black and white image of a fender precision bass guitar being played

Why Play Bass Instead of Guitar

Hey there! Today, I want to discuss the unique features and advantages of playing the bass guitar and why you might consider picking it up instead of the guitar.

The Role of the Bass Guitar in Music 

Foundation of the Rhythm Section

The bass guitar is the backbone of any band. We’re responsible for defining the groove and creating the pulse that keeps the music moving. Together with the drummer, we establish the rhythm the rest of the band builds upon.

Harmonic Support

Bass guitar also provides harmonic support. We outline chord progressions and connect the harmonic structure, giving context to melodies and solos. Without the bass, the music can feel empty and lack depth.

The Bass Guitar is Incredibly Versatile 

Different Styles of Music

The bass guitar shines in various musical styles. In jazz, we play walking basslines; in funk, we slap and pop; and in rock, we employ fingerstyle techniques. No matter your taste in music, there’s a place for the bass.

Learn Unique Techniques and Playing Styles

Bassists have a wealth of techniques to explore, including fingerstyle, slap bass, plectrum (pick) playing, and tapping. Each technique offers distinct sounds and textures, allowing for creative expression.

Benefits of Playing Bass Guitar

Increased Demand for Bassists – More Gigs, More Money, More Fun!

Bassists are always in demand, as there are fewer of us than guitarists. Our essential role in bands means we have opportunities across various music genres, from rock to jazz and everything in between.

Develop Strong Music Fundamentals

Playing bass helps develop solid musical fundamentals like rhythm, timing, ear training, and music theory. Understanding harmony and chord progressions will make you a better musician, regardless of your instrument.

Creative Freedoms and Opportunities

The bass guitar’s expansive tonal range and space within the mix allow for improvisation and unique basslines. Collaborating with other musicians will challenge and inspire you, leading to endless creative possibilities.

Opportunities for Doubling on Double Bass

Doubling, or playing electric and double bass, opens up even more work and musical exploration opportunities. Mastering both instruments can make you highly sought after, especially in musical theatre shows, jazz gigs, roaming bands, and orchestras.

Musical Theatre Shows

Many musical theatre productions require bassists who can seamlessly switch between electric and double bass. By doubling, you’ll increase your chances of landing gigs in this competitive field and be an invaluable asset to any pit orchestra.

Jazz Gigs

In jazz, the double bass is a staple instrument, providing a warm, rich tone that complements the genre’s intricate melodies and harmonies. Doubling on double bass will help you secure more jazz gigs and showcase your versatility as a musician.

Roaming Bands

Roaming bands, which perform while moving through a venue or event, often rely on acoustic instruments like the double bass. Doubling allows you to participate in these unique performance opportunities, bringing music directly to the audience.


Orchestral bassists primarily play the double bass, as it produces a deep, resonant sound that supports the ensemble. Doubling can open doors to playing in orchestras, from community ensembles to professional symphonies.

By doubling on electric and double bass, you’ll be well-equipped to take on diverse musical opportunities and elevate your career as a bassist.

The Emotional and Social Benefits of Playing Bass

The Satisfaction of Playing a Supportive Role

Playing bass teaches teamwork, empathy, and listening skills. As a bassist, you’ll learn the importance of supporting others, which can lead to personal growth and fulfilment.

Unique Community and Networking Opportunities

The bass community is welcoming and supportive. Bass-centric events, organisations, online forums, and renowned bassists are just a few resources available for networking and learning.

Why Play Bass Instead of Guitar? My Conclusion

In conclusion, playing the bass guitar and doubling on double bass offers numerous advantages and unique features. From defining the groove to providing harmonic support, exploring diverse playing styles, and increasing work opportunities in musical theatre, jazz gigs, roaming bands, and orchestras, mastering both instruments can make you an incredibly versatile and in-demand musician.

Embracing the low end with electric and double bass will expand your musical horizons and open doors to new professional and creative experiences. So, dive into the bass world and discover the joy and satisfaction of mastering this exceptional instrument!






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