Bass guitarists need free and well-written tablature, too! A classical piece, a holiday favorite, and a 90's rock song are a great place to start.
Honing Your Classical Chops
Bass tablature displays the four strings of the bass from bottom to top and the numbers on the lines represent which fret to play the note on. Use your ear to play the rhythm. For help with the following printables use our easy-to-read guide.
Invention No. 13
One of literally over a thousand pieces of wonderful original music, Johann Sebastian Bach's Invention Number 13 in A Minor is an outstanding bass piece in the first position of the instrument.
Here are some finer points and suggestions for working on this terrific piece of music:
- The notes that have double beams are called sixteenth notes, and they are played twice as fast as the single beamed eighth notes.
- A metronome is recommended to help establish a strong and steady sense of rhythm.
- Many versions of this piece are available online to listen to if you're unfamiliar.
Classical music, like any genre, has its own rhythm, phrasing, and sensibility. Learning this piece and increasing the tempo as you go will improve your timing, technique, and understanding of the genre.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
The great jazz pianist and composer Vince Guaraldi wrote the infectious and deceptively brilliant music for the stalwart animated holiday special. This song became the theme for all the subsequent Peanuts specials, and the bass line is a great workout.
To master Linus and Lucy:
- Work on the subtle syncopation of the held notes at the end of each measure in the "A" sections.
- Sing the main melody while you play the bass figure.
- Play along with the swinging original version.
Green Day Getting Sentimental?
This arrangement of Green Day's lovely ballad, Wake Me Up When September Ends, features the chord symbols and gives bassists an opportunity to take the melody.
A few things you can do with this version include:
- Create your own bass line using the chord symbols.
- Do variations of the line you create using different rhythms, tempos, and meters.
- Play the bass notes of the chord symbols at the same time you play the melody. It's possible with some practice.
Free Bass Tabs
Free bass tabs are available on the following five websites:
- With Songsterr, you can choose to browse tabs by difficulty or select from the available genres. Then, you can then filter the results using "Instrument" section at the top and selecting "Bass." Many of the bass tabs found here are displayed in a video format, allowing you to hear the song as you go and see when the notes should be played. There are a number of helpful lessons as well, from basic strumming to how to use the various tools offered on the site.
- E-Chords offers quite a bit of free content for bass guitarists. You can easily find what you're looking for with their comprehensive site search. Once you choose the song you want, there are quite a few other options including page scroll for hands free strumming, customizing the size and color of the music, and showing the chords for each song. If you want to hear how a song is meant to sound before playing it, click on the "YouTube Clip" button for a pop-up of the video.
- AZ Chords isn't as comprehensive as some other sites, but it's fairly easy to scan for the titles and artists you want. You can choose from the list of artists on the main page or search by group or song title. When you get to any results page, the tabs that are for bass guitar will be highlighted with green text so it's easy to find them.
- Ultimate Guitar has a wide array of bass tabs as well as lead or rhythm guitar. The search engine is easy to use, and you can use general terms like bass tabs or more specific queries like "Beatles Bass Tabs." There's a lot of music here, and it's easy to find and given in a simple format. Often there is an accompanying video.
- Big Bass Tabs is, as the name suggests, a site that features bass tablature and lots of it. With features like a bassists forum, a requests page, and a large and fast growing library of solid and varied bass tabs, this is a terrific online resource.
Holding Down The Bottom
Time is of the essence and for bass players, nothing could be truer. Lock in with your metronome and swing and rock hard on beats 2 and 4. Better yet, find a good drummer you can practice with. Learn a ton of songs, keep the groove, and start playing with other people. The music shared here is a great start on your musical journey.