The bass guitar is one of the most prominent instruments in a band, pretty much every person in the crowd feels its effects. It might share a few familiar features with a regular guitar but learning to play it well is a different kettle of fish altogether.
Some people think that by way of having fewer strings to play it must be easier to learn but this is not the case.
The bass bridges the melody and rhythm of a song and is a crucial component in providing the foundations. It has an important part to play and some of the techniques for different playings styles can be tricky to master.
Your timing needs to be impeccable and although you have no chords to learn you should get to know your notes and scales inside out. So, the theoretical side of things still plays an important part.
When it comes to learning bass you have 2 main routes. One being traditional lessons with a tutor in person and the other seeking online bass lessons.
With the way of the world in recent times, learning bass online is becoming all the more popular. Learning to play bass is a sonic and visual process. Technology has caught up to a point where a well-presented video tutorial from a talented instructor does just as good a job as the real thing.
However, with so many options available online to choose from the hardest part of your learning journey is often the first step.
Making a choice between competitive subscription-based platforms or the plethora of YouTube channel bass gurus it’s tough terrain to navigate. We’ve chosen 8 of the best online bass lessons to review that you might want to consider.
Disclosure: We are a professional review website that may receive compensation for the products we review. All recommendations are genuine and/or verified by myself!
Best Online Bass Lessons In 2021
- JamPlay – Best overall
- ArtistWorks – Best for feedback and progression
- Study Bass – Best free bass lessons
Running since 2006, JamPlay is one of the most notorious online platforms for learning guitar and bass. It is very well-organized, the bass lessons are searchable by skill level, styles, songs, and artists.
The levels of skill are dubbed ‘phases’ on the JamPlay site. With beginners logically starting at phase 1 and progressing. In the phase 1 area, you will find around 200 lessons from 10 different skilled instructors.
It is fair to say that some of them teach the same topics or concepts. But that means you get different perspectives and what those instructors bring uniquely to the playing style.
Phase 2 is where the advanced content is stashed. It is divided into skill and genre-based lessons. There are 150 genre-based lessons delivered by 8 different instructors covering blues bass, metal bass, pop and rock, Celtic concepts, jazz bass, walking bass lines, and funk bass.
The skill classes total almost 350 and teach a range of techniques via 17 skilled contributors. You can learn a wealth of different concepts such as Playing in the Pocket, or how to learn songs by ear. There are also practical skills like Bass Modification and Maintenance as well as physical playing skills like Modes, Scale, and Slap Bass.
The Phase 3 area contains around 50 song-based lessons where the piece is broken down into chunks and played at slower tempos until you are ready for original speed.
After the 3 phases, you also have the artist series lessons to browse through where you can learn with a focus on the playing styles of well-known bassists.
The lesson content totals around 4,000 videos all of which are filmed in a professional studio. The sound and picture quality is sublime.
The companies proprietary, interactive video player gives users a range of controls over the footage to help with learning trickier concepts. Changing the speed doesn’t affect the pitch. You can loop difficult sections and your videos are bookmarked to help you see your progress.
- Well organzed content
- Mountain of videos
- Plenty for all levels of playing
- Multiple tutors
- Some content is repetitive
It provides great value for money, caters to all playing abilities, and the video quality and player controls are superb.
ArtistWorks is another premium subscription option that offers worldwide personalized online bass guitar lessons. It is presented in a user-friendly fashion and the content is updated on a regular basis.
The students have access to a wide range of learning resources. This provides a good balance of theoretical and practical content. The courses are well-structured and categorized by duration. You can choose between a three-month, six months or one-year course.
Nathan East is the lead instructor, a highly skilled and accomplished bassist who has played alongside Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, and many more.
You will learn all your fundamentals as a beginner. The introductory lesson starts from zero, teaching you how to tune and you will pick up all the chords, rhythm, note lengths, and arpeggio exercises along the way.
Although there is a lot of content tailored towards beginners, there are plenty of classes for all levels.
There are also scheduled online music workshops to get involved with in addition to the core content. They have a monthly AW live broadcast and many more VIP privileges if you bump your account to a premium subscription.
One of the best things about ArtistWorks is you can upload your recorded practice sessions and send them to a bass instructor for honest feedback. This way you can get corrections and suggestions for what you need to work on to progress.
You also get feedback from the online community forum which is also a good source of useful information.
- Variety of content covered
- Great lead instructor
- Quality footage
- Huge community
- Personal feedback available
- Pricier than most
You can’t progress without having some sort of feedback to gauge your level and help problem solve. A premium subscription to ArtistWorks might be on the expensive side but it is worth every penny.
TrueFire is one of the oldest running platforms out there. If you want private online bass lessons it is an ideal choice. Having the option of a personal tutor in addition to the courses available means that lectures are customized to the individual. All playing levels are catered to.
There is a 25% discount for new students purchasing their first lesson and you can focus on specific areas of teaching during the course.
The platform itself is chock full of live video streams and discussion threads as well as the pre-recorded course content. The lessons are taught by a variety of instructors, including Stu Hamm.
The lessons are presented in bite-sized chunks which make the information easy to process.
There are seven detailed lesson groups, denoting levels of ability for you to work through. The lessons are broken down into manageable chunks and the teachers are pretty direct. The production quality is on par with all the top competitors although the player isn’t as fancy.
There is a lot of scope and the advanced lessons get really challenging which is something some sites neglect by dubbing their videos advanced when they are probably good intermediate at best.
The production value is simple and straight to the point. This, coupled with the direct teaching styles of the instructors, makes TrueFire a good option for learning bass guitar.
TrueFire offers an “All Access” subscription that gives users access to a huge library of learning materials for a variety of instruments too. There are 1,200 audio lessons, new courses every week, and a 20% overall discount for private lessons and additional premium content.
- Private tutors available
- Feedback provided
- Lots of levels broken down
- Customized content
- Some content costs extra
It is one of the oldest and best services around, you can get private coaching and learn more than one instrument if you wish.
Although a relatively new resource for guitar lessons when compared to some we have listed, Fender Play has branched out into bass lessons and is competing heavily.
With a recognizable brand behind the app and web platform, it has gained popularity very quickly. There is a good range of skilled instructors contributing to the content which always helps.
There are hundreds of videos available and one of the best things is that it is very casual. The content is bite-size, allowing a quick progression and a sense of accomplishment, although it is not always super-linear if we are being picky. Most video lessons are relatively short and to the point. Great if you are short on free time.
The layout of the lessons are logical, you are taught a skill and then put it straight into practice with a song which is awesome.
There are 5 levels of capability to work your way through, you are asked about your previous experience and goals upon sign-up to direct you to where you should be and your progress is tracked.
There are informative instructional videos, riff-based videos, practice exercises, and a song library. Most of the content is inspired by specific bassists emulating their playing style and techniques. It covers a wide set of genres; James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Maroon 5, and Bob Marley are some of the artist styles covered.
Reading and counting rhythm is covered, there are backing tracks to help teach you how to jam with a drummer. Plenty of techniques are delved into along the way including slap-bass, slides, walking bass, moveable patterns, and arpeggios.
The videos are shot at high-quality and show 2 angles at all times to help with your handiwork.
The platform is very user-friendly and there are fun little contests that encourage you to you get involved. They offer a free trial and often have discounts available so it can also work out cheaper than some of the top competitors if you keep an eye out.
- Hundreds of videos
- Bitesize content
- Range of contributors
- Skills are always practically applied afterward
- Not as thorough as some of the others
If you have a short attention span or your free time comes in dribs and drabs then you will probably appreciate the short and to-the-point style of lesson delivery Fender Play provides.
If you are keen to learn bass but don’t have room in your budget for a monthly subscription, then StudyBass is the place to be.
It is a free-to-use interactive site, built by Andrew Pouska, a knowledgeable bass teacher who has amassed some great resources over the years and stored them conveniently for you.
There are fewer lessons, but they are more in-depth. They are logically laid out for a linear progression starting from complete newbie and upwards. You are given plenty of exercises to practice that complement the lessons and for a one-man set-up, it is pretty impressive.
You get a lot of Andrews’s personal insight and suggestions when it comes to tips and the fretboard diagrams and tuners on-site are invaluable.
Some users find the bass lessons difficult to find, granted it isn’t as well-designed as some of the top apps being pushed on the market but they are there. The video quality is good and the theory available is top-notch and thorough.
He covers all sorts of informative topics like how to use a truss rod for example. It is ideal for learning the technical aspects of playing bass guitar. The lessons on scales and progressions are particularly great. There is also an active blog and regular equipment review posts.
- Great theory explanations
- Wide range of topics covered
- Regularly updated
- Free to use
- Individual teacher
- A little disorganized
Although finding the lessons and navigating the resources can seem trickier, there is plenty there to get you started on learning to play the bass with a decent amount of theory under your belt by the end too. The fact that they are completely free online bass lessons makes it invaluable.
Scott’s Bass Lessons is another comprehensive platform for learning bass. It has a world-renowned course library that comprises hundreds of hours of footage.
Users can work through things very flexibly, either taking a guided course or picking their own starting point. There are 9 levels to complete, three for beginners, 3 intermediate, and 3 advanced in varying degrees. Everything is appropriately organized and the progress is steady.
The footage is professional and high-res, the delivery style varies but they are a solid bunch of instructors who all teach in a very patient and easy to digest style.
Some of the content has a few crossovers, for example, Rich Brown’s ‘Mastering the Modes’ and Scott’s ‘Harmonic Layering’ lessons relay a lot of similar stuff, but again you get the benefit of learning it from 2 different perspectives. A lot of the learning is performance-based which is nice, if you get a theory lesson it is practically presented.
There is a wealth of content to surf with lots of topics, some of it very specific, for example, Adam Neely’s swung quintuplets lesson.
Your progress is tracked if you pick a player path. You can set realistic goals and use them as an accountability tool. Users are encouraged with a badge system, earning one for each level completed.
Every week there are also live-stream seminars with world-class educators and monthly discussions. There are exclusive interviews to check out and regular campus challenges aimed via the active community. It is a socially-led learning platform and that means you can get 1-2-1 direct feedback and suggestions and learn from your fellow students too.
There are also plenty of stored resources for each course. You get TABs notation and backing tracks. The courses are priced separately averaging around the $85 mark.
- Paying abilities are divided up so courses are more specific
- Tonnes of world-class educators
- Very community-driven
- Individual course pricing can work out pricy
It is a great site, the live seminars are top-notch and there are tonnes of topics covered but it will set you back in terms of price-tag.
BassBuzz is a website with plenty of free content but ultimately for more lesson options, you will need to pay. The site is well structured even new visitors can find what they need to.
There are 5 free courses beginner bass basics, bass lessons, power-chord jam, simple blues groove, and right-hand technique. On top of that, the site offers a ‘beginner to badass’ course that takes you from newbie to advanced intermediate.
The 30-hour course is thorough and covers a variety of information. From how to hold a bass guitar to techniques such as slapping, popping, tapping, and chords. You can take this as a 1-month hardcore plan, a 3-month, or 6-month plan.
The courses are taught step-by-step with each lesson following on and building from the previous one. You learn real songs and how to read tablature as you go. They have a play-along method with jam tracks. The theory is taught in a practical style and is presented without being boring or complex.
There is an emphasis on rhythm training, you will practice and analyze rhythm which has great real-world application and is a commendable skill to focus on. Rock, pop, blues, soul, funk, metal, disco, gospel, jazz, prog, and country are all covered as playing styles/genres and you can purchase song packs to play along with.
After finishing the ‘beginner to badass’ course there are masterclasses with advanced-level content. Josh presents many tips and hints throughout and there are lots of featured articles written covering numerous related topics. The forum is pretty active and provides extra resources, feedback, and discussion.
- Some free content
- Practical theory lessons
- Lots of genres and skills looked at
- Rhythm training
- Pay by the course set-up
It can take you from zero to hero in a linear fashion, in as little as 3 months if you work hard. The theory is in-depth but bitesize and the masterclasses are awesome.
Udemy is an online learning platform that covers a wide range of skills. Online bass guitar lessons are one of them. There is plenty to cover for bassists of all playing levels.
You can browse through around 50 different courses, they all have their own prices.
There is a wide range of instructors with individual lesson plans. You can find something as basic as tuning your guitar and how to hold it or something strictly theoretical based to have you study.
Some courses are better structured than others, with it being an open platform. But if you find the right instructor, most offer beginner lessons that allow you to advance. You will just have to do a little profile digging to find the right instructor for you. Thankfully the website is uncluttered and easy to find your way around.
The tutors are graded with a 5-star system so you get a good idea of previous and current students’ opinions on the value for money etc. The lessons are also backed by a money-back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied.
For the purpose of our review, we took a look at the Professional Bass Masterclass, which covers basic techniques of music theory as well as practical exercises. It guides you on how to navigate your fretboard, covers a range of techniques and how to play, giving you the tools to progress on to improvisation.
- Accessibly priced
- Lots of theory taught
- Good quality lessons
- Range of highly-rated instructors available
- Takes a while to find what is right for you
- Some lessons are less structured
If you are looking for regular private instruction, or a one-off course it is a good option for you.
Final Thoughts On The Best Online Bass Lessons
As always, the choice you make is down to you, but hopefully, our bottom lines will have helped distinguish which option is best for different needs to help you narrow it down.
To get this shortlist we considered everything from course length to content appeal for different users. This included whether it was fit for different levels of playing ability as well as the genres covered.
Most of those we have looked at have free trials, so you can see for yourself how you feel about them!