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10 Best Bass Books for Beginners (2023)

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I love bass guitar books. They’re generally written by established bassists who know what they’re talking about, and are jam-packed with step-by-step knowledge that you’ll be hard-pressed to find for free on the web.

On top of that, you get premium knowledge at a premium price, which is hard to find outside of books. Anyways, you probably want to learn about these books, now.

Let’s take a look at the 10 best bass books for beginners, so you can level up your bass guitar chops and show off your skills!

Best Bass Books Quick Glance

Here’s a quick glance at the best bass books to come.

While this is a list of bass books for beginners, some of these books are better for late-stage beginners, or are genre specific. This will be discussed in-depth.

These bass books are in no particular order. And while some of them are similar, they all offer something to differentiate themselves from the other bass guitar books.

Make sure you do your due diligence whenever you’re buying a bass book, ensuring you’ll get the book that you want.

Music Theory For The Bass Player

by Ariane Cap

I’m a huge bass theory and music theory fanatic, so I had to start off the list with “Music Theory for The Bass Player”.

Understanding music theory for bass will unlock the fretboard, giving you freedom to improvise, play with other musicians, and improve your overall musicianship.

This particular book covers fretboard visualization, scales, modes, intervals, harmony, and rhythm.

It uses fretboard diagrams and interactive features such as quizzes to suck you in and make learning bass guitar theory a blast.

So check it out on Amazon and level up your music theory chops today!

Hal Leonard Bass Tab Method

by Eric W. Wills

This was my first bass book! It’s a bass tab method that’s perfect for absolute newcomers to bass. And naturally, it comes from the mighty publisher Hal Leonard.

This is a list of best bass books for beginners, and I believe this book fits that bill more than any other on this list.

It starts with bass guitar basics, moves onto playing bass guitar riffs string-by-string, then how to play with a pick, moving into the musical alphabet, and ends by teaching essential bass techniques such as slides, hammer-ons, and pull-offs.

Along the way, you’ll learn how to read bass tabs, rhythm, and a bunch of awesome bass guitar riffs for beginners.

This is the best bass guitar book for absolute beginners, and will have you playing fun riffs like a pro before you know it.

Hal Leonard Bass Method: Complete Edition

by Ed Friedland

Ed Friedland is a fantastic bass educator, and you could learn almost everything you need to know about bass by reading his library of books exclusively.

This is a compilation of 3 bass guitar books for beginners, and takes you from being a complete beginner to being ready to go out and tour with a band.

Seriously, Ed and the Hal Leonard team cover pretty much everything you need to know about bass guitar in this compilation, including essential bass techniques, reading music and tabs, different bass styles, popular bass lines throughout history, and more fundamentals to ensure you’ll evolve into a world-class bassist.

This book can be a little daunting, but I suggest it if you’re serious about learning the ins and outs of bass guitar or looking to leap from hobby bassist to gigging bassist.

Here’s a YouTube video with the audio examples, which gives you an idea of what you’ll be learning in the book.

Bass Fretboard Basics

by Paul Farnen

If you’re looking for the best bass books for learning the fretboard, then “Bass Fretboard Basics” is the best place to start.

Paul Farnen takes you from A-Z in this bass guitar book, covering:

  • Fretboard memorization
  • Essential bass fingerings
  • Interval structure
  • Modal theory
  • How to apply and memorize keys on bass
  • And more!

This is a great book if you’re looking to break out of typical bass shapes and boxes, and move into uncharted territory on your bass fretboard.

It may not be the best book to start with as a beginner, but sometimes starting with difficult concepts from the beginning can put you ahead of the game, and quickly turn you into the bassist you want to be!

Bass Guitar for Dummies

by Patrick Pfeiffer

Bass Guitar for Dummies is a compendium of bass theory, bass technique, and bass concepts.

While the book is arguably catered to beginner electric bassists, it’s a must-have for any bassist looking to diversify their bass repertoire.

The book is jam-packed with information for bass players of all levels, all styles, and dives deep into music theory, genres, and techniques for bass guitar.

With that being said, it’s probably the most intimidating book on the list. And even though it’s one of the best bass books, it may be a little too much for the absolute beginner.

The Evolving Bassist

by Rufus Reid

This is an incredible approach to jazz guitar bass playing, and while it caters to upright/ double bass players, it’s still relevant for the aspiring electric jazz bassist as well.

You’ll dive deep into the history of bass with The Evolving Bassist, and you’ll learn relevant, triad and true bass exercises, walking bass lines, and improvisation tactics.

And while the book is catered to beginner jazz bassists, its still one of the best bass books to have on any bass guitarists shelf.

You may want a beginner’s grasp on theory and technique before you read this book, or you’ll want a bass teacher to assist you.

Also, if you don’t know Rufus Reid, he’s a legend in the Double Bass World.

Lastly, even if you’re not a jazz fan, you’ll be able to take away important musical concepts, bass approaches, and exercises that will make you a better, more complete bassist.

First 50 Songs You Should Learn On Bass

by Hal Leonard Corp.

As a musician and bassist songs will be a better teacher than stand-alone music theory, because songs show you and me how we can approach composition and playing with other musicians.

Songs and bass lines are like vocabulary words for your instrument, and expanding your bass guitar song vocabulary will benefit you in every aspect of your playing.

This is definitely one of the best bass books for beginners, and is a great motivator for newcomers that want to dive straight into playing bass without too much fuss over technique and theory.

So, if you’re ready to learn 50 awesome and popular songs for bass, then check this book out today.

Bass Grooves

by Ed Friedland

Another Ed Friedland book! Seriously, this guy rocks.

The full name of this book is “Bass Grooves: Develop Your Groove & Play Like the Pros in Any Style”, and this title basically sums up the book.

Bass Grooves helps you internalize rhythm, and teaches you to think like a drummer, which improves you’re overall approach to bass rhythm and grooves.

It dives into all sorts of genres including R&B, funk, and contemporary genres, and gives you the keys to composing and improvising bass lines that stand out.

If you’re ready to abandon stale bass lines and bass grooves, and play expressive bass lines with exceptional rhythm, then get this book ASAP!

Heavy Metal Bass Method

by Stephan Richter

Heavy metal bass is a heavy beast to tame, but Stephan Richter has you covered.

Being a huge heavy metal fan, I had to have this book in my bass library, and it’s a must-have for any other aspiring metal bassist as well!

This is a tab-based book full of inspiring bass riffs and licks in the styles of famous metal bassists.

Throughout the book you’ll learn essential bass techniques for metal such as arpeggios, metal grooves, and shredding bass guitar with a pick.

Definitely check out the Heavy Metal Bass Method if you’re ready to make the jump from a basic rock bassist to a heavy metal king.

Blues Bass (Bass Builders)

by Jon Liebman

You can’t have a good list of bass books for beginners without a blues bass book!

You’ll need to have built up your basic foundation bass techniques and theory before you get this book.

Once you have that foundation down, you can dive into this blues bass guitar book teaching 12 Bar blues navigation, blues scales for bass, essential blues bass lines, and so much more!

Definitely pick up a copy of this book today if you want to level up your blues bass chops!

Best Bass Books for Beginners Conclusion

There you have it! These are my best bass books for beginners.

Now it’s time for you to figure out which bass book(s) are best for you. Think about your long-term bass goals, and whether or not the book(s) you buy will help you in achieving those goals.

For example, the Hal Leonard Bass Method will help you achieve a complete understanding of bass guitar as a whole, wrapping up rhythm, harmony, and style into one awesome book for beginners.

On the flip side, you may want something genre specific, such as the Heavy Metal Bass Method or Blues Bass (Bass Builders). I highly recommend genre specific books if you’re looking to join or start a band in that particular genre. Aside from that, practicing and playing the bass guitar is a lot more exciting if you’re playing music or a genre you love, especially as you’re just beginning to learn bass.

As for price, these bass guitar books are affordable and have incredible value-to-price ratios. And remember, investing in a bass book is an investment in yourself, and that’s the best type of investment!

Consider the other features that may come alongside these books such as audio examples, video examples, tablature or notation, and online resources. Hal Leonard books in particular tend to come with a lot of these features.

Lastly, as a new bass guitarist you’ll be spending money on bass equipment, and you may not be ready for bass lessons yet, so buying one of the best bass books for beginners is a logical, low-cost, low-effort purchase.

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