How To Play Bass (A Bit…) Like Bernard Edwards

Want to be able to play bass like Bernard Edwards? I don't blame you. He's without doubt one of the greatest and most influential bass player of all time.

In this bass tutorial, I'll show you:

  • Bernard's gear and how to get his tone
  • His playing style
  • What techniques he favoured
  • How to develop a world class groove 


Bernard Edwards Bass Gear


Bernard played a stock late 1970's MusicMan StingRay with the strings that came with the bass. They were probably flatwounds but old roundwounds will sound good to.

He bumped the bass up on the 2-band EQ and added a tiny bit of treble.

If you can't afford a vintage StingRay, Sterling by MusicMan do a cheap one and you can even go down the modification route. Changing out the pickups to something like this from Aguilar would create a great bass!

Sterling by StingRay - Cheap alternative to MusicMan StingRay

Sterling by StingRay - Cheap alternative to MusicMan StingRay


Bernard Edwards Tone, Style, And Technique

Edwards was big on precise, punchy fingerstyle playing. He also used chucking, where he'd use his fingers like a plectrum.

More on that incredible technique in this lesson:

Bernard Edwards CHUCKING Bass Guitar Technique


Bass Groove

The absolute key to playing like him is to develop your sense of groove and rhythm. To do so, you must play regularly to drumbeats like the one below (download that for free) or the metronome.

Here are a couple of metronome lessons that will improve your timing (and speed, stamina, accuracy, and groove!).

7 Metronome Exercises For Bass Guitar To Work On Your Timing And Groove

Sort Your Timing Out! (Plus know which notes sound great…)


Bernard Edwards Drum Backing Track

If you like funk bass and want to learn more about other players and their techniques, tones, and the theory behind funk bass lines, you might like my Funk Bass Course.


Funk Bass Course - Dan Hawkins

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  • Such good stuff.I’m a fan of cutting beats on the metronome, it’s a great way to improve ones time and groove.BTW I’d love a breakdown of Duran Durans’John Taylor, he’s a player that doesn’t get the attention he deserves.I just love his tone.

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