As guitarists begin to embark on their musical journey, they often start to turn their attention to other instruments such as banjo, mandolin, ukulele, bass guitar, piano, or even blues harp and harmonica.
There is a natural progression that takes place. When you learn how to play one instrument, it opens up the possibilities to understanding and even playing other instruments.
There are also those who simply want to figure out what instrument is easiest to play to chart a course for their development, and while that may seem like an important consideration upfront, the simple answer is that – in the long run – no instrument is easier than any other.
It’s A Choice
Bass guitar can be about as simple or complicated as you want it to be. Many bass players play very plainly, but that isn’t necessarily because they aren’t capable of more. They understand their role within a band or a particular piece of music, and it’s always more important to play to a song than it is to play at a song.
You can also play guitar very simply and have it be effective. Just look at Kurt Cobain, Johnny Ramone, or even Moby. The purpose that a guitar serves in a song is often varied and can be as diverse as the guitarist who is playing the instrument.
The main differences between guitar and bass guitar are frequency range, size, and the number of strings it comes equipped with. However, it is possible to obtain basses that have more than four strings, and it is also possible to find a guitar with more than six strings.
One of the most important considerations you need to address if you are thinking about learning bass guitar is that some bassists find it a little more challenging to practice alone than guitarists do. If you already have jam mates, however, you may be in a good position to start learning the bass.
Bass guitar fits in at a different frequency range than a guitar does. Though it can be used as a lead instrument, for the most part, it isn’t. A drummer and bass player often work together as a rhythm section unit to create a beat and a rhythmic structure for the rest of the band to follow. In other words, ideally, you should have a drummer to jam with.
Guitarists have a little more leeway. They can play and practice riffs, scales, arpeggios, chords, melody lines, and even solos without much accompaniment. Partly, this has to do with frequency range (playing chords on bass guitar often sounds muddy), but it also has to do with the ability to jam along with any piece of music that isn’t too busy.
Learning to play an instrument takes time and effort no matter how you cut it. Every instrument in a modern band plays an important and distinct role; especially bass, guitar, and drums. Though bass may be easier in some ways, if you want to pursue virtuosity and mastery of an instrument, every instrument presents its own challenges, and none of them are quantifiably easier than the other.