Online learning resources, be it courses, videos, written content, one-on-one coaching, apps, et cetera, provide fantastic opportunities to learn (and teach) bass guitar and understand music more generally. Though nothing truly beats dedicated in-person bass lessons, there are plenty of excellent alternatives online.
Note that by “resources,” I'm not only referring to video tutoring and full-length courses (though these are arguably the best options). I'm also considering masterclasses, applications, videos and articles, and other online resources for learning how to play the bass.
Though obviously subjective and prone to biases, I’ve done my best to list out these resources based on the following metrics (in no particular order):
- Reputation of the bass guitar learning resource
- Quality of education in technique, theory, and learning real songs
- Organization and depth of learning
- Adaptability of teaching to individual students (one-on-one lessons are best here)
- The resource must be currently available
With all that being said, let’s list out the learning resources.
The top 11 best online resources to learn how to play bass guitar are:
- Scott's Bass Lessons
- Talking Bass
- YousicPlay: Gospel Bass with Andrew Gouché
- Berklee Online
- Fender Play
- Daric Bennett
- Teach Me Bass Guitar
In this article, we'll go through each of the above-mentioned resources to get a stronger idea of what makes them great for learning bass. Whether you're a complete beginner or a successful professional, there is always something to learn! I'll include links to check out each of the options for yourself to learn more about the bass guitar. We'll also consider a few “honourable mentions” worth considering.
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JamPlay offers online guitar lessons taught by world-class musicians and instructors. They offer step-by-step programs for beginners along with lessons for experienced bass players on techniques and song tutorials.
JamPlay members will get access to hundreds of on-demand video lessons and courses, live courses, song libraries and other tools to help you master the bass guitar. Take lessons from legendary bassists such as Billy Sheehan and learn how to take your bass skills to a professional level.
The courses at JamPlay allow you to customize your learning experience with interactive tools like tabs, notation looping, slo-mo and progress tracking. Members will also get access to an online community where they can connect with other bassists.
ArtistWorks is a unique online learning resource that lets students interact and receive feedback directly from expert musicians and instructors while also being able to learn at their own pace.
Courses are taught via on-demand videos and can include sheet music, worksheets, video exchange submissions and access to the Video Exchange Library. Video exchange submissions are part of the Video Exchange Learning method used at ArtistWorks. Here, students can record themselves playing from anywhere and then upload the videos directly to their instructors. The teachers will let create a personalized video response with feedback and tips. Then, this interaction is uploaded to the Video Exchange Library, where other students at ArtistWorks can watch and learn from your interaction. You will also get unlimited access to archives in the Video Exchange Library.
TrueFire offers online video lessons taught by Grammy award-winning musicians and instructors that focus primarily on guitars. They do offer a few specialized courses on other instruments such as the ukulele, mandolin and drums, to name a few.
There are 76 bass guitar courses to choose from that range in style and difficulty. Each lesson includes interactive videos that allow you to break down sections and go at your own pace. Additional features include slo-mo, looping and progress tracking. This is a great option for people who want to learn at their own pace and be able to dissect difficult areas in order to master them.
Scott's Bass Lessons
Scott's Bass Lessons (SBL) was founded by Scott Devine, a well-known bassist and one of the top bass instructors. SBL's goal is to help bassists at any level master the bass and overcome challenges they may face while learning.
The courses range in skill level from beginner and intermediate to advanced and are step-by-step videos. Students have the option to choose between various subjects to learn a style of bass that suits their interests. A few of the subjects are blues, sight-reading, r&b and walking bass.
In addition to on-demand video lessons, SBL includes live weekly workshops from professional instructors.
TalkingBass is a social media network for bassists with an integrated learning system. This is an excellent option for bass players looking to learn to play while also connecting with other bassists around the world.
Memberships are free. All you need to do is sign up and create a profile. Your profile will feature a timeline where you can post updates on your bass playing journey. Along with your own timeline, there is a newsfeed where you can see updates from your friends and TalkingBass. Additional social features include being able to create and join groups and forums as well as sending direct messages to your peers.
As for learning, there are premium courses that can be purchased and accessed through the TalkingBass membership area. You can attend study groups and weekly live hangouts that go over material learned from the course with other students. Lastly, members will get access to a practice area that features free ebooks, bass challenges, scales, arpeggios and play-along tracks.
YousicPlay offers music courses that are convenient and entertaining. These courses are taught by some of the world's top musicians and instructors in various genres and instruments.
The courses are taught by on-demand video lessons and may feature workbooks, notation and additional downloadable material depending on the course. They can be accessed anywhere, making it good for students who want to learn on their own schedule and pace.
The notable bass course is Gospel Bass with Andrew Gouché. This is an intermediate course. Andrew Gouché will teach you everything you need to know about playing gospel bass, along with how to play with attitude.
StudyBass is a superb resource for those on a budget as it is entirely free. Andrew Pouska has been teaching bass for over 25 years and created StudyBass as a way for students to be able to access quality lessons but at no cost.
StudyBass lessons are broken up into three lesson blocks: Fundamentals One, Fundamentals Two and Fundamentals Three. You can work your way from the very begin or skip to more intermediate lessons depending on your skill level. In addition to lessons, StudyBass also includes an online metronome, fretboard diagrams, pdf music paper and a bass tuning app called Tune My Bass.
Berklee is recognized as one of the top music schools, known for its renowned educational programs, teachers and classes that feature a range of musical styles. Berklee Online brings the quality of in-class teaching to the comfort of your own home.
At Berklee Online, students can take courses and obtain certificates and degrees. The courses and certificates do not require an application to complete. However, to obtain an undergraduate or master's degree, students will need to apply.
A few of the courses available at Berklee Online are Basic Improvisation, Rock Bass, Slap Bass, Jazz Bass, and Gary Burton: Jazz Improvision. These can be taken as credits towards certificates and degrees or as non-credits.
Fender Play is one of the top online learning options to learn the bass, guitar and ukulele. It features step-by-step video lessons, song tutorials and chord challenges that are easy to use and customizable.
Courses can be accessed either through the Fender Play website or the app. Members will get access to all instrument courses and can customize their learning experience. To start, first pick the instrument you want to learn (this can be changed later), then select a genre. Once selected, you can then go through each skill level or select one of the hundreds of song tutorials and start learning. The bass learning also features exclusive backing tracks that let you play along with guitars and drums.
If you are on the fence about Fender Play, they offer a 7-day free trial, so you can test out their learning style before purchasing a membership. This is a great choice for beginner bassists.
Daric Bennett's Bass Nation aims to take your bass playing skills to the next level. His lessons will help you become a better bass player by taking you through step-by-step lessons and sharing his personal bass-playing techniques.
Daric offers a range of free lessons online that vary in skill level. He also offers a free trial to his membership area, where students will get access to full online bass lessons, a membership forum and messaging system, live lessons and more. This is an excellent option for those who enjoy Daric's free lessons but are ready for more in-depth learning and want to be able to connect with a community of other bassists.
Teach Me Bass Guitar
Teach Me Bass Guitar (TMBG) is a self-paced learning resource taught by professional musician and instructor Roy Vogt. Formally a DVD course, TMBG has switched to digital and downloadable lessons, making it easier than ever to learn at home.
TMBG is not subscription-based. Students can purchase and download individual lessons, bundle lessons based on skill level or buy the entire course with all 20 lessons for a one-time fee.
A notable feature of TMBG is the onscreen, animated fretboard. This will show you exactly what notes are being played, making it easier to learn and follow along with. A few additional features include access to a bass community, play-along tracks with or without a singer, animated sheet music and a downloadable coursebook.