Most people will cite the piano or drums as the world’s most popular instrument. However, the guitar is played more than both of those combined. Over 700 million people across the world play it – that’s 10% of the human population!
If your child is looking to reap the benefits of playing music, learning bass guitar notes and strings is the best place to start. Read on to learn some tips and tricks for effectively practicing the bass guitar at home between professional lessons.
1. Remembering Bass Guitar String Names
The fretboard is one of the most important parts of the electric guitar. It’s where the player can move their hand across the strings to find the notes they need for chords and songs. Basically, it’s the background of any young guitarist’s musical experience.
Understanding the fretboard layout can help anyone learn to play guitar better. To do that, your child will need to understand the guitar strings that cover it.
When you look at the front of a guitar, the strings (from left to right) are E, A, D, G, B, and E.
Using mnemonic devices, specifically acronyms, can easily help any player memorize the guitar strings easily. They help people take information and incorporate it into their long-term memory. Acronyms are also easy to recall and extract from memory.
A commonly used (albeit rather morbid) guitar string acronym is “Eddie Ate Dynamite, Good Bye Eddie.” It’s memorable partly because it’s shocking and funny. But there are also other options like the encouraging “Every Amateur Does Get Better Eventually,” so you’re not out of luck if you want an uplifting acronym.
This is generally fairly effective when teaching children, but you can also make or buy flashcards of the strings if they need an extra boost.
2. Use Bass Guitar Tabs
Guitar tablature music, also known as “guitar tabs,” is an easy way for beginners to read music effectively. It’s an alternative to traditional sheet music with a time and key signature, tempo, and dynamics. Tabs are way more rudimentary and basic, but they’re extremely effective for those still getting familiar with the fretboard and strings.
A tab will have six lines on it, one to indicate each string. These lines will be displayed horizontally and parallel to each other. There will be small dots in the spaces between strings that show where the player should put their fingers on the fretboard.
Bass guitar tabs make it easier for children (and adults) to get accustomed to their fretboard. Visual aids work wonders!
You can put little dot stickers on your child’s fretboard to denote different notes so they can hit them accurately when looking at tabs. These stickers will also make it possible for players to remember and hit the notes later.
3. Start With Single-String Bass Guitar Scales
Music scales are a core tenant of music theory. A “scale” is a set of musical notes that are in chronological order of their pitch. For example, a C-major scale contains, in order, the notes C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B, and, finally, C again.
Bass guitar learners can learn bass notes and strings by playing scales. They’re perfect for beginners because you can (and should) play a scale on just one string at a time. It’s also easy to hear whether you’re playing a scale correctly because missing or misplaying one note will ruin the chronological and consistent nature of the scale sequence.
Sit with your child the first time that they try to play a one-string scale outside of bass guitar lessons. Encourage them to continuously remind themselves of both the string name and the note they’re hitting. This is great because it helps kids remember string names, but it also makes them more familiar with the fretboard as a whole.
Plus, since a scale is a fast thing to tangibly accomplish, new players will feel ahead of the curve after playing one. This can provide a lot of motivation since doing something correctly is empowering. It provides quick gratification, all while boosting finger dexterity and movement speeds.
4. Learn Simple Bass Guitar Chords
Chords are different from scales, but they’re related. Guitars can play multiple notes at once and actually have a special name as a result: “chordophones.”
A chord is a core part of a guitarist’s life because it consists of three or more harmonic notes that players produce simultaneously. On sheet music, they’re assigned a letter that symbolizes the chord’s key (A-G.) Other letters and numbers may indicate the chord type (major, minor, augmented, etc.)
Chords are the building blocks of guitar songs, and learning them is a great way for players to start strumming like a pro. They won’t just feel accomplished but will also have an idea of what notes go together and sound harmonious. This knowledge is great because songs are made up of multiple chords, so they’ll already have a fundamental understanding of the pieces needed to play tunes both at home and in lessons.
5. Begin With Beloved Songs
Many people first pick up the guitar with the intent of playing their favorite songs. That’s totally fine! There’s no one right or wrong thing to learn when experiencing the joy of a musical instrument, and not everyone’s into classics from the 1800s.
The bass guitar is actually really popular because it’s the backbone of a lot of pop, alternative, and rock music. If your kid loves Taylor Swift or The Beatles, you can motivate them by encouraging them to learn a favorite song at home.
This gives kids the chance to engage with something that they’re excited about, which means they’ll look forward to playing. Music theory will naturally come as they get more familiar with the fretboard and strings. Attending lessons will also help them learn the fundamentals that they can apply when learning their favorite tunes.
Make sure that your child is using finesse when practicing any song they like. Not every strum should be the tight last strum of a song.
It’s okay for players to loosen up a bit, experiment with different speeds, and try playing softer or harder. In fact, variation can help build skills and awareness!
6. Use Chunking Strategies for Bass Guitar Notes and Strings
Chunking is a guitar practice strategy where the learner masters small actions before moving on to another one. Basically, it’s the art of breaking a larger task down into bite-size pieces, or chunks.
For example, let’s say a student wants to learn how to play Hot Cross Buns. Playing the entire thing may feel overwhelming to a young beginner who hasn’t mastered the fretboard yet, but they still may want to play it. Instead of learning the whole song, the player can break it down into small steps like “hit the first three notes perfectly” or “be able to name/identify the notes accurately.”
The player’s mind can connect the dots, and the chunks will all come together. It’ll build a skill in no time so they can play the whole song at once.
7. Practice Bass Guitar Consistently
While life can get busy, being consistent is important when learning any new skill. Your child needs to practice their electric guitar every day to retain information. They’ll forget bass guitar notes and strings if they go for a few days without practicing.
Instead of encouraging one day with three hours of practice, prioritize consistent guitar playing. It’s better to play for 20 minutes daily at a consistent time than to periodically have long binge-practice sessions. This will ensure that the learner can retain information until it becomes a second-nature habit.
8. Ask for Help for More Productive Practices
Understanding how to practice properly at home is important to playing bass. But it’s not the only thing your kid will need to do to improve. Bass guitar lessons are a chance for them to get professional tips and pointers so that they can practice more effectively at home.
Different people struggle with different aspects of playing an instrument. When you help your child practice or listen to them play, be on the lookout for the things they’re having trouble with. Let their San Diego guitar teacher know where they’re having trouble so they can come up with ways to get your little one over the hump.
Plus, every human being under the sun has a different learning style. In both one-on-one and small group sessions, instructors have the chance to get to know their students and how they learn new information. They can come up with lesson plans tailored to the way your child learns.
Your child will then have new learning strategies to take home with them. Their regular practice sessions will be more effective!
Learn the Base Guitar and Get Ready to Rock
Learning and remembering bass guitar notes and strings can be a challenge for many kids. With the help of the right professional, though, it’s much simpler. Our team of expert musicians is excited to work with children of all ages to rock on and have fun.
Whether you want to get your little one private lessons or out-of-this-world group sessions, Staump Music School has your back. We’ll pair new players with instructors that best fit both their instruments and learning styles.
Contact us to start the process of signing up for bass guitar lessons ASAP!