Learning a new instrument is a great hobby to pick up. Should I learn bass or guitar is a common question that comes up with a lot of aspiring rockers.
Do you want to shred solos, or slap down some funky rhythm? Bass guitar and 6-string guitar are similar in appearance, but both offer much different play styles.
If you master one, you won’t be a master at the other, although there will be some transferable skills that you can apply to both instruments.
Helping narrow down your options here is what we’re aiming to do, so if you wondering if you should learn bass or guitar first, here we go.
How to tell the difference between bass and electric guitar
The first thing is that bass guitars typically have 4 strings where guitars have 6.
Although it is entirely possible to have more or less strings on either instrument, 4 string for bass and 6 strings for guitar is standard.
The next difference between the two is the style of play and the material you play.
Bass is meant to hold down the rhythm. Bridging the gap between the percussion and the rest of the melodies.
Where as, guitar is meant to add melody and rip through solos to add some flash.
So if you’re more interested in holding down the rhythm, bass will be more your speed.
If you want to be soloing and have a little more of the spotlight, guitar is going to be a more desirable option for you.
It also doesn’t have to be bass OR guitar, many people learn one of them and dabble on the other.
Many guitarists as solid basic bassists, and vice versa.
Should I learn bass or guitar first
If you can’t decide between learning bass or guitar first, I was in the exact same boat when I was starting out.
My recommendation if you can’t choose, is to start with guitar.
Guitar is a little more versatile, and if after a few months of playing guitar you realize that you’d rather by playing bass, you’re still in a good spot.
This is because the basics of guitar will much more easily transfer to bass, the opposite isn’t as true.
Learning the foundations of bass will help with guitar, but not as much as the other way around.
Can I learn both bass and guitar
Yes, absolutely. Many guitarists dabble in bass so they can record their own simple bass lines as needed, or just to expand their understanding of music as a whole.
It also helps for bassists to understand where the guitarist’s brains are at. If you understand the other instruments you’re playing with, you’ll find playing with them much easier.
Better to learn bass or guitar first
Learning the guitar will give you more of an edge early on, over learning bass first.
This is because you still need to learn to play single notes and locations on guitar, just like you would with the bass.
It’s just that with guitar you’re also learning chords, which do not transfer the same way notes do back and forth.
If you were to learn bass first, you wouldn’t have the knowledge of chords early on.
Learning bass vs guitar
Regardless of which instrument you give attention to first, you’ll still have a good amount of transferable skills.
You’ll be building coordination for both hands, in a similar way, and will feel familiar on bass or guitar.
The fretboard and note locations is the same on bass as it is for the lowest four strings on guitar.
The thicker strings on bass will be a bit more of a learning curve, but alternatively, fretting chords is more complex.
The differences between bass and guitar are many, but with just as many similarities as well.
It is easier to pick up the basics of bass than it is to pick up the basics of guitar.
However, it is harder to be a good bassist than it is to be a good guitarist.
Both instruments are difficult to master, and would be too hard to say which one is tougher.
Learning bass or guitar will provide you with a wide variety of new skills, that can be transferred back and forth to either instrument.
So if you’re learning one of them, you’ll be slowly building basic skills for the other.
Although guitar skills, early on, with transfer to bass better overall.
Learning bass or guitar doesn’t have to be exclusive, you can learn both together and become more well-rounded as a musician.