33 Common Questions about the Bass Guitar (Answered)

Do you want to know about the bass guitar? You’ve come to the right place. I will answer some of the most common about the bass guitar.

When it comes to the subject of bass, here are the most common questions out there.

Let’s dive in!

1. Are Bass Guitars Easy To Play?

Bass guitars are not easy to play, however, they are considered easier to learn in the beginning. When it comes to playing, they have thicker strings which makes it harder to play than a normal guitar, and like any other instrument, It takes time and dedication to master.

2. Can A Bass Be Self-Taught?

Bass can be self-taught for sure. I am myself, a self-taught bass player. When I started out, I figured out how to hold the bass on my own, and started to learn songs from watching YouTube videos and just practicing, which is what it all boils down to in the end. With the knowledge on the internet today, it is 100% possible to learn an instrument yourself.

3. What Does A Bass Sound Like?

A bass guitar produces low-pitched tones. Because of the thick strings it possesses, the tones are generally going to be very low-pitched. They can be made to sound higher when holding high-pitched frets on the bottom of the neck, or if you tune the bass in a higher pitch, it will also result in higher-pitched tones. But generally, It’s a low-pitched instrument.

4. How To Clean A Bass Guitar?

The bass guitar is cleaned in a few different ways. To clean the body and neck of the bass, you can use a clean cloth or an old shirt, more effective if you have a guitar polish to use with it. The hardware and pickups can also be cleaned with a clean cloth, just rubbing them slowly and carefully.

To clean the fingerboard, you have to remove the strings (this is probably best done when changing the strings, to avoid unnecessary removal), then carefully clean the wood on the fingerboard with what is known as fingerboard oil (which you can find in your local music shops).

The Frets should be cleaned with a separate product, which is a jewelry polishing cloth (available in markets). The strings are by far on what you should focus on cleaning the most. After playing, it’s best if you use a cotton cloth to rub-down the strings, and for a deeper cleaning, you will have to soak the cloth in a little bit of alcohol for a more thorough clean.

5. How Often Should I Change The Strings On The Bass?

The optimal time frame for changing the strings is about 4 months. This way you would get the best sound out of your bass. They can be changed earlier or later than that, but this is just the optimal time that is recommended. The best piece of advice is – you shouldn’t leave your strings unchanged for a year. Twice a year is also okay, but no fewer than that if you want your bass to sound good.

6. how much does a bass guitar cost?

On an average scale, bass guitars can cost from around $400 to $700. This still depends on what brand the bass guitar is, how many strings it has, or even what model it is. There are cheaper bass guitars than that, as there are also more expensive ones. The best advice is to figure out at what level of playing you’re at, so you can get a suitable bass at a reasonable price. If you’re already a veteran, then a more expensive bass should be the next step to progression.

7. Should You Use A Pick?

You can definitely use a pick on bass. It’s an extremely controversial topic, where hardcore bass players would say that a real bass player only uses fingers, but there is no shame in using a pick, as the sound and comfort you get may result in a better performance. Most bass players in history used fingers, but the pick is becoming more popular by the day.

8. Can Bass Be Played Without An Amp?

Bass can be played without an amp. You can just pluck away without using an amplifier, however, the sound will not be as loud for sure. Playing without an amp can be good when you’re practicing, or when you don’t want to make a lot of noise.

9. Are Bass Guitars Longer?

Yes, bass guitars are longer than regular guitars. This is because the strings are thicker, and are longer as well. So a longer neck provides more space for the strings to be wound-up tightly on the top, because of the pressure they have, they need to be tight on the top in order not to break.

10. Are Bass Guitars More Expensive Than Guitars?

Bass guitars are known to be more expensive than regular guitars. This is because the bass is larger and therefore requires more material to be used. And another fact is, regular guitars are generally more sold than bass guitars are, so in order to balance out the profits, bass guitars tend to be more expensive than guitars.

11. Are Bass Guitars Cool?

Bass guitars are cool. Although some might not look at it this way, bass guitars are cool when you actually know what you’re doing. When you finally feel at ease with your bass and your playing, you can make the whole experience look cool when you’re on stage. Everything is about energy, when you enjoy playing and you feel it, then the crowd feels it too. The same goes for guitars and any other instrument for that matter.

12. Where To Buy A Bass Guitar?

You can buy a bass guitar in your local music shop. This is probably the best place because you can actually try out the bass instead of looking at pictures on the internet and ordering it from a website.

Even though there are countless good websites for musical equipment, nothing beats the live experience and actually holding the bass in your hands and hearing the sound. If you do want to order it online, then I recommend Sweetwater, Musician’s Friend, and Thomann.

13. Why Does A Bass Have 4 Strings?

The bass has 4 strings because the strings are thicker than those on a guitar. They produce more low-pitched notes that mostly serve as the foundation of songs, and those 4 strings are more than enough to provide just that. 4 strings on a bass guitar is the optimal bass guitar.

14. Can A Bass Have More Strings?

Yes, a bass can have more strings. There are 5 stringed bass guitars and even 6 or more strings. The reason for this is because, on a more stringed bass, you can play notes that are even more low-pitched or higher-pitched than on a 4 string. This allows more practical use of playing, so you don’t have to shift around the neck so much in order to get the desired tones.

15. Which Bass Guitar Strings To Buy?

This depends on what kind of bass you use, how many strings it has, what is the length of the neck, and what kind of music you prefer to play. But the most general string brands for bass use would be D’Addario, Rotosound, Fender, and Ernie Ball.

16. Can You Play Bass on a Guitar Amp?

You can most certainly play bass on a guitar amp. The result just won’t be the same as on a bass amp. A guitar amp isn’t produced to have such low-pitched sounds. So while you will definitely get sound from the bass on a guitar amp, it just won’t be the same as your bass would sound more shallow, compared to that on a true bass amp.

17. What Is The Difference Between Active And Passive?

The difference is in the electronics of the bass. An active bass has a ‘preamp’, which resembles a tiny amplifier, but with fewer capabilities than your amp’s main amplifier. A passive bass has just a basic single tone control. The more simple way to explain this is that an active bass is powered, while a passive bass is not.

18. What Is The ‘Action’ Of A Bass Guitar?

The distance between the strings and the fretboard is referred to as the ‘Action’. Strings on an instrument with low action will be closer to the fretboard, while strings on an instrument with high action will be farther away.

19. What Is A ‘Tone Control’?

The tone control is a type of equalizer that makes certain pitches sound softer or louder. It basically allows you to tune the tone to a degree that best suits your preference. Passive basses have just one tone knob for adjusting treble frequencies, while an active bass has two knobs, one for treble and one for a bass tone.

20. Are My Fingers Supposed To Hurt?

Your fingers are supposed to hurt, especially when starting out on bass. As I mentioned, the strings on the bass are thicker, therefore more pressure needs to be applied, which in turn, will result in your fingers hurting. But this will pass over time, as you get used to it, and your fingers become more accustomed and durable.

21. Am I Too Young/Old To Learn To Play Bass?

No, you are not too young or old to learn to play the bass. There is no age requirement or age recommendation. Anybody can sit down and learn to play the bass. The only thing you need is the desire and devotion to learning to play and the rest will come naturally.

22. How Long Will Learning The Bass Take Me?

To learn the fundamentals and get to a level where you feel comfortable on the bass will probably take you less than one year. As I said, the bass is considered easier to learn than the guitar in the beginning. Anything beyond beginner level will all depend on how much time and effort you put into learning to master the bass. If you are devoted and practicing on a regular basis, it shouldn’t take you long to progress further.

23. Should I Use Pedals?

For playing bass, no pedals are required. However, if you want to expand your sound and try playing a certain genre that suits you, pedals will come in handy to get the sound you want. For example, if you want to play post-rock bass, then you would need to get a reverb pedal to get a more spacious sound, a delay pedal for additional effect, and even a fuzz pedal just for the more “noise” parts.

24. Is the Bass Guitar Underrated?

Bass is definitely underrated. This is a running joke in the music world, that the bass is overlooked and fairly underappreciated in lots of different ways. But when you look at the facts, the bass plays a vital part in music in general, as providing the foundation of every song, it is considered a crucial part of almost any song out there. Without the bass, songs will sound more shallow and incomplete.

25. Are There Acoustic Bass Guitars?

There are acoustic bass guitars. As there are acoustic guitars, there are also acoustic versions of bass guitars out there. They serve the purpose of playing live acoustic gigs without overpowering the sound and are even great for practicing purposes. As a normal electric bass without an amp will barely be heard, an acoustic one provides more natural sound without an amp and is more home-friendly.

26. Are Bass Guitars Loud?

Bass guitars without an amp are not loud. Following up on the previous question, a bass guitar is naturally low in sound. This still depends if the bass is acoustic or not, but however you look at it, it doesn’t produce a loud sound anyway. The loudness comes when you plug it into an amplifier. But for those who ask this question in regard to practicing at home, it is a care-free instrument that you can practice whenever you want without having to bug your neighbors.

27. Should A Bass Guitar Neck Be Straight?

Yes, the neck of the bass should be straight. This is a really important part of the bass and it has to be straight. If it’s not, then it will significantly impact the sound on the bass and have a negative effect altogether. The neck can be impacted by simple weather changes, so it’s up to you to prevent those changes by adjusting the truss rod on your bass. Every bass comes with an Allen wrench, which is used to adjust this rod, to bend more, or to be straightened. Depending on which of the two options is at hand, you would need to adjust it.

28. Where To Learn Bass Guitar?

Bass guitar can be learned with private lessons with private tutors, on the internet with bass programs that help you learn, or you can just learn it yourself if you’re more of a do-it-yourself kind of person. I was self-taught, though when I think about it, it would have probably been less time-consuming to just pay for private lessons and learn it the right way. There is also the option of learning to play via online lessons. There are platforms that can assist you in this, as the internet is filled with lots of information.

29. Where Should I Keep My Bass?

You should keep your bass in a more climate-controlled place and preferably in a case. Whether it’s too cold or too hot, it won’t be favorable for your bass, as extreme temperatures like this can affect the neck of the bass and even the strings. It’s best if the bass is in a case and positioned upright in a closet or a wall, or laid down on the ground. This is a really important thing to keep in mind if you want to preserve your bass.

30. Do I Need A Case For My Bass?

You don’t need one but it’s preferable. If you want to keep your bass in great shape, then a case would come in extra handy. Whether it’s a soft-case or hard-case, it will positively impact your bass’ well-being. I urge every bass player to have a case when owning a bass guitar because when you pay money to buy a bass and you play it, a few more extra dollars will make a significant difference in preserving that bass guitar.

31. What Are The Best Bass Brands?

The best bass brands are Fender, Ibanez, Yamaha, and Ernie Ball Music Man. If you want a high-quality sounding bass then choosing one from these brands might cost you extra but it is well worth it. They have affordable options as well, each way you look at it if you choose one of these brands you cannot go wrong in my opinion.

32. What Are The Best Exercises For Beginners?

The best exercises for beginners would be scales. The best way to learn and to improve is by learning to play scales and master them as much as possible. They will have a significant impact on your skill and will provide you with the necessary skills you would need to progress even further. The fundamentals are extremely important and should not be overlooked.

33. Private or Online Bass Lessons?

Private bass lessons are a better option for more personalized learning. But this is just my opinion, as I feel you can learn more effectively when an experienced tutor shows you how to do it properly. Not saying that the internet is not a good place to learn.

If you prefer a more carefree approach, then by all means go with the internet. It has the benefit of not having someone standing over your head and you can take it at your own pace.


There are a lot of questions about bass guitar and a lot of people asking them. The internet can have those answers if you search it long enough. I hope my list of the most common questions about bass gives you some of the answers you were looking for. This is all from years of experience playing and owning a bass guitar so I hope you enjoyed it. Thank you for reading.

Milan Trajkovikj

Milan Trajkovikj

I’m the Deputy Editor for Musician Wave and a touring and recording bass guitarist. I love to share my passion for all things music. I’ve been playing music for over ten years and I love exploring it further through writing. You'll also find me on the Musician Wave YouTube channel.

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