Is Electric Guitar Harder Than Bass To Play? The Answer May Shock You!

is electric guitar harder than bass to play?

Bass players get a lot of guff, but is electric guitar harder than bass when it comes to actual playing? Today we break down why we should maybe give bassists a little bit of a break!


Is Electric Guitar Harder Than Bass To Learn?

This question comes up a whole lot in the guitar community. Mostly, it has been from guitarists wanting to learn how to play bass guitar because they record from home as a “one man act”. Sometimes, it is purely from a curiosity standpoint! I know that’s exactly I started playing bass, because it has the same notes as a guitar right? Just tuned an octave lower.

It all seems pretty easy if you already know the notes on the fretboard, and you have some experience with playing guitar. The bass is just another stringed instrument, and it would seem that it shares a lot of the same principles of electric guitar. But there is a serious learning curve!

Is Electric Guitar Harder Than Bass To Play?

A thing to consider is you are wondering about guitar being harder to play than bass, is that they are completely different instruments. They are tuned exactly the same, just an octave apart, so scales and modes DO work the same way. But a bass guitar is used much differently in a band context. Bass guitar also uses different techniques when it comes to actually playing the instrument.

What I, and many other guitarists discover is that bass is a completely different instrument. So while they may seem very similar as instruments, they are totally different in approach. Sure they share the same notes and scales, but there is a lot to consider and it is not just a question of “is electric guitar harder than bass?


Guitar VS Bass: The Differences

Most guitarists will look at electric bass as the “first four strings of the guitar, tuned lower” and while this is correct in a technical sense, playing the two instruments is a different experience. In music, both the bass and guitar can be considered “rhythm” instruments, but the bass and drums make up most of the rhythm section. If you break it down just to techniques, bass is much different:

  • You usually play one note at a time, the root note of a chord
  • You do not strum a bass, usually
  • Bass generally “locks in” with the drums
  • Using effects is much less common
  • Bass uses “fills” just like drums
  • Larger strings
  • The total scale length is longer than a guitar

Bass players can usually spot a guitarist that is playing bass from a mile away! Guitarists usually will stick to just the root note on a bass, and play it much like they would a guitar. But bass is completely different in approach. Bass is part of the rhythm section, holding the song together with the drums, traditionally.

Good bass players know when to play scale “fills” in a song, just like a drummer usually does. Bass does not always follow what the guitar is doing, contrary to popular belief. Good bassists know how to play with the drummer, in the pocket. This creates the entire groove of a song, and a good rhythm section is the basis for any good band.

Playing the pocket means a lot of things. But in the most simple form, it means that you have locked in a solid groove with the drummer. The groove can be loose, where the bassist is slightly behind the drummer. You often hear this kind of bass playing in Blues and R&B music. But the bass can also lock in with the kick drum, like you hear in Metal and Punk music.

Bass plays two different roles in the band setting, and while it is important to hit the correct notes, bass is also a percussive instrument in many cases. It can accent what the drummer is playing, using slapping techniques or only playing on the down beat. The bassist and the drummer have to hold the groove down if we guitarists are going to shred a solo, right?

Bass guitar is very much its own thing, for many reasons. Sure, a lot of guitarists end up being bass players to fill a gap in the band. But you have to shift your perspective if you are a guitarist wanting to pick up the bass. The two instruments are similar, but very different when it comes to context.


So, Is Electric Guitar Harder Than Bass?

is electric guitar harder than bass?

To answer the question, both instruments can take time to become proficient. Bass may seem deceptively simple since it only has 4 strings compared to 6 on the electric guitar. Being a good bassist, and being a good guitarist are two totally different skill sets. If you are looking into buying a bass as a guitarist, you should look at it as a different instrument entirely. For some people, bass may actually be harder than guitar.

Just because it resembles a guitar, does not mean that your guitar playing skills will translate. Sure, if you play guitar and know your fretboard notes and intervals, then bass will be much easier starting out! Your technique will be starting from scratch, though. Technique is where bass and guitar differ greatly, and some guitar techniques will work on bass. Likewise, some bass techniques will also work on guitar. Make no mistake, they are completely different instruments.

A great bass player and drummer can make or break your band. The rhythm section is often overlooked, and the guitarist and singer get the spotlight. But a good bass player knows when to play, and how to stay in the pocket. If you ask me, I think bass can actually be harder than electric guitar since you have to sometimes restrain your playing! At the end of the day, neither are “harder” to learn, they are just different.

Is Electric Guitar Harder Than Bass?

A thing to consider is you are wondering about guitar being harder to play than bass, is that they are completely different instruments. They are tuned exactly the same, just an octave apart, so scales and modes DO work the same way. But a bass guitar is used much differently in a band context. Bass guitar also uses different techniques when it comes to actually playing the instrument.

What Does “Playing In The Pocket” Mean?

Playing the pocket means a lot of things. But in the most simple form, it means that you have locked in a groove with the drummer. The groove can be loose, where the bassist is slightly behind the drummer. You often hear this kind of bass playing in Blues and R&B music. But the bass can also lock in with the kick drum, like you hear in Metal and Punk music.

Is Bass Easier Than Guitar To Learn?

A great bass player and drummer can make or break your band. The rhythm section is often overlooked, and the guitarist and singer get the spotlight. But a good bass player knows when to play, and how to stay in the pocket. If you ask me, I think bass can actually be harder than electric guitar since you have to sometimes restrain your playing!

If I Play Guitar Already Can I Play Bass?

To answer the question, both instruments can take time to become proficient. Bass may seem deceptively simple since it only has 4 strings compared to 6 on the electric guitar. Being a good bassist, and being a good guitarist are two totally different skill sets. If you are a guitarist looking into buying a bass as a guitarist, you should look at it as a different instrument entirely.

Are The Notes On Bass And Guitar The Same?

They are tuned exactly the same, just an octave apart, so scales and modes DO work the same way. But a bass guitar is used much differently in a band context. Bass guitar also uses different techniques when it comes to actually playing the instrument.

Absolute Beginner? No problem.

Learn how to 10x your guitar playing, use all the latest gear, and record like a professional – all from the comfort of your bedroom!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest