Oh boy, here it comes!
I can’t tell you the amount of arguments I got in over this question, and for some reason someone always brings it up again and again, be it in a band, forums, you name it.
Playing the bass and the guitar-, even though they are extremely similar, is different and claiming that one is easier to play than the other, or that one is better than the other, is just absurd!
So, here’s my take on it!
Is Bass easier to learn than Guitar?
While learning the absolute basics of playing the bass might be easier, mostly because you learn by playing single notes instead of chords, but becoming a great player is just as hard.
To become good at both instruments you will have to practice roughly the same amount of time, and becoming a professional bass player is definitely not easier than becoming a professional guitar player.
Let’s get into more detail…
Which one is easier to play?
This is an age-old question that I hear people ask, and for some reason there’s always someone who claims that one instrument is easier than the other and a whole discussion, or even fight, breaks out.
Yes, some instruments are easier to get started on than others, but no instrument is easier to master than any other; be it guitar, bass, violin, piano, drums, etc.
Being able to play a single note on the piano is much easier than playing a single note on the violin, but does this mean that it will take you less time to master the piano over the violin? Of course not!
Both the bass and the guitar are quite easy instruments to pick up and you could get someone to play a basic riff or chord progression in a matter of hours.
However, I do believe that learning the absolute basics is easier on the bass because you will be learning to play single notes instead of chords, which makes it a lot easier on your hand.
Not only that, but you have fewer strings to worry about, since the bass usually has 4 strings while the guitar has 6.
Having said that, I don’t believe that there is THAT much of a difference to keep you from playing one or the other; just pick the instrument you want to learn and that’s it!
Basic differences between Bass and Guitar
In order to pick one or the other, you first need to know the differences between a bass and a guitar, and while they have more things in common than most other instruments, there are still some core differences that set them apart.
String Count: Traditionally a guitar has 6 strings while a bass has 4.
There are both basses and guitars with more strings, but this is how it tends to be.
Pitch Range: While the bass and the guitar are tuned the same way, the bass is tuned an entire octave lower.
String gauge: The strings on a bass are much thicker and heavier than the ones on a guitar.
Design: The bass guitar has a longer neck, and therefore the space between the frets is also wider.
Additionally, it’s generally heavier than an electric guitar.
Playing technique: This will vary a lot on the genre and the person playing the instrument, but generally speaking the guitar is either fingerpicked or played with a pick.
The bass on the other hand, can also incorporate more percussive elements like the slapping technique.
Role in a band: The bass guitar is the foundation of the whole band, meaning that while its role might be arguably more important in most cases, it’s got less freedom to play around.
Note: Again, this depends on the genre and the band.
Which one should you play?
I think I already made it clear that both instruments are fairly easy to get started on, so picking one isn’t a matter of “which one is easier to learn”, but rather which one you like best.
I personally am a guitarist, and I love it!
However, playing the bass is extremely fun, especially if you know how to play some of those more complex songs like this one:
There is one important thing to note though; The world is flooded with guitar players, and getting into a band can be tough at times since there are just too many too count…
On the other hand, with all the bands I’ve player over the years we had to get a new bass player at some point, and this was extremely difficult.
What I’m getting at is that you’ll have much higher chances of playing in a band if you’re a bass player, especially if you’re good!
Learning to play the basics of the bass might be slightly easier than learning the basics of the guitar, but that’s about it!
You think it was easier for Victor Wooten to become as good as he is than it was for Guthrie Govan? I honestly don’t think so.
Becoming a master at anything will take thousands of hours, and in that regard no instrument is easier than the other.
I hope this information was useful!
Have a wonderful day!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Bass easy to learn after learning guitar?
Yes, bass becomes easier to learn after you already know how to play the guitar because they are so similar; they are tuned the same way, which means that everything you learn on a guitar will translate well to the bass.
How to tell the difference between bass and electric guitar?
The easiest way to tell is by counting the strings; A Guitar usually has six while a bass usually has 4.
Additionally, basses have longer necks, wider frets, heavier strings and are heavier themselves.
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