Every beginning is hard but luckily for the beginner bassist, there are many easy bass guitar songs which are catchy, sound great, and don’t require years of experience to be played. But even advanced players can benefit from learning or revising some of the classical tunes that we are going to present you today!
Learning how to play bass is not always easy but with a straight-to-the-point explanation on how to play easy bass guitar songs, learning becomes fun and the results will be a great motivation. We’re here to offer you suggestions on which bass riffs to practice, no matter if you’re a beginner or if you’ve simply missed some of these songs during your practice sessions!
In the first part of our guide, we will explain to you how you can learn any guitar song, where and how to find instructions and how to access great online teachers without having to spend a ton of money right away.
We will also try to give you an effective method for learning easy bass guitar songs with tabs in a four step method that is similar to the one described in one of our earlier guides.
This time, we will focus on really listening to the song and also taking a closer look at what parts the bassist plays by analyzing a bass cover of the song. And to make learning beginner-friendly, fast and clear, we will also provide you with a lesson and a tab for each song!
Learning a song on bass – 4 Cs method:
There are many ways to learn a song on different instruments, but the best way is to combine different approaches into a single method. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do with our unique 4 C’s method.
One way to learn a song on bass that is popular among advanced players is learning a song by ear. This is possible because of year-long experience, theoretical knowledge and a lot of practice. A trained ear will be able to discern even the smallest details in a complex bassline. For a beginner, this way of learning may seem impossible – and it is, but only for a limited amount of time.
Another way is to learn songs easy bass guitar songs with notes in form of sheet music or by using bass tablature. If you’ve ever played a different instrument like piano, you may already be familiar with sheet music. But for true beginners, bass tabs are more than sufficient. The only problem is that they are usually distributed over the internet and are sometimes wrong. Another small problem is that they force you to think about where to play something and not what to play.
Our method is going to focus on first listening to the song in order to explore the Context of the bass parts. Then we will focus on a bass cover so that we can analyze the Content that the bassist provides to the song. Next up is the bass tab which serves as a Co-text, a written, theoretical description of what is being played that helps you imagine and visualize what you are playing. After we try to memorize it we are moving to the last step – developing Craftsmanship, that is, the technique needed to perform the song.
While all four Cs are working together to bring about the results, there is an especially strong connection between the first and second step. Depending on the skill level and experience of the bassist, the second step can be omitted. The third and fourth step can sometimes change order depending on the song. But as a beginner, you should definitely try to take a look at all four Cs.
Focusing on all four parts – how the band sounds, how you sound, what you are playing and how you are playing it – you get to completely understand a song in it’s entirty. Even if a song is very simple, this understanding is important, because it will help you develop more feeling for musicality and later on be useful when investing more time in music theory.
Let’s start with our songs!
1) Yellow by Coldplay
“Yellow” is an alternative rock song by British rock band Coldplay and it features a very minimalist approach in the bass range. The song is written in the key of B major with a tempo of 88 beats per minute. It focuses mostly on three notes – a B note, an F# and an E, but the chorus has a slight variation.
Let’s put our 4 C’s method to use! Listen to the studio recording once again and try to remember how long each part lasts. Ask yourself when the chorus starts, how many times can you recognize the same line for the intro and what are the lyrics to each different part.
After you do that, you can take a closer look at what the bassist is playing. This is important, and especially for a beginner, because it’s sometimes hard to tell what parts are played by which instrument. By listening to a bass cover, you can hear all the bass notes more clearly.
Yellow Coldplay Bass Cover:
Are you able to hear all the low notes? Sometimes it helps to use headphones, especially if you’re using a laptop or a mobile device!
Now let’s take a look at how the song is played! As you will see, the verses are really easy but the chorus is really bass- driven and a little bit harder. You will have to carefully listen to get the timing right!
Yellow – Coldplay Lesson
Now try to play the songs – if you can’t play it right away, don’t worry! Just take a look at the bass tab! This song is very interesting because certain parts can be played at different positions.
For example, you have the note E on the second fret of the D string and on the seventh fret of the A string, but you also have the lowest E note as an open string. Both can be played during the verses and you can even alternate then when your technique gets better! Take a look at the different tabs and see what is most comfortable for you!
2) My own worst enemy by Lit
“My Own Worst Enemy” is a Pop punk song by the American rock band Lit. This bass driven punk tune is a great beginner song for pick playing, but of course you can play it with fingers if you choose to.
Let us take a closer look at the song. We will be using similar notes as in the last song – we will need an B note and an E note, but we will also use an A note. My Own Worst Enemy” is composed in the key of E major, so all the notes used are part of the major scale. Let us see how they are used.
Lit My own worst enemy bass cover with tab:
This song is a great example of something that a beginner might easily miss. When playing bass (or any other instrument), pauses are as important as the notes.
With other words, what is being played and what is not played is equally important in a song. Let’s analyze that once again, this time with a bass lesson.
Lit My own worst enemy bass lesson:
By now you should have a general idea of what notes to play when. To make it easier to remember everything, try taking a look at the bass tab and repeat the song as many times as necessary.
3) Come as you are – Nirvana
With Nirvana we’re moving into grunge territory. “Come As You Are” is a grunge and alternative rock song ranked 445th on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”, and it placed 452nd on the 2010 edition of the list.
This song is very dynamic, which means that it has a contrast between quieter and louder parts. This contrast is often used by Nirvana and is an important part of bass playing. Now it’s time to listen to the bass parts.
Come as you are bass cover with tab:
This is the first song that we are going to learn that uses chromatic notes, which is a technique used by many grunge and metal bands.
Basically, you will play notes that are close together so you will need to get better at using all fingers of your left hand. For now, you will need to play three notes that are just next to each other. Take a look at the lesson:
Come as you are bass lesson:
This song was originally recorded with a bass tuned down, but almost all of the notes can be played in standard tuning. This tab will provide you with the correct locations of the notes – if you learn the song using this tab, you will be able to play along the studio recording!
4) Money by Pink Floyd
This legendary song by Pink Floyd makes it into every top 10 bass lines list! The reasons for this are numerous – it’s very memorable, it pilots the whole band, it’s extremely catchy and it is very useful as it is in an odd time signature. Listen carefully!
Money by Pink Floyd Bass Cover:
The time signature is 7/4 (or 7/8), which means that instead of counting 1-2-3-4 you have to count 1-2-3-4-5-6-7, or 1-2-3-4-1-2-3, or 1-2-3-1-2-3-4. Think of it as having to play 8 eight notes, but leaving the last note out.
Or, think about it as having a line that never finishes but actually flows back into it’s own beginning. Everybody has their own way of explaining it, but it’s much better to just try and play it.
Money by Pink Floyd Bass
If you find this song challenging, don’t give up right away! It is a somewhat difficult song for the left hand, but as it is fairly slow, you have a lot of time to think about each note and to re-position your fingers.
Take your time with this one – you may need a bit longer but if you learn it, you will be rewarded as the experience you will gain from it will be essential in the future.
5) 21 Guns by Green Day
21 Guns is the second single from the eighth Green Day studio album ’21st Century Breakdown’. It’s a pleasant track to listen to, slow and easy on the bass parts, so it is very beginner friendly.
You will notice that the shape that the notes make are used in literally hundreds of songs. In fact, they are in the same order (but with a different starting note) as Holiday, another amazing song by Green Day.
21 Guns by Green Day Bass Cover:
This minor scale progression is very common in rock music. Keep in mind that the third note in the progression can also be played one octave lower, which means that you can play the F note on the third fret of the D string, but also on the first fret of the E string.
21 Guns by Green Day Bass Lesson:
This song is normally played with a pick because Mike Dirnt, the bassist of Green Day, is an almost exclusively pick-player. But as always, it is your choice how you are going to play it!
6) Otherside by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Right away, you will notice that the chorus of this song has the same order of notes as the verse of 21 Guns. Like we’ve mentioned, a lot of songs us a variation on that progression. Here, they’re just used for two different parts.
Otherside by Red Hot Chili Peppers Bass Cover:
This song has a few added notes which make it slightly more demanding that the last few songs, but some of the notes can be left out. But all in all, it’s very easy.
Otherside by Red Hot Chili Peppers Bass Lesson:
This song also has an easy bass solo part. If you keep practicing, you will be able to play it in no time! Try to incorporate the added notes as you will be able to use the same techniques and tricks in other songs!
7) The Killers – When You Were Young
You Were Young is a song written and recorded by The Killers for their second album Sam’s Town (2006). This cool tune has appeared in the video game Guitar Hero III and is available as a DLC for the video game and learning tool Rock Smith.
The Killers – When You Were Young Bass Cover:
This amazing song is very easy and perfect for learning to paly with a pick! Don’t get discouraged because it’s somewhat faster! Just make sure to use alternate picking!
The Killers – When You Were Young Bass Lesson:
8) My Name is Jonas by Weezer
My Name is Jonas is an alternative rock song by the band Weezer. It is featured in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock as the fourth song in the European Invasion tier.
My Name is Jonas by Weezer Bass Cover:
Unlike the previous song, this one is a 3/4 time signature, which is somewhat different from what we’ve done before. But, the song is fairly slow and the notes are really easy. It also uses similar notes to the song Other side which you’ve already learned!
My Name is Jonas by Weezer Bass Lesson:
9) Wicked Game by Chris Isaac
Wicked Game is a song by American rock musician Chris Isaak, released from his third studio album Heart Shaped World (1989). Despite being released as a single in 1990, it did not become a hit until it was later featured in the David Lynch film Wild at Heart (1990).
Wicked Game by Chris Isaac Bass Cover:
This easy tune has only three notes, similarly to our earlier songs, and is also fairly slow, so it’s easy to learn. But its unique character allows you to add more notes to spice it up. Don’t be afraid to try something on your own! As long as you keep the rhythm right, it’s going to sound decent!
Wicked Game by Chris Isaac Bass Lesson:
Through several years, many different versions and arrangements of the song were made before the final version was released. Both the bass line and drums (except the cymbals) were sampled from previous recordings of the song and then looped. James Calvin Wilsey played the distinctive lead guitar solo on the song.
10) For Whom The Bell Tolls by Metallica
This strong and emotion loaded song by Metallica is a must-know for any bassist! It forces you to explore the highest notes you can play on bass and to play around with a cranked amp!
For Whom The Bell Tolls by Metallica Bass Cover:
Originally, this song was played by Cliff Burton with fingerstyle, but later on, Jason Newsted would play the song with a pick. Try out both and compare the different sounds!
For Whom The Bell Tolls by Metallica Bass Lesson:
Playing the chromatic run up the neck might feel weird but it is just as important as playing the low open strings. It is an amazing exercise for finger independence and will force you to use correct posture. Make sure to also check out the live-recording!
We hope you enjoyed our newest addition! These songs will remain part of your repertoire forever – not simply because you learned them early on, but because they are the biggest challenge to overcome!
The hardest part is the beginning. We hope that we’ve made it easier for you to choose songs that fit your style. We know it’s not easy to find the right material among thousands of great songs.
If you are strugling with one or more songs from our list, maybe you just need to take a break. Part of being a musician is also taking it easy sometimes.
But make sure to never overestimate your knowledge and ability – sometimes it’s best to just back up a bit and remember all the bass-ics!
If you are a beginner and still need to work on your fretting hand technique, your plucking hand technique and learning all the note locations on the bass, make sure to check out our other articles!
We are sure that you’ll find everything you need!