How Long Does It Take To Learn Bass Guitar?

Practice makes perfect, isn’t it?

Well, how much practice is required to know the bass guitar basics?

A 1993 psychology paper explained that about 10,000 hours is what is required to gain full mastery of something. If we go by this, that’s a little over nine years if you practice 3 hours every day.

Thankfully, we aren’t looking at being masters yet. Simply, we want to answer the question of “how long does it take to learn bass guitar?”

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What are the factors that determine how much time you’ll spend learning the bass guitar?

The factors that determine how much time will be spent learning the guitar are your musical background; your learning goal; and resources available and channeled for learning.

Your learning expectation and resources available to meet this desire is a huge determinant of the time spent learning. By resources, that includes time, money, and effort. Other than this, your background in music can either hasten or slow down the learning process.

Musical Background

How can your musical background affect learning the bass guitar?

Your music background seriously influences the time spent learning the bass guitar. If you have a solid musical background, you are very likely to learn this instrument within a short time. This is because you are aware of the basics of music common to all musical instruments. On the other hand, someone in the dark concerning music theory will have a lot more learning to do.

Therefore, with prior knowledge of some key musical lessons, you’ll be able to bypass a lot of training. This will in turn make the whole process faster.

Does knowledge of other instruments help you learn the bass guitar?

Knowing how to play another instrument will help you learn the bass guitar fast. This is especially if you know how to play the acoustic or electric guitar. These instruments share basic music rules that can be applied across all instruments. For instance, except for percussive instruments, the subject of keys and solfa notation is relevant for most instruments.

If you can play another musical instrument, you have a significant edge when learning this instrument.

Which other instrument helps you learn the guitar well?

Some other instruments will help you learn the bass guitar better. Examples include the acoustic or electric guitar and drum. As required of a good bass guitar player, the drums help you develop a good sense of rhythm and timing. A drummer who intents to learn the bass guitar will find things easy in the area of rhythm and timing. On the other hand, the guitar shares a lot of features with the bass guitar. The prior knowledge of how to use the strings, the arrangement of frets, and other features will come in handy.

By and large, knowing how to play any instrument will help out when learning another. That explains why some people are able to play many instruments.

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Your Goal

Even among people with similar musical backgrounds and resources, gaining mastery of the guitar may not happen around the same time. The conscious or subconscious learning goal is one of the reasons.

So people are fulfilled learning to play arpeggios while backing up vocals and other instrumentals. Others want more than that. As a result, the final outcome is very likely to be different.

Also, while some learners are bent on being professionals, others are just in the game as a hobby. While the latter may not back out, they do not have so much at stake. As a result, they may not push themselves to certain points.

In essence, your goal would ultimately decide how long it would take for you to learn the play the bass guitar.

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How much time should you spend to gain mastery of the bass guitar?

If you want to gain mastery of the bass guitar, you should be ready to commit 3 hours every day for the next 9 years. People committed to this course usually gain mastery before this time. However, given the varying learning abilities, musical background, as well as resources available, 3 hours every day is realistic.

You can also decide to split the time. You can do an hour in the day and 2 at night. For many, this is a more effective way to go about it. However, if all you want to do is play your favorite song or two, a few months will do.

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The Resources

What Items do you need to learn the bass guitar?

The items needed to learn the bass guitar are:

1. The Bass Guitar

2. The Amplifier

3. The Headphone

4. The Effect Pedal

5. Cord

Except for the headphone and effect pedal, all the others are necessary. This is because bass guitars are electrophones. This means that they require electric power to amplify their musical sounds.

Do you need a teacher to learn the bass guitar?

It is possible to learn the bass guitar without the help of a teacher. There are various online tutorials that can help learners gain mastery. However, this can be a very difficult process. This is especially if you have no prior knowledge of music. For such people, the guidance of a good bass guitar teacher should not be up for questioning. However, if you have prior music knowledge or play another instrument, you have an edge.

As an advice, even if you’ll eventually stop, you should start by hiring a good bass guitar teacher.

So, it is not just about getting the bass guitar alone. The other items listed are necessary for learning. Other than these, you need the right guidance. As a result, getting a good bass guitar teacher should be up for serious consideration.

Getting the right resources can significantly shorten the time taken to learn this instrument.

If you can afford it, you should get a good teacher. In the long run, what you’ll gain will be worth it.

Are all bass guitars with 4 strings?

Not all bass guitars come with 4 strings. However, the traditional bass guitar comes this way. However, with recent modifications, there are bass guitars with 5, 6, and even 7 strings.

The additional strings offer players the opportunity to play notes beyond the traditional 4 stringed bass guitar.

Should you learn the bass guitar with a 5 or 6 string guitar?

Beginners should learn the bass guitar with a traditional bass guitar with 4 strings. This is so that they are not confused about the key placement of the guitar. As they progress, they can explore playing on bass guitars with more strings and features.

However, as explained earlier, progress in the learning process is more about you and less about the gear. So, even with the best sort of guitar, teacher, and other required items, indiscipline and inconsistency can slow you down.

Now that we’ve discussed the factors that influence learning the bass guitar, let’s put a number to the learning process.

You should however note that our deduction is merely an estimate. This is because some people may learn a lot faster, while others may be slow. This is just a rough estimate.

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How Long it Takes to Learn the Bass Guitar?

How long does it take for someone without musical knowledge to learn the bass guitar?

For those who have no musical knowledge, it is really hard to put a number to how long they’ll have to learn. This is because they have to be taught music basics first. Subjects such as music keys and solfa notation will have to be addressed. It is after then they’ll be able to determine how long they can learn the guitar. After learning the basic of music, they should be able to confidently do somethings on the bass guitar in 6 months.

How long will it take a beginner to learn the guitar?

In about 6 months to 1 year, a beginner with knowledge of some music fundamental should have learned the bass guitar to a good point. While there is still room to learn, he should be able to practice alone and develop himself with little or no guidance.

What should a beginner be taught on the bass guitar?

Beginners should be taught how to play single notes, develop their picking skills, and practice with some finger exercises. This is because as beginners, they are just getting familiar with some difficult concepts in music and are new to the bass guitar.

Later on, they should be introduced to using several notes, playing in line with the rhythm, using riffs, and some other important things they can assimilate.

If you’re a very fast learner, it should take you about 6 months — 1 year to accomplish these. However, you should note that the earlier discussed factors can change this time frame.

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If you’re at this level, we suggest you watch the video below. It’s helpful for beginners who are trying to learn how to play the bass guitar.

Video: How Do I Learn Bass Guitar Easy?

How long will it take to become an intermediate level bass guitar player?

For a beginner, you can get to the stage where you are called an intermediate level bass guitar player in 1 – 3 years. At this stage, you will be able to play complex rhythmic patterns, as well as sight play within short notice.

Songs like “Billie Jean” have a complex rhythmic pattern. Being able to play such should give you an idea of what an intermediate bass player can do comfortably. 

The intermediate level is probably the level you’re going to be on for the most part. In fact, you can earn a lot in this level. A few shows, as well as some paid gigs, shouldn’t be hard for an intermediate level player to come by. 

As stated earlier, you can get to this stage in 1 – 3 years of consistent practice. However, it can also take as much as 5 – 8 years. The timing largely depends on your commitment to practice, as well as your raw talent. 

Unfortunately, some people get too comfortable at this stage and don’t move up.

How long will it take to gain full mastery of the bass guitar?

To gain full mastery of the bass guitar, you must have put in about 10,000 hours. If you put in 3 hours every day, this should take about 9 – 10 years.  At this point, you are able to play very difficult riffs and perform other complicated feats on the bass guitar. As a master bass player, you can slap and pop your bass like it’s gum.

On very short notice, you can play almost anything on the bass guitar at this stage. Furthermore, because not so many reach this level, you are highly sought after. This stresses how much value you command. 

If your goal was to go on world tours with fans all over the world, it’s very possible at this level. Most bass guitarists retire at this stage and are very happy with their careers.


To become a master or intermediate level player should be your aim. Although it might seem like such a long time, time will prove the decision to learn as right. As a bass player, you have to enjoy every moment that comes your way. From the very first time you held the guitar, right until you performed right in front of the fans, enjoy every moment.

Every step of the journey should inspire and motivate you. And just in case you don’t end up a legend, appreciate that you’re better than those who didn’t try.

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How Long Does It Take to Learn Bass Guitar – Related Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Hard to Learn to Play Bass Guitar?

Learning the bass guitar is not quite a simple process. This is especially when compared to the lead, acoustic, or electric guitar. It is like learning both the jazz drum and acoustic or electric guitar. To gain mastery of the bass guitar, you need to develop a strong sense of rhythm and tonality. The complicated process of learning this instrument is the reason there are fewer bass guitarists compared to lead guitarists.

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However, gaining mastery of the bass guitar is very achievable. All that is needed is the right mentoring, self-belief, discipline, and consistency in practice.

How Do I Start Learning Bass Guitar?

To start learning the bass guitar, you need to have knowledge of some music theory. You also need to have a good understanding of music keys, both the major and minor keys. Afterward, you need to practice how to sing the solfa notation correctly. This will help a lot when you eventually start playing. When you’re done with that, you can get on to identifying and playing the solfa notes on various keys of the bass guitar. While doing this, ensure that you are learning the proper fingering techniques. It is important that you pay attention to this in the early stages of learning.

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Is Bass the Easiest Instrument to Learn?

The bass guitar is not the easiest instrument to learn. Although widely perceived by many as less intimidating than the acoustic/electric guitar, it is more demanding for learners. This is as a result of both the structure and the playing pattern. The bass guitar has more learner strings than the electric guitar. However, the strings are thicker and require a lot more control. So, holding down the strings on the fret requires more tenacity and skill. Also, the way the notes are plucked is more difficult than the acoustic or electric guitar.

This is not to rule out the possibility of learning the bass guitar effectively, as this is very possible.

Is Bass Fun to Play Alone?

Playing the bass alone is not fun for professionals and experienced musicians. This is except they are actively practicing. The bass guitar can be played alone, however, it sounds better as part of a band. For beginners, it is expected that they start learning the instrument without other musical or vocal accompaniment. This way, they can learn, unlearn, and relearn guitar skills and techniques without interruption. However, as they progress, they have to play along with other instrumentalists, especially the drummer. This is to help test and develop the sense of rhythm needed for a bass guitarist.

Is Bass Harder Than Guitar?

The structure of the bass guitar is what makes it harder than the guitar for some. With the bass guitar, you have thicker strings that require intense control. Also, the plucking pattern of the bass guitar is difficult for many. Unlike the guitar, the bass guitar requires the hands placed in an awkward position for many learners. Other than these, the guitar may turnout more difficult for some. This is because of the number of things you have to learn. For instance, you’ll have to learn to play chords on the guitar. This isn’t something required on the bass guitar.

Why Are Bass Players Underrated?

Bass guitar players are often underrated because of the nature of the instrument. Although it adds an incredibly good harmonic feel to a band or music, it is not a solo instrument. Unlike instruments such as the piano and acoustic/electric guitar, it is not designed to play the melodic line. It often acts as a backup for other instruments. For this reason, it is often underrated by many.

However, the bass guitar should not be taken for granted. This is as a result of the harmonic feel it adds to the band. On rare occasions, the band can choose to allow the bass player to lead small melodic lines. Although unusual, this can turn out very nice.

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