A bass is a four-stringed instrument that is longer and slightly larger than a guitar but plays notes an octave lower than its 6-string cousin. (The strings of bass are therefore tuned EADG, the lowest four strings on a regular guitar.)

You can learn playing the bass with music lessons at home. But unlike guitars that may come in acoustic or acoustic-electric combination, nearly all basses are electric, so you will have to take that into account when budgeting. Along with drums, the bass sets the music's foundation, providing the backbone for all other instruments to play around.

While it's the guitar that is traditionally more out front and in the spotlight, it's the bass that's the driving force behind the band. If you are a team player but unconventional and laidback and don't mind laying low, then you may be better suited to a bass than a guitar.

The bass performs in rock, metal, punk rock, pop, reggae, country, gospel, blues and jazz. It can also play solo in metal, funk, jazz fusion, and progressive rock.

If you are taking bass guitar lessons for beginners, remember that a bass is played the same way as a guitar. You fret the bass with your left hand, and you pluck it, slap it, pop it, tap it or thump it with your right hand. Strumming on a bass is less common. Funk uses mostly the "thumbstyle" method achieved by 'slapping' a string with a thumb and 'snapping' a string or strings with the middle or index finger. In fretting, the fundamental technique employs 'a finger per fret' approach.

The four strings on a bass may trick players into thinking that bass guitar lessons are easier. They are to some extent - if you want to get playing in a band as quickly as possible, it's easier to be a bassist –but the bass has the same possibilities as a guitar, with many musicians pushing it outside its traditional role. The main difference between a guitarist and a bassist is that a band may not have a guitarist or drummer, but it will always have a bassist.

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