After all, the only way the instrument can be played right is when there?s a guideline, right? It?s no Egyptian papyrus, but it?s close enough.

Tabs or tablature?

When glossing guitar songbooks you see the phrase guitar tabs a lot. Have you ever wondered if this is a close relation to tablature in music? Well, it?s not rocket science to tell that tablature and tabs are exactly the same, tabs being merely a nickname of sorts.

In guitar, tabs are musical notations that guide players where to place their fingers along the strings and in which fret. Tabs are frequently used for guitars and other stringed and fretted instruments. This is the more popular reference for learning guitar for pop and rock music. This also has several advantages over the tedious musical notations. In contrast, classical music is steeped in staff notation for accuracy in rhythm and timing.

Reading your bass guitar tabs

A bass guitar will have four strings. The first uppermost string is the G string (no, it?s not underwear), followed below by the D string, which is tailed by the A string. The last string, E, is the strongest of all the bass strings. These strings are represented by four horizontal lines. The numbers below the lines are the frets where the notes are played on. You will observe the frequent appearance of the ?O? which indicates that the string should not be fretted or pressed against a fret. If there are numbers above the fret numbers ? the note has to be played on that fret.

If a number appears above a number on top of the fret, the strings are to be played at the same time, this time like a chord. Most bass guitar tabs are accompanied by legends to help the player understand some of the unfamiliar terms. In general, bass guitar tabs are easier to learn than the formal guitar musical tablature.

More guitar enthusiasts are finding bass guitar tabs convenient to use when attempting to understand the rudiments of bass guitar playing. There is no need for them to understand the underlying principles of guitar tablature because they want to learn how to play the bass guitar fast. Bass guitar players who dream of making it big opt for formal lessons in the fine art of bass guitar. A lesson in bass guitar will introduce them to the formal musical scales meant for stringed instruments. With experience and a solid background on musical theories, bass guitar players can switch easily from bass guitar tabs to scales.

Start with easy pieces

If you want to start a band, you should start with easy song pieces. Try out guitar pieces with simple bass guitar tabs. You will gradually progress on all fronts, from rhythm to bass, with constant practice and lessons. If there are difficulties along the way, you can always ask advice and opinions from the pros.

Practice your hand speed, slapping, and picking. Bass guitar tabs will require fast playing and switching of notes. You can add a dash of your own style by adding slaps. The faster you can go, the better you can play your bass guitar. Start practicing with free bass guitar tabs. You can have access to thousands of bass guitar tabs online and offline. Just decide what song pieces you want to learn but always start from the simple to the complex to avoid developing bad guitar habits that will ultimately be too hard to shake off.

Indeed, bass guitar tabs are easy enough to learn. After all, they?re not hieroglyphics.

Nick Niesen

About the Author

Nick Niesen
Joined: April 29th, 2015
Articles Posted: 33,847

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