10 Rock Songs For Bass Players

This is part of my Bass Guitar Syllabus post where I recommend songs in different genres to listen to (and then ultimately try and figure out by ear). Listening to good music is a form of practice and there is a lifetime of great bass playing to be learnt from these songs!

Make sure to check out the other genres.

Rock bass is about power, aggression, and intent. Tone is incredibly important as is technique

These songs are all easy to play and many have one main section that goes round and round. Start with these simple songs and use them to strengthen your ear whilst aiming to play from beginning to end without stopping.

1.Run Like Hell

Groove along on one note for ages! Excellent for VERY basic ear training as nothing much changes.


2. Livin' On A Prayer

Wedding gold. If you have aspirations to play in a function/society band you'll need to know this. It based around Natural Minor/Minor Pentatonic and listen out for the key change and time signature moment at the end!


3. All The Small Things

Like pop music, rock bass lines like root notes. 

4. Sunshine Of Your Love

The currency of rock music is the riff - usually minor pentatonic. Here's a classic.

5. Come As You Are

Simple grunge riff with attidtude.

6. Enter Sandman

Metal tends to be angry and angry = minor key. Listen to the bright stainless steel tone (played with a plectrum: a classic rock move).

7. Sweet Home Alabama

Rock doesn't have to be angry; this song is joyous. It's also three chords all the way through (mostly) with a twiddly riff. 

8. Highway to Hell

The bass really anchors the ship on this one, proving that root notes with quarters rule.


9. Born To Be Wild

Melodic, tasteful bass playing over a simple chord progression.


10. King For a Day

Creative and consistent with a hammer-on and vibrato for interest, this bass line really catches the ear.

To learn more about what to learn and why head to Bass Guitar Syllabus

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