A bass guitar is a guitar which usually has four strings that are thicker than those in a normal rhythm guitar, and is meant to produce a bass sound. People who are experts in playing the bass guitar are known as 'bassists'. This instrument is used to create a deep bass sound which can't be created by a rhythm guitar. Such sound is very important in giving the music a backing, which prevents the music or song from playing dry and becoming empty. There are some people who prefer to play the bass guitar more than the rhythm guitar or any other musical instrument. Learning this instrument is a simple task for people who have the basic understanding of musical notes. Guitars with five, six, and eight strings are also available in the market, but they are exclusively used by professional musicians.
A bass guitar is normally played using the pointer finger and middle finger of the strumming hand. However, several techniques of how it can be played have been developed over a period of time. It can also be played using a plectrum, similar to a six-string rhythm guitar. There are various advanced techniques of playing the bass guitar such as slapping, picking, and tapping. These techniques are to be used only when you get well settled in playing the basics. A beginner needs to be mindful of the fretting hand, as the gap between individual strings is more, unlike in a rhythm guitar.
While playing a bass guitar, chords do not have to be played. You just need to play a single string at a time, along with a single notation on the fretboard. However, professionals who have been playing it for years are certainly able to play chords. It is better if the learner has big and fat fingers, as it would enable him to press the thick strings onto the fretboard more effectively. The fingers also have to be more flexible to change notations as fast as possible.
Learning to play the bass guitar is very easy if you are well acquainted with notations on a rhythm guitar. The four open strings have the same notations as the last four open strings of an acoustic or electric rhythm guitar. The first string has the 'G' sound, the second one has the 'D' sound, the third has the 'A' sound, and the fourth has the low 'E' sound. The notations on a bass guitar have to be played individually. If an 'E' chord is being played on a rhythm guitar, only the last string has to be openly played on the bass. If the chord changes to 'G', you just need to place a finger of the fretting hand on the third fret of the last string. For creating a 'G' sound, you can also play the first string openly which would also have the same sound.
To become a master in playing the bass guitar, one certainly needs to practice a lot on the scales, along with listening to music which has audible bass guitar pieces.