sketch of guitar
The bass guitar is a fundamental component of instrumental ensembles. It provides the foundation of the sound that the rest of the band builds on. The bass guitarist acts as a rhythm instrument in that it sets the pace and keeps the beat for the rest of the band to follow, along with the drummer. At the same time, it keeps the band in tune by providing the base tone against which the other players check their pitch. Whether you want to play some complex Primus style tunes or some chill jazz, Sloan School of Music can provide you with the knowledge you need to become an excellent bass player.

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A Brief History of the Bass Guitar

The bass guitar is the lowest-pitched instrument in the guitar family, working with drums to provide rhythm and backbone to a song. They have either four, five or six strings, depending on the model you choose. Here are some fun facts to keep in mind:

  • They were first invented in the 1930s, and the earlier designs were significantly modified and improved over the next four decades.
  • Seattle-based musician and inventor Paul Tutmarc invented the first bass guitar in 1935, a four-stringed instrument (E, A, D and G) with a single pickup.
  • Tutmarc’s Seattle-based company, Audiovox, also manufactured a Model 236 bass amplifier to use with this model. 
  • Leo Fender’s invention of the Precision Bass in 1951 vaulted the instrument into the mainstream, though. 

Interestingly, the Precision Bass, or P-Bass, eventually evolved so the Fender design looked like a Stratocaster guitar, with beveled edges to make playing more comfortable. Many music historians consider Fender and Tutmarc to be the co-inventors of the bass guitar, so music fans everywhere owe them our thanks.

Learn From The Best

At Sloan School of Music, we pride ourselves on offering professional music lessons for students of any age. Our bass guitar instructors have experience as professional performers and teachers, so our students can be sure to have a thorough understanding of every aspect of bass guitar. 

Hands-on professional experience means that our instructors can teach you about how to perform solo and with a group, in studios or on stage. Performance knowledge begins with the basics, and our instructors know how to get you from a beginner to performer at your own pace. Once you have the basics down, you’ll know how to get your band or ensemble in the groove with the right tempo and tone. 

artist playing guitar wearing a hat


artist playing guitar

Learning to play bass guitar well takes more than having a good instrument. Private lessons will take you through every step of the musical process, so you can learn the posture, fingerings, and strumming necessary to build your repertoire of skills and songs. 

They will take you through bass-specific techniques like octave shaping, slap & pop, and arpeggios to keep your sound smooth and in tune. Not only will you have comprehensive training in the technical aspects of playing, your instructor will take you through the basics music theory, so you have a thorough understanding of key and meter. 

In addition, you will be taught how to read sheet music and charts, so that you will eventually know how to play whatever you put your mind to!


One of the most important aspects of learning a new instrument is practice, practice, practice. While you will definitely need to get comfortable with your scales and chords so you perfect your technique, your instructors at Sloan School of Music know how to keep it interesting by providing you with exercises and songs that challenge you to attain new levels of playing skill. Our experts will help you learn everything about your instrument, while keeping you engaged, so you can enjoy the entire learning process. 

At Sloan School of Music, we are here to help you take your music knowledge to the next level. Whether you’re new to the instrument or want to hone your skills, we are here to help. To find out more about bass guitar techniques and private lessons, contact Sloan School of Music today.

artist playing the bass guitar and recording

The Benefits of Music Education

The Sloan School of Music believes passionately in the overall benefits of all types of musical education, including bass guitar lessons. Studies have shown that students have a lot to gain from learning and playing music, including:

Our instructors live this and know the benefits from experience, because they are devoted musicians themselves. Their dedication and affection for their craft naturally transfer to their students, many of whom become musicians for a lifetime. 

In-person lessons are particularly worthwhile because they allow students to experience the instructor’s skill and passion for music firsthand. Teaching is also easier side by side, because it enables the instructor to get into detail and demonstrate the intricacies of holding an instrument, making a note, playing a chord, or mastering other technical aspects of making great music.

Why Choose Sloan School of Music for Bass Guitar Lessons

Students can get excellent bass guitar lessons from our experienced instructors and enjoy full access to our performance facility, recording space, and group classroom for band practices. We have fantastic band programs and a shop full of instruments carefully chosen by our staff, who are teachers themselves. We only recommend brands that we believe in. 

Our skilled instructors will teach you how to play the bass like a pro. We will take beginners through the basics, including essential chords, finger placement arpeggios, tuning, how to do key techniques, and octave patterns. 

Our schools offer private lessons and group classes for students of all ages and levels. We offer bass guitar lessons for beginners to more advanced students seeking to improve their repertoire and performance. Online lessons are also available for students who can’t make it to one of our schools.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Anyone starting to explore becoming a musician naturally has a lot of questions. Here are some of the ones we hear most often:

What Is the Difference Between Bass Guitars and Electric Guitars?

Bass guitars are generally larger than electric guitars and have thicker strings. Most bass guitars have four strings, although some come with five, and more unusual models have six to eight. Bass guitars, like their name suggests, play music at lower pitches than electric guitars. Many songs across all genres wouldn’t sound right without a bass’s unique, deep sound.

Is It Easier to Learn Bass or Guitar?

The fundamental principles are similar, and both are fun to learn. You can start by learning a simplified version of a bass line and then master more complex arrangements as you progress. The bass is typically a heavier instrument to play than a guitar. It has a longer neck and thicker, heavier strings, and you will need to develop your finger strength to play it well. 

Am I Too Old to Learn to Play Bass Guitar?

It’s never too late to start learning any musical instrument. Adult students, especially seniors, should consider taking bass guitar lessons to improve their general quality of life and open up new learning pathways. It’s hard for potential music students of any age to ignore the tangible benefits mentioned above. All of us have a place in our lives for the joy that comes from creating music, no matter our age.

Is It Easier to Learn Bass if I Can Already Play Guitar?

Most guitarists can play a simple bass line, and it is easier to learn bass guitar if you have experience playing guitar. Students moving from guitar to bass need to learn quite a few different techniques that are unique to playing bass, though. Transitioning from the six strings of a guitar to the four strings of most basses can also take some practice. There are overlapping skills, but you may need to unlearn some of your guitar techniques to excel at playing bass.

If you have any other questions about bass guitar lessons at Sloan School of Music, contact us today.

Music Lessons Across Two Locations

The Sloan School of Music has locations in Hagerstown, Md. and Urbana, Md., and each one carries the finest-quality musical instruments. Both our sites have friendly staff who will help you find the gear you need and give you musical advice that will speed your development as a musician. 

Our staff will help you find the right bass to match your skill level and interests. Both of our stores offer free Wi-Fi, numerous power outlets with USB ports, and a refrigerator full of complimentary beverages to enjoy while you choose that perfect guitar. Contact our team today to schedule a lesson.


Interested in taking up the bass guitar? Or perhaps you’re a seasoned player looking to hone your craft. Either way, Sloan School of Music has instructors for all skill levels. Check out our instructors below, and be sure to schedule a lesson when you find one that suits your needs.

Anthony Sloan the music instructor playing guitar

Anthony Sloan

derek kretzer playing guitar outside in nature

Derek Kretzer

fred williams smiling headshot


Sloan School of Music instructor Stefan Sandman

Stefan Sandman

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