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.
Don't turn your nose up at pop music. Some of the most memorable and groovy bass lines ever have been crafted in the name of entertaining the masses! These ten songs are easy to play so give them a listen and then try to figure out sections by ear.
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.Can You Feel It
Root down to a fifth: it doesn't get much easier than that but what an effective bass line this one is.
2. Price Tag
Okay, maybe not a classic but Price Tag is a good one to get your ear round a I iii vi VI chord progression. It's in the key of F so thats F/Am/Dm/Bb. Easy to play and a good one to jam to whilst making up fills and embellishing your lines.
3. The Joker
The Joker is a stone cold classic. Another one in F so get your F Major scale and use it piece the line together.
4. Feel Good Inc.
Any song with just one bass line going through the whole song is a good one to tackle. This one is based around a Natural Minor scale.
5. Dance The Night Away
Two triads. The whole way through (more or less!).
6. I Want To Hold Your Hand
Simple chord progressions plus a visit to the relative minor.
7. My Girl
Another good example of root to five. Also, check out the beautiful P bass tone.
8. Under Pressure
Me going on about root to to five movement is going to get annoying. And yet here it is again. This line is played with a plectrum but use your fingers if you want.
9. With Or Without You
Beautifully simple 1/8th note pop playing based around a very simple simple I V vi IV chord progression.
10. Every Breath You Take
One of my favourite ever songs with some steady 1/8th note root note action. Notice how effective root notes are! Played the way Sting plays them (short and punchy) they're perfect.
To learn more about what to learn and why head to Bass Guitar Syllabus.