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Paul McCartney, Sting, Gene Simmons, and Roger Waters are some of the world’s highest-earning bassists. The word ‘highest earning’ sounds quite tempting, right??? But before trying to fit in their shoes, you need to master the ins and outs of the bass guitar first. But that’s not all! You’ll also need an amplifier to amplify the splendid notes out from your guitar. However, you will need other accessories at some point of time which could prove to be a time saver.
12 Bass Guitar Accessories Essential for Beginners
Here are some of the few essential bass guitar accessories that every guitarist should at least maintain in their inventory, which could prove very helpful in enhancing the playing experience.
Bass Guitar Amplifier
To learn how to play bass from an instructor or on your own, the first thing you’ll need is a bass guitar. Not just that, You’ll also need an amp if you want to practice or play in front of an audience. So, this is one of the most essential bass guitar accessories.
Your amplifier will affect the sound profile of your bass. You don’t need to spend a hell lot of money on your first amplifier. An amp that costs around £300 will do the job. It will stop you from building up the bad habits, to always rely on the autotuning of the amp because it won’t hide your mistakes with a great sound and it is equipped with many built-in effects like distortion and echo and so much more. It’s harder to sound good in a bass guitar with a cheaper amp, and it’ll waste your precious time and efforts.
An amplifier between the rating of 15 and 40W should be enough for practising in your home. You can grab a better one later on.
If you just want to hang out alone with your bass, you can get headphones like Beyer Dynamic and Audio-Technica and many more with their promising quality over prices. And then get headphone amps which are of the size of a box of swiss chocolates. You can plug in your bass directly into it and then plug the headphones.
Believe it or not, the output that you’re going to feel will blow your mind and will ultimately drive your greed for playing more and more thus amplifying your practice sessions. It is a smart choice if you’re going to be playing the same basslines repeatedly, which is going to improve your bass playing skills ultimately!!!
This is another accessory of the not very long list of the bass guitar accessories. You don’t practically need one to get started as you also can play the bass with your fingers which in fact is preferred by many bass guitarists.
You can get a few different plectrums of different thickness to test which suits your playing. However, a plectrum (or pick) could be the way to change your playing style. It doesn’t matter if you use a pick as it only eases the burden of hitting the strings by bare fingers which with excessive usage could also result in swollen fingers as bass strings aren’t very soft to play.
Considering the instrument when it comes to the bass as bass guitar strings being thicker as compared to acoustic and electric guitar, I recommend using a thicker pick which would ease up your playing. However, regular picks which suit your style will be excellent.
Generally, plastic plectrums are available in the market, but you can get ones made of wood, horn, metal, or stone depending upon your preference. However, going with picks made up of non-plastic could prove lethal to your wallet.
As a bassist, you’ll need to consider and analyse the thickness of your plectrum. I recommended you earlier to choose a thick plectrum as the strings of a bass guitar are thicker than strings of acoustic or electric guitar which are made up of nylon or steel strings. You would probably want something around 0.85mm (for heavy gauge strings). Some bassists play with 3mm picks (extra-heavy gauge strings), while others prefer a .5mm pick like an acoustic or electric guitarist.
You should also consider, analysing the tip of the plectrum, as it is the point of contact with the strings. In case of a pointy tip, you’ll get a brighter but more suppressed sound. If the tip is round, it’s easier to play because the strings of the bass guitar are thick. So consider buying thicker and round-edged plectrums. However, the usage of plectrums is entirely optional because the bass guitar sounds and feel great at playing with bare fingers.
If you don’t want to lose your plectrums, consider getting a holder for your bass which can directly be attached to the head of the guitar and there you can keep all the plectrums. What is the purpose of all these so visibly un-necessary things? Well, there is nothing, but it makes your guitar look well organised.
The strings of a bass guitar are tuned in the same way as the first four strings on any guitar: E, A, D, G. There is a more natural way of remembering the string names by just remembering this simple phrase “(E)at (A)ll (D)ay (G)row (B)ig (E)veryday. Make sure your bass guitar is tuned before you play in front of anyone.
You’ll need to regularly check if your bass guitar is tuned to perfection, especially if you take your bass to music lessons, rehearsals, or concerts because you probably don’t want to hit an untuned note. Even humidity or temperature changes can hamper the tuning of your guitar. If your bass is out even by a quartertone, it’ll sound terrible, and you won’t be able to play in perfect harmony with the other musicians in a band.
It is not the essential one but could be an option if you don’t want to give extra hours on learning to do the same with your ears. No guitarist in the world would ever want to have a haphazard profile. If you are playing in public, you can’t even imagine the horrible circumstance of being out of tune and ruining your impression.
There are so many free apps you can download to help tune your guitar, and I would recommend an app called ‘GuitarTuna‘, available in play store and app store in Android and iOS devices respectively. But you need to be in a somewhat quieter place to tune efficiently. But the best tuners are the clip tuners, which you can directly plug onto the neck of the guitar.
And to achieve the utmost precision; You can use an ordinary clip-on guitar tuner and tune your bass guitar up to four strings, i.e. Eb A D G. although there are many types of guitar tuners like chromatic, pedals, or clip-on. As a beginner, using a guitar tuner works completely fine. Still, I wouldn’t recommend it as you can cut the cost and hassle of always carrying the tuner just by learning to tune the guitar by your ears.
Guitar tuners can also be used for basses although if you want a tuner pedal, you could get one for less than £50. If you wish to use a chromatic tuner, it can tune guitars and basses and also detect the maximum tension at which strings, break. You can grab one for around £60. A chromatic tuner is more versatile, but it’s quite sophisticated to use.
To play bass since it’s an electric one, You need to connect the guitar to an amp with a cable. I would put it in the list of the most essential bass guitar accessories to play your bass efficiently. There are both straight and coiled cables available. A mono cable doesn’t differentiate between sound coming from the left or right channels. A stereo cable can distinguish. While this one is useful for headphones, your bass only outputs in mono.
You’ll need to think about your budget and various other aspects of the cable:
- Coated cables are less susceptible to interference.
- Coiled cables take up less space.
- Golden cables transmit extreme frequencies better due to low resistance and high impedance. These are an essential investment for those wanting to record.
- A length of 4 meters is usually enough for playing at home or rehearsing.
If you’re getting started, you can spend around £10-£20 on a decent cable. An excellent quality cable can cost about £50. You can read about 6 best guitar cables you can buy.
Beginner or experienced; every bassist out there needs proper bass guitar accessories that accompany them along their musical journey and additionally makes life so much convenient and when they’re practising and playing their guitar, just like it’s a piece of cake.
Now here’s a list of some of the accessories that will not just put up an extra load on your wallet but also fulfil their jobs:
A Guitar Stand
It is another essential guitar accessory you will definitely need. It sounds like an unnecessary expense as you think you can keep your guitar anywhere in your room. Still, in my experience, guitar stand must be the top priority in the list of the bass guitar accessories because it determines the good health of your guitar.
I will tell you why. It will keep falling again and again without a stand. Looking at your precious guitar falling and getting thrown around will break any guitar lover’s heart. Also, due to the guitar’s weight, there could be the possibility of another issue of bending of the fretboard. Moreover, the worst-case scenario could be the breaking of the fretboard. Hence, a guitar stand is an essential accessory for every guitarist, and I will recommend our readers the same!
It is again not an essential accessory unless you are not performing on the stage. It is like a pin that goes into the strap of the guitar. When putting it on your shoulder, it holds the guitar strap right in its place. If you think this is a trivial thing, then you also have an option to use hairpins, which can give you the same feeling without losing its purpose of holding the strap on your shoulders. It looks embarrassing, being honest in the first place, and having strap locks will save you a lot of embarrassment.
A music stand is a place where you put your music sheets. If you think that using a bed or desk to keep the music sheet will do the job, then it’s your misunderstanding which could even lead to serious health issues. As using a bed or desk will lead you to excessively bend your neck, which could give you severe neck pain.
However, keeping the music sheets on the couch could leave you twisting your back, which could end up in a major back problem. Getting equipped with a music stand solves all sort of issues, and all that you’ll have is your music right in front of you. Because stands are perfectly inclined at an optimum angle to relieve your neck and ensure the readability and it also acts as a ‘home’ for your music scores, making sure you won’t lose it.
String winders are one of the essential bass guitar accessories which will save both your time and efforts. Let me first explain you the tragedy of not using a winder. When you’re replacing a string, you want to make sure that you give the strings a proper one or two winds around the tuning peg, and then you start to wind the strings by rotating the tuning peg.
To have a perfect wind, you need to keep pulling strings from the other side, and the worst-case scenario could be, the strings coming out or loosening from the other side which makes it a nightmare. To counter this very situation, the string winder comes in very handy as with this you just need to hold the end of the string after putting the string into the hole of the tuning peg and start rotating the string winder which is a child’s play. String winder gets all the job done in a couple of seconds with utmost perfection.
Bass Guitar Strings
Breaking a bass string is harder than an acoustic guitar string, as the bass guitar only has four strings which are thicker compared to its counterpart. But it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have an ample supply. There could exist various zones of playing like whether you’re looking for inclined jazz feel, the country feels or folk playing. You would be surprised to know various tonality that you can explore just by exploring various kinds of bass guitar strings. I would strongly recommend Earnieball’s flat-wound electric bass guitar strings. Other than that, there are many famous strings like Fender, Elixir, Ibanez etcetera.
Guitar cases are quite expensive but give you the utmost protection. But if you don’t have a big budget, then you can go with basic guitar bags but choose one with maximum padding which will at least give your guitar the necessary protection required. But you still need to be very careful in protecting the guitar from any damage.
Now when you have started playing the bass guitar as a member of a band, or you are travelling somewhere for a live performance. You want to secure the utmost priority for the safety of your bass guitar form any damage during your travel. For this guitar, cases come in handy as they are not just an ordinary case. They are tough to form the outside, just like the other suitcases but have thick padding on the inside. It gives your guitar all the safety that it deserves.
Guitar straps don’t affect your tone, but they are one of the many essential bass guitar accessories you need to have. The height, width of your guitar strap or even the material with which it’s made up of will impact your comfort during the playing experience. Now, not just the convenience, but also how your guitar strap looks will also be equally important. Look of your guitar strap is also like a status quo in itself about you as a guitar player. And I believe if you love your guitar, at least it deserves the courtesy of having a finishing touch with one of the most decent guitar straps around, right?
Guitar Cleaning and Care
This doesn’t come under the category of bass guitar accessories but who doesn’t want their guitar remain as good as new with the same original aesthetics and same tonality. For that, the body and fretboard both need to be maintained from time to time. There are many guitar polishes and fretboard lemon oil moisturizers available on Amazon. We also have an article on Guitar cleaning and care that you should read sometime.
I have mentioned all the essential bass guitar accessories you needed to buy for your guitar to the best of my knowledge. If this article proved helpful in your quest for bass guitar accessories please let us know in the comment section below.