Have you ever sat down with your bass in hand and had no idea what to play?
These ten five minute bass practice ideas will give you plenty of inspiration:
- Technical Exercises
- Bass Chords
- 12 Bar Blues
- Pentatonic Jam
- Noodle - just have fun!
- Harmony - Mode/arpeggio/chord
- E drone with chords & melody
- Backing Track play along
- Reading practice
- Slap technique
I highly recommend bookmarking this page and returning to it for inspiration. There is a ton of practice material here.
There's no need to learn it all at once, though; just pick one thing and get to work.
Why 5 minutes of bass practice?
This whole lesson came from a question I got about what to do if you genuinely only have five minutes to play.
For most of us, a fun five minute session will turn into fifteen or thirty minutes. When you're having fun you don't want to stop!
However, five minutes every day builds the practice habit.
Consistency is key...
1. Technical Exercises
- Work on some aspect of your technique with an exercise.
Here's an arpeggio etude:Bass-Guitar-Arpeggio-Etude UPDATE
I wrote a whole book of bass guitar exercises if you need ideas:
2. Bass Chords
Sitting down and working through chord progressions, playing finger style is a fantastic way to get the creative juices flowing.
Don't forget to sign up to my newsletter. You get a free ebook which has loads of diagrams in it including for several very useful bass chords.
Here are some seventh chord shapes that you can use in many styles.
3. 12 Bar Blues
Every bass player needs to know a blues!
4. Pentatonic Jam
The pentatonic scale shows up all the time in bass playing so it's a good idea to know it inside out. Learn the shapes across the neck and play around with them.
5. Noodle - just have fun!
Play a bass line around a chord progression, improvise, jam; just have fun for five minutes!
- The Easy Steps To Improvise A Soul Bass Line
- How To Improvise On The Spot Like James Jamerson
- How To Jam On Bass! (Advanced Technique/Scales/Groove/Musicality)
My course From Beginner To Bassist covers a lot of the fundamentals like music. theory, scales, and fretboard knowledge. At the end of the course there are a bunch of lessons on how to use those elements to improvise bass lines.
6. Harmony - Mode/arpeggio/chord
Harmony is one of the cornerstones of music.
Understand it and you can really master the bass. Here's a great workout:
7. E drone with chords & melody
Play your E string and let it ring out. Now improvise using E Major, or E Minor (or any mode starting on E).
Loads of fun. The harmony lesson above will help you find the notes to play for this - just convert it to E.
Or use these free drones to work in different keys.
8. Backing Track play along
I have loads of free backing tracks on this site! Play along to one for five minutes. Here's the one I used in the lesson (it's from this lesson on modes and how to use them on bass).
9. Reading practice
I've used Standing In The Shadows of Motown for over thirty years. It's a great reading tool but just find music that doesn't contain TAB.
Here's my free reading course if you need to brush up on this useful skill:
10. Slap technique
Be intentional with your practice. When I practise slap technique, I'm really working on accuracy, timing, creativity, shapes and patterns, and feel.
Using a metronome or drum loop can help lock your timing in. Here are some slap lessons to dive into:
- Good Times (Chic)…but slapped! [Bass Guitar Tutorial]
- Advanced Slap Bass Groove
- Beginner/Intermediate SLAP Bass Lesson (plus how to make up slap lines)
- Learn How To Improvise SLAP BASS
That was a lot to take in!
Bookmark the page, return to it and pick one thing. Use it to inspire your own practice sessions.
Make them your own, make sure you have goals, perhaps log your practice sessions, and - above all -be consistent.
Bass Guitar Practice Resources
Get your practice habits and techniques sorted and you can be the bass player you've always wanted to be.