Learning bass guitar the traditional way can seem a bit boring at times. You learn your notes, your chords, but you don’t learn anything that seems substantial. While it is all extremely important knowledge, knowing your notes and chords, it isn’t instantly gratifying.
Learning bass lines is. In this article, we’ll go over some great bass lines which will help you to not only have fun learning rock and roll bass guitar, but will allow you to understand the fundamentals of the style.
Our first recommended rock bass line is Rainbow in the Dark by Dio. Not only is this song a classic, but it showcases the better side of fundamental bass playing. The bass line is very simple and follows the rhythm guitar throughout the song.
While not all bass players should feel the need to follow along with the rhythm guitar at all times, it is important that you see why and how it works. Following along to the rhythm guitar adds depth and a full under layer to the riff, adding substance and bringing it to the forefront.
Although this isn’t the world’s greatest bass work, you should understand that not everything you play should be a show off session. You need to write to fit the song, not fit the song to your writing. If you feel the need to play a bass solo every three seconds, then you may struggle to learn that no one will want to hear it.
People listen to music for the overall band, not for a free for all of musicians trying to outshine one another. You need to learn to be a team player, and Rainbow in the Dark is a prime example of the bass guitar working as part of the team.
Our next recommended rock bass line is Schism by Tool. While Rainbow in the Dark was a great example of falling back a bit and letting the other musicians take the reins, Schism is a great example of how to bring your bass playing to the front without making it overly gaudy.
The groove is simple, but it works perfectly. The key thing to note is that it isn’t about showing off. While the bass is the primary instrument throughout most of the song, it isn’t a six minute solo; it is a simple, effective bass groove that works with the atmosphere of the song.
This is another great example of writing to fit the song. The song doesn’t give off the feeling that it was tailored around the riff, more that the riff was made to suite the song itself. You can be the main voice without making yourself up. If you tend to be insecure about your playing and always feel you need to add more, you need to learn to be confident. Continuously adding more will only subtract from the value of the song.
Rock bass lines aren’t pushed out overnight. They come at random times. You can’t force ideas, and you can’t force creativity. All you can do is take in everything around you and allow your playing to walk its own path. When an idea does come, don’t question it; work with it.
JamPlay has thousands of video lessons that are conveniently arranged in structured lesson sets. With high quality instructions from world renowned bassists, Jamplay is an unparalleled learning resource. Whatever your genre preferences, you’ll find something here to help you improve your current level of playing.