Musical U for Bass Players


As a bass player you are the backbone of the band. You need to be rock-solid and reliable – while also being flexible and creative.

Whether you play an upright double bass or electric, when you put your fingers on the fretboard you need to know they’ll play exactly the right notes at precisely the right time.

One way to do that is by rigidly sticking to riffs, licks and basslines you’ve practiced a thousand times.

The other (much more enjoyable and natural) way is to develop your musical ear and rhythmic instinct so that the notes flow easily, fluidly, and perfectly in time, from your mind out into the world through your bass.

At Musical U we can help you become the kind of bassist who’s in high demand for their rock-solid sense of the beat, compelling grooves that get the listener tapping their toe, confidence and ease in learning new material, and creative flair when it comes time to play a solo.

What Bass Players Can Learn in Musical U

There are three main areas where Musical U helps bassists:

  1. Playing Basslines By Ear
  2. Improvising Solos
  3. Rhythmic Mastery

Musical U is a fully flexible training system, meaning there are no fixed courses you have to follow.

Instead we support and guide each member to construct their own perfect personalised training plan, using the dozens of training modules provided inside. So whether you want to focus on one of the three areas above, some combination of the three, or something else entirely, Musical U can support you in reaching your bass potential.

Let’s look at how Musical U can help with each of these three main areas.

Play Basslines By Ear

When you first start learning bass, each new bassline is a completely new line to learn. You have to painstakingly memorise each note’s pitch and duration and gradually practice reproducing them on your bass. Even then you’re often dependent on tab or sheet music to remember your lines.

Over time you get quicker at this but for most bassists the dream is to have a natural ability to simply play what they hear (or imagine) by ear on the bass.

The good news is that playing basslines by ear is a learnable skill.

At Musical U we provide a full suite of training modules for learning to recognise the notes of a chord progression by ear, including the bassline. We use a particular approach which lets you rapidly learn to play a large number of songs by ear, by focusing on the most common chord progressions and their corresponding basslines.

You can follow our “Chords By Ear” Roadmap which features a module specifically about playing the basslines which match the chords you hear.

MU-Topic-roadmaps-trim→ Learn more by previewing our Roadmap for playing chords by ear

Improvise Solos

Playing solos is a particular focus for jazz bassists who need to swing and groove over standards when (eventually) the band gives them their moment to shine. Improvising funky and compelling basslines is a great skill for any bass player to learn though, because it frees up your fingers and gives you confidence in your connection to the instrument.

At Musical U we take the mindset that improvising is best thought of as “playing by ear what you hear in your head”. So we teach our members the ear skills they need to imagine new music vividly in their mind and then bring it out on their instrument.

We have some advanced improvisation modules currently in development, but for now we recommend our “Melodies By Ear” Roadmap to help with bass improvising:

MU-Topic-roadmaps-trim→ Learn more by previewing our Roadmap for playing melodies by ear

Rhythm Mastery

Many bass players feel slightly guilty when it comes to rhythm. You know you’re part of the “rhythm section” and the band is relying on you and the drummer for that steady pulse – but if you don’t already have a perfect sense of rhythm naturally, you can end up feeling a bit embarrassed and unsure how to improve it. Most players end up focusing on the intricacies of technique and hoping that by practicing fingerwork they’ll automatically get tighter rhythm.

In fact the rhythm skills are mostly in your head, not your fingers. Rhythmic mastery involves a number of factors, including:

  • Understanding the beat and tempo
  • Having rhythmic precision in your mind and with your fingers
  • Being able to read or write rhythm notation
  • Creativity in using and adapting rhythm to play in different styles
  • Knowing instinctively how to play with rhythms to create a great groove

We have training modules inside Musical U which help with all of these aspects of getting great rhythm, and they’re encapsulated by our “Get Rhythm” Roadmap:

MU-Topic-roadmaps-trim→ Learn more by previewing our Roadmap for Rhythm

Something else?

Is there a different aspect of bass playing you want to improve on?

The beauty of our flexible training system is that you don’t need to neatly fit one of the categories above to benefit from Musical U. We can help guide and support you whatever your particular bass mission might be.

Please note that we don’t teach the specifics of instrument technique inside Musical U – we recommend a site like JamPlay or NoTreble for that.

But if what you’re looking for is the “inner skills” of music – to free you up on the fretboard and help you feel like you have an easy, natural, reliable instinct for playing bass – then the chances are we’ve got what you need and we would love to have you join us at Musical U.

Join Musical U

As a member of Musical U you get immediate access to all Roadmaps and Training Modules, along with a friendly supportive community and expert help whenever you need it.

Join today!

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Member Story: Bassist Jeff

Jeff had been playing bass for years and loves its low-end sound and the role it plays in the rhythm section. But he was getting tired of having to always fish around to find the right notes and overthink it when he played. He decided to join Musical U and see if training his ears might be the key to making playing effortless.

He’d tried a few ear training solutions before but found his progress quickly stalled. Since joining Musical U Jeff has been working on recognising intervals to help him play basslines by ear.

Bass Jeff quote 1

He has now completed our core Interval Recognition modules and recently posted that “I feel my sense of interval recognition has definitely strengthened”.

Bass Jeff quote 3

Jeff says that having a training system which tracks his achievements, along with keeping a Progress Journal, have helped him to stay focused and keep on progressing towards his goal of understanding the key and its notes whenever he plays.

Bass Jeff quote 2

Bass Jeff quote 4

Bass Instrument Pack

Bass Instrument PackThe bass Instrument Pack provides video tutorials and practice MP3s to add instrument-specific guidance to the core musicality training provided at Musical U.

→ Learn more about the Bass Instrument Pack

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About Musical U

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Musical U membership provides you with dozens of training modules, tools for goal-setting and planning, and a friendly, supportive community who will help you succeed.

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Ear Training Apps

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