Hi there,i play guitar and i want to start playing bass.What exercises would you recommend doing,what should i stay away from,what are the wrong ways...tell me about it pls.
My humble opinion:

The biggest differences between guitar and bass are (yes some of these are obvious):

4 or 5 strings instead of 6
Different spacing (more space in between strings on bass)
Scale length of bass is longer
Thicker, higher tension strings on bass
Different technique on your strumming/plucking hand

The biggest thing you will likely notice is that bass is harder to play physically, simply because of the thicker/higher tension strings, scale length and string spacing. It requires more strength in your hands and fingers. If you will play bass with a pick, there won't be as much difference and won't be as much of an adjustment, except building the extra strength. If you will play "finger style", then you have more work to do.

For finger style you need to develop the technique in your plucking hand and the coordination between both hands. A simple and very effective exercise for this is to use a click track or metronome, set to 100 or 120 BPM. In this exercise you do not use your fretting hand at all, you play open strings - only concentrate on plucking hand. Begin playing 8th notes for one minute on each open string - 1 minute on E, one minute on A... then do the same thing with 16th notes. When you can do that easily, move up to 2 minutes for each string, then 3, 4, 5... When you can do 16th notes at 120 BPM for 5 minutes on each string (20 or 25 minutes total), you will have all the strength and stamina you could need in your plucking hand.

Other exercises would be similar to guitar, except using finger style. Also concentrate on exercises where you have to stretch between notes. A good one for this is to do 1 octave (2 if possible) scales using only 2 strings, for example E and A. Any exercises where you move up and down the strings and fretboard will help to build strength and coordination.

I assume if you play guitar, that you already know where the notes are on the fretboard, so I left that out.
Tap paradiddle on your right hand - index middle index index, m i m m, i m i i ....

Tap it out as fast as you can without screwing it up. Over time, it will become second nature, and you will essentially end up will two fingers that can do two completely separate things. I can play rhythms with my index while soloing with my middle.
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the best thing to say is, just do it. bass is probably the easiest instrument to learn parts by ear, which is how you should learn to play. pick a song, play a couple notes, repeat until it sounds half-ass alright.

extrapolate that over a couple years and pick up new techniques when you come across them and you're golden

the good thing about bass is that there's no right or wrong way to play as long as it sounds good, and there are a lot of ways to pluck the strings, all of which are valid. that being said, i'd say start with your fingers. a pick is nice, but you can't really switch from a pick to other styles of play, and you can get the picking tone from your fingers once you've developed to that point.
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As you begin to listen to the bass parts of songs, you will hear that the bass often serves the song in unexpected ways. It is a lot more than just quarter notes or eighth notes on the root. It is essential that you understand this if you want to play good bass.

Beyond that, read this ASAP!


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Last edited by FatalGear41 at Jul 17, 2015,
not an exercise, but listen to isolated bass tracks on youtube and learn to play those. makes it easier to transition to bass from guitar when you have a firm grasp of what some bass players are doing.
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Hi there,i play guitar and i want to start playing bass.What exercises would you recommend doing,what should i stay away from,what are the wrong ways...tell me about it pls.

A lot of good stuff listed above by other members. I would say if you are competent on guitar you would know your scales, note positions and arpeggio's etc concentrate more on

- hand and finger stretching/strengthening exercises

- listen to drummers more closely and see the relationship between the bass, snare, cymbals & kick drums etc relative to the style of music you want to play.

- pick out some bass players you like or want to style yourself on. Google their rigs, basses, effects and styles etc.

- Youtube "isolated bass" to listen how it really sounds and the real "tone" as patticake suggested as well. Sounds like you are into metal by your username. Here is a good start https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=isolated+bass+cliff+burton

- Youtube/download drum tracks to practice with.

No particular order or emphasis, do what you feel.

Remember bass is really easy to get a basic tune out of, but if you like the more complex stuff all instruments are hard.

You will be fine.
Last edited by Yola_Yola at Jul 19, 2015,