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Is Bass Easier Than Guitar? An Easy Way To Understand (2023)

Is bass easier than guitar? Find out the answer and explore the nuances of both instruments. Make an informed decision on which to play. Read more now!

Quick Answer

When it comes to learning how to play an instrument, many people wonder if a bass guitar is easier to play than a regular guitar. While both instruments have their own unique challenges, the bass guitar is often considered easier to learn because it has fewer strings and simpler chords. However, mastering the bass guitar still requires practice, dedication, and a good ear for rhythm. Ultimately, the choice between bass guitar and guitar comes down to personal preference and musical goals.

Let’s get into it!

Is Bass Easier Than Guitar?

The bass guitar is often considered to be an easier instrument to play than its smaller cousin, the six-string.

Indeed, it’s long been a running joke that the worst guitarist in the band is forced to be the bassist.

True or not, it would certainly be fair to say that some pick up the instrument due to this reputation of being the easier option.

is bass easier than guitar

However, the fundamental role of the bass is an essential one. They’re the harmonic foundation of the band – without their low end providing context and holding everything together, those flailing riffs and histrionic solos don’t have anywhere near the same impact.

With that importance in mind, is it fair to say that bass is easier? Let’s investigate!

Is bass guitar easier?

Some things are almost always easier about the bass guitar – here are some of them!

Fewer Notes

While guitarists are hyper-focused on finger-twisting, unwieldy chords, and crazy sweep-picked arpeggio shapes, the bassist tends to be a much more restrained instrumentalist.

The sound that a bass guitar produces doesn’t often lend itself to the same sort of playing as a guitar – the low-end frequencies are often too thick to let there be any real definition to chords, so they’re a much smaller part of a bassist’s repertoire.

Indeed, it’s not that often at all that a bassist will play 2 notes at once – in many ways, playing more than one note at a time is anathema to the role that the bass guitar plays in the band!

Not to say that it doesn’t happen, or that it’s a bad musical choice – but it’s certainly a less common one.

Slower Playing

In most (but certainly not all) musical circumstances, the bassist will be simply playing slower than other, more melodic instruments.

The low end of the audio spectrum tends to get muddy and unfocused with a lot of rapid notes – and while a bit of speed isn’t always a bad thing, it’s usually not the role of the bass player to be the fastest player on stage.

That doesn’t mean that bass is an inherently slow instrument – there are certainly some extremely fast players out there. However, the role of the bass is often to glue the harmonic elements of the music together, and it’s not always possible to be the glue when you’re playing so fast that nothing sticks.

Root Notes

This is where a lot of bassists start with the idea that bass is an easier instrument than guitar – root notes. Simply put, the root note is the lowest note of a chord – and, being the lowest tends to be the one that has the strongest sound.

It’s an extremely common thing for a bassist to play these notes often – whether solely relying on them or using them as a stepping stone to develop more complex musical ideas.

Either way, playing root notes is a key musical focus for a lot of bassists – and although it is an overly simplistic declaration to state that this is all bassists do, it’s certainly something simple and reliable that they can often fall back on.

Is bass harder than guitar?

Of course, some things about bass make it harder!

Bigger Instrument

The most obvious thing that anyone can see when they compare an electric guitar to a bass guitar is the sheer size difference. A bass guitar is a lot bigger than a six-string guitar.

The body is bigger and heavier, the neck is thicker and wider – the entire thing is a scaled-up version of the electric guitar. Some basses even have six strings! With this size difference comes a huge weight difference too.

Be prepared for some neck and back strain if you’re a little unfit and unprepared for the weight of the instrument!

That’s no joke either – some basses can be seriously weighty, and you’d do well to exercise and develop your neck and back muscles, or you could easily find yourself in pain after a stand-up jam session!

More Energy And Movement

With a bigger, heavier body, and much thicker strings than an electric guitar, a bass guitar naturally requires more energy and movement to play than a six-string.

You can’t just play in the same way as you would on guitar – in fact, you can’t always even use the same hand positions, despite the two instruments sharing a similar tuning layout.

This is because of the sheer size of a bass – finger positions that are common on guitar are often far more challenging, if not almost impossible on the bass guitar.

Indeed, trying to play in exactly the same way as on a guitar is often a painful experience – and, due to the thickness of a bass guitar’s low-end register, is often an unwise choice anyway!

With bass, often less is more – because a single note from a bass guitar can dominate a piece of music in ways that just aren’t possible on the other instruments!


If bassists can just get away with using root notes, then surely the theory of bass should be easier, right? Well, not exactly – the theory is hard all over!

Just because it’s possible for a bassist to get away with playing only the simple stuff, doesn’t mean that they always should!

As the bass is such a dominant instrument, occupying such prominent sections of the audio spectrum, a subtle change in bass notes or rhythm can fundamentally change the tone of an entire piece.

When the bassist decides to play a B note, everything else the band plays is now centered around that B note – whether the rest of the band likes it or not! The bass is often in control of the tonal feel of the entire piece – much to the chagrin of egomaniac lead guitarists everywhere.


While it may be tempting to look at bass as a simpler instrument than guitar, it’s not always the case. It can be an easier instrument – but it can also be a much harder one too!

As always in music, context is everything. What is certain is that bass is just as key to a full, cohesive sound as any other instrument – and that no matter the context, the bass has its own challenges!


Is it easier to learn bass guitar than standard guitar?

Many musicians find that bass guitar is easier to learn than standard guitar because it has fewer strings and simpler chords. However, mastering any instrument takes time and practice.

Can I switch from guitar to bass easily?

If you already know how to play guitar, you may find it easier to switch to bass than starting from scratch. However, there are differences between the two instruments, and you will need to practice to master them.

Do bass guitars have different playing techniques?

Yes, bass guitars have different playing techniques than standard guitars. You’ll need to learn how to use your fingers to pluck the strings and how to use different techniques for playing different styles of music.

Do I need to learn music theory to play bass guitar?

While it’s not required to learn music theory to play bass guitar, it can be helpful. Understanding music theory can help you understand the role of the bass guitar in a band and improve your ability to write your own bass lines.

Are bass guitars less expensive than standard guitars?

Bass guitars can be less expensive than standard guitars, but this ultimately depends on the brand, quality, and features of the instrument.

A high-quality bass guitar can be just as expensive, if not more so, than a standard guitar. It’s important to do your research and find an instrument that fits your budget and needs.

Happy Playing!

Passionately invested in the music world for over 20 years, Jake studied music for 14 years at the Royal Conservatory Of Toronto. He has a degree from Champlain College & Bishop’s University in Business & Music. He is the owner of Fly Away Music & Media Studio in Montreal since 2014, with over 500 happy artists recorded, mixed and mastered.

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