The 10 Best Bass Guitar Books (2023)

Whether you are a novice or a seasoned expert at playing the bass, there are some awesome books out there that can significantly help you.

Bass guitar books are a great resource for learning. Aside from professional lessons, there’s nothing like a book to go through and practice with on your own time and at your own pace. This article is meant as a helpful guide for those looking for some of the best bass guitar books out there.

Here are 10 of the best bass guitar books on the market:

1. Music Theory for the Bass Player by Ariane Cap

Level: Intermediate

This book is a guide that is extensive and immediately applicable for those who want to be well-grounded in grooving alone or with a band. With this guide, you'll have access to a workbook.

You'll begin with intervals as the basic building blocks of music, and you'll have chords, harmony basics, scales, and the modes of scales. Get access to a lot of different exercises meant to help you improve.

This book also offers tons of musical examples, which in the term, help you better progress in the future. It also includes fretboard diagrams with fun quizzes and even photo demonstrations that show why relaxed posture and optimized fingering are vital for good tone, timing, and chops.

2. Bass Method - Complete Edition by Hal Leonard

Level: Beginner

A popular book with tremendous reviews, intended for beginners, and can also help seasoned bass players strengthen their foundation.

This book is for anyone starting to play the electric bass. It's a good book to teach bass students of all ages. Also, this book edition includes audio examples and books volumes one, two, and three.

You begin by learning to read music, and you slowly introduce new methods and theories as time goes on. It combines new ideas with exercises and play-along tracks to make the most of these books.

3. Bass Guitar For Dummies by Patrick Pfeiffer

Level: Beginner or Intermediate

This book provides easy-to-follow references, with lots of helpful advice that some might overlook in conventional learning.

This book is great for experienced players who are searching to improve their skills. It is also great for beginners. It serves as a guide that provides the reader with enough information about music theory, so you can quickly proceed on to all that the book has to offer. Other great information includes step-by-step instructions, the latest information about updated accessories, technology, and more.

With this book, you will learn how to position and hold the bass to read notation and comprehend scales, chords, and octaves for playing fills and solos. You get a new coverage of double stops, slap, fretless techniques, and de-tuning. Also get updates to illustrations, charts, resources, and new musical exercises. Audio clips of the book examples and a bonus CD are also included.

4. The Evolving Bassist by Rufus Reid

Level: Intermediate or Advanced

This book is a big help for more seasoned bass players. Supplying you with important information that will take your playing from basic to showing real skills.

This book has original compositions, such as new etudes, duets, and more. It's a classic technique guide as well as a wonderful reference for the all-inclusive bass player. This is a method book dedicated to the student who may have trouble locating or affording a regular instructor. It will also serve as your lifelong reference guide as you and your playing improve through time.

5. Bass Grooves by Ed Friedland

Level: Intermediate or Advanced

A widely informative book that helps you strengthen your musical core, as well as provide discipline.

Bass players will better internalize their rhythm and grooving with this invaluable guide. This book presents various lessons accompanied by a metronome, rhythmic applications, and different musical styles. The book also presents classical grooves and styles, including R&B, blues, jazz, Afro-Caribbean, and other traditions.

6. Heavy Metal Bass Method by Stephan Richter

Level: Beginner or Intermediate

A core bass method, covering various examples of useful tips for a progressive flow to learning more about the bass.

This book is an easy-to-follow guide that is comprehensive and introduces vital skills required to play metal bass. The book includes over 120 examples, designed to push your progress.

Many of these examples include the riff, scales, finger-style playing, hammer-ons, arpeggios, playing with the pick, grooves, syncopation, and special effects. And as a plus, the ability to read music is not required for this book.

7. Slap It - Funk Studies for the electric Bass by Tony Oppenheim

Level: Intermediate or Advanced

A more in-depth look into slapping, string-popping, and other interesting elements to bass playing for seasoned players.

For 25 years now, Slap It! has been one of the most important guides for electric bass players. This book is the new edition of its 25th Anniversary, and it includes 99 recorded examples on its tab and CD.

This book teaches you the fine art of slapping, with other topics being string-popping, hammer-ons, dead notes, lift-offs, and more.

8. Standing in the Shadows of Motown by Dr. Licks

Level: Intermediate

A book about a legendary bassist, filled with invaluable information that will indeed be helpful to any caliber player.

This book is mainly a biography about a well-established bassist from Motown named James Jamerson. This book allows a glimpse into his life through various interviews, shows, and even rare photos.

There is also some audio included, so people can slow down the audio and play it back without changing set loop points, changing the pitch, pan right or left, or changing keys.

9. Percussive Slap Bass by Chris Matheos

Level: Intermediate or Advanced

Extremely knowledgeable guide, taking you through various techniques and much useful information meant for progress.

This reference book shows how percussion synchronizes with the drums and bass. It also shows how the percussion locks in the bass with the drummer. This book also includes some of the best advice regarding control, slapping, triplets, and other useful tips like the Flamenco Thumb Method.

Tablature and notation are explained clearly with instructions on different slapping tips and left-hand muting. And as a result, this technique will create fuller sound grooves, thus producing a more valuable playing mode for your rhythm section.

10. Blues Bass by Jon Liebman

Level: Intermediate or Advanced

A highly renowned guide to discovering and learning all about playing Blues Bass.

Considered the best single source for learning how to play blues with bass, a plethora of styles is covered. This includes Delta blues, New Orleans blues, Texas blues, Chicago blues, West Coast blues, jazz blues, boogie-woogie blues, etc.

Other musical techniques from many popular kinds of music along with an audio supplement are also included. The audio supplement includes 80 pages of 74 full-band tracks. Additionally, the other musical techniques include the following: 12-bar blues, 8-bar blues, 24-bar blues, Minor Blues, Tags and turnarounds, 12/8 feel, Swing, Shuffle, Jazz, Pop, Slow Blues, Funk Blues, R&B.

Are Bass Guitar Books Any Good?

In a sense, Bass Guitar books are a good resource. They allow players to go over particular techniques or scales at their own pace and they can provide a lot of information that a bass player might not initially think about when starting.

They offer a great way of improving your bass playing. Bass players will always tell you to learn the basics. Bass guitar books are an excellent method of learning these basics.

How should I choose the right bass guitar book for me?

The first thing you should focus on is figuring out what level of Bass Guitar knowledge you have. Pinpointing your exact knowledge on the matter will help you decide on which book to choose.

If you already know what bass guitar is all about and have been playing bass for a long time, then the best bass guitar book for you would be one that teaches you something new or helps improve your current skills.

If you don’t know much about bass guitar apart from maybe knowing how to play a couple of bass songs or bass riffs, or If you are not able to play bass yet, then the best thing for you would be to choose a bass guitar book that is aimed at beginners.

Using Bass Guitar Books vs Bass Guitar Tutorial Videos

As with any product, there are always pros and cons. This sentiment is true even when it comes to the best product out there. It’s just that with the best product, you may have one or two minor cons. The answer still varies.

Most Bass Guitar tutorials will show you several exercises, but will not teach you how to play them. And with Bass Guitar books, some give you lots of information but the information is in many different sections and sections away from one another.

So the answer here might be to try out both options, and see what best works for you.

Are bass guitar books helpful even for advanced bass guitar players?

Bass guitar books can be helpful no matter who you are and what level of Bass Guitar you’re at. Bass guitar books serve as a resource and reference for bass players and can teach better ways to do something or can inspire bassists to learn new things.​

Some books even help you master various bass techniques, some help you with your soloing while some teach you the best bass riffs. Bass guitar eBooks can help you learn much more efficiently than conventional learning, without the stress of someone looking over your shoulder.


If you’re a bass guitarist who is looking to improve your technique and knowledge, there are some great books out there for you. Of course, this list of some of the best bass guitar books certainly can’t be definitive, but it’s certainly a solid selection for you to work off.

Milan Trajkovikj

Milan Trajkovikj

Milan Trajkovikj is a touring and recording bass guitarist who loves to share his passion for all things music.

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