Articles, Blog

5 Tips on how to SOUND better on Bass Guitar

October 23, 2019

Hi everyone, this is Yonit from Lessonface
and I’m here today to help you sound better on bass! Tip number one is
clean sound. So I get a lot of students to come to me and they’re already you
know shredding and they play with bands but the most common mistake I see is a
kind of a technique mistake and that’s when they play strings sometimes if you
don’t if you don’t play well you have kind of like you know a different strain
kind of I mistake being tapped there and making some noise since we’re a melodic
instrument we want to be very precise with our sound and clean sound is their
number one thing that’s gonna make your playing sound better. Okay
so I’m gonna show you how I use it how I use my really right hand technique to
make it sound nice and clean and perhaps you see something that you overlooked
before okay so I’m actually gonna show you how to use properly the strings by
using your right hand okay so first of all the easiest I guess because you
don’t really find your fingers in this area when you play the E string there’s
not much you need to do maybe you can you know mute the other strings with
with your left hand over here but there’s really not much of energy it
needs to be consumed when you do it but definitely you know if you can just tap
slightly with your left hand then this is already gonna make it cleaner rather
than you can hear the harmonics when I don’t mute it right so just put your
left hand and it’s gonna disappear okay this is for the E string now when I’m
going to the a string the number one thing I wanna be careful of is to bring
that east ring okay so for example if you put your your thumb here you’re kind
of creating a hazard for you to accidentally bump into the E string you
see just like that so what I recommend to do is put your thumb the thumb is
very important even though you don’t seem to really use it when you play bass
put your thumb on the E string okay and then when you play the a string you’re
not gonna hit it you can still kind of meet the other strings
but you see that the the e-string is really not going to move because you’re
muting it with your thumb okay now I know a lot of you probably are used to
just keeping your thumb on the pickup but really this is the best way to meet
the string without causing a lot of tension on your right now you don’t want
to cause a lot of tension and your right hand when you’re trying to mute because
that’s just energy going to waste okay so basically this is what you do when
you want to clean the a string but you want to mute the E string okay now if
you want to go higher up for example you want to play the D string I would just
put my thumb on the a string okay that creates the most comfortable environment
for me to play an environment for me to play on without causing a lot of stress
on my right hand okay so again if I’m playing the D string I put my thumb on
the a string and it’s kind of also resting on the e string kind of easy very clean very nice and
the last one if you’re playing the g string once you’re you can’t really put
your thumb on the D string because then you’re leaving the E string kind of like
in a weird situation over there so you actually keep your thumb on the a string
but you can see that I’m using my pinky and the third finger over here to mute
the other the D string now I’m not really doing a I realize that I’m not
really doing it consciously it’s just kind of like hanging in there again it’s
kind of like the whole trying to not waste energy in my right hand it just
goes in there and you see that when I go to different
strings my hand just like my head jumps around alright so you fall play the g
string you’ll see that I have a third finger over here watching the D string
and then I’m going to the D string and then again you can leave it on the
back okay so you can see that this would already
create the clean sound and again my left hand is kind of just roaming around here
making sure nobody’s making any other additional noise so because I have the
security coming from both hands there really is no way okay so that’s my
number one set I know that this could be a little bit overwhelming especially if
you’re used to playing in a different way
the way that I suggest to it to practice it is well first of all you’re gonna see
I have a bass line that I’m gonna be practicing with if you want you can be
practicing with the – I have the play along that I’m gonna be using and the
bass lines that I wrote you can find it in the link right here in the info of
this video and you can practice after I show you how to do this but you can also
take every bass line that you’ve been playing with and just slow it down and
try to really focus on your right hand and see what your right hand is doing
the more simple the bass line the better because you want to have all your
attention to the right hand so the second tip that I have for you is
control the length of your notes now why does it go hand-in-hand with the first
tip of how of basically playing clean because it really has to do with the
same technique okay so again I’m going to the right hand so if you want to
control the length of your notes which is again a very common mistake that I
see with bass players that everything is kind of just like sounds the same and
kind of blendy I’ll show you in a second one I mean if you want to control the
length of your note it’s really just muting it right because that’s how you
make a note shorter so you muted by already having your next finger ready to
go okay so I’m gonna do it very slow I’m gonna use the D string for this example
clean e okay you can do it obviously with every string so it’s kind of like going back into the
position where you’re gonna play the next note now that’s why it’s very
important to use both fingers I know that there’s a lot of people to like to
play in the James Jamerson style and he played only one finger but the two
fingers are actually really important also because not just to you know not to
have only one finger using doing all the effort but to spread it to two fingers
but also it’s a great way of controlling the length of sound okay again this may
be something that is overlooked but this actually has to do a lot with the way
that you play a bass line a bass line can be written or can exist with you
know these notes but there really is a huge room for creativity with the way
that you played the length of the note you could play staccato you can play
tenuto which like the whole length of the note there’s so much room for
interpretation for your creativity to to really exist
in that it makes the whole baseline sound different even though you are
playing the same notes so here’s what I’m gonna do I’m gonna be playing the
same bass lines in the beginning I’m gonna play it only with very tenuto sort
of legato long notes and I want you to see how it it could sound good in some
situations but maybe not all the time right and then I’m gonna do the exact
opposite I’m gonna play very very short notes and see how that changes the bass
lines and then for to end it I’m actually gonna change it up play some
notes staccato some notes to noodle and kind of try to balance the bass line tip number three is actually not so much
about the actual play but tip number three is change your strengths pretty
simple I know that there may be people that really like the sound of very old
strings and it’s kind of very gloomy but I have to say that for me at least
there’s nothing like the sound of nice fresh crispy nice strings what I
recommend for bass players in general if you gig once twice a week of course
depending on on the strings and the brand and the kind that you’re using but
I would say that the average time to change strings will be four bass guitar
will be every six months or so I find it to be the nice kind of spot that works
for most people as I said it’s there’s something very nice about the crispness
especially if you like to play some slap there’s nothing like new strings but if
you’re changing your strings because it’s it takes a little bit of getting
used to and also kind of like for the metal e sound to wear off I would say
change it about maybe a week before you perform at a gig so that you’d be very
comfortable and that the sound will be exactly where you want it so tip number
three as I said change your strings you know kind of spoiling their guitar a
little bit they’re worth it okay so tip number four may again seem obvious to
some of you sometimes a bit overlooked perhaps but play super super super
super-super in time playing in time will make you sound better when you play
something and you didn’t practice it enough or you’re not experienced with it
enough and you’re not playing it in time with the drummer with the metronome with
a click it’s not gonna sound it it really is that simple so practice
playing in time and you know playing in time we’re just playing bass in general
we don’t have to play a lot of notes to sound good
there’s a lot of bass lines especially a lot of famous bass lines when you think
about it that are so simple and so sparse you know but they sound so good
because they fit right in with the beat so for that occasion I made you a bass
line that is really very very simple it’s actually only made from two notes
it’s made from the tonic and the flat seven and then I do some fills in
between by just to show you that even with two notes you can make a bass line
sound awesome okay so as you can see this is a very
very simple baseline and it may look very easy to play right but it’s not
very easy to play okay so if you are people who like to play an odd meters
that’s awesome but I want you to not overlook that for for even the most
simple groups are very very very hard to lay down straight you know super
accurate right at the beat it’s sure that you know when we come to the studio
now people can just like move things lightly to make it tight but there’s
nothing like really sitting that baseline right on the beat live okay now
here’s how you know what you need to work on when you’re working with time
okay so for example you can take that example and play it record yourself
whether it’s your phone whether you can hook it up to some sort of interface and
record and record yourself like that do it and then see exactly where you stand
and I can pretty much guarantee that you will encounter some surprises over there
every time that I need to perform something or record something I just
record myself by myself in my studio and kind of see where I’m at and see oh you
know what I’m actually a little bit you know rushing this or I’m taking this a
little bit late and I’m working on those specific spots don’t overlook the simple
beats treat every single baseline with respect and try to really nail it on
time okay so tip number five is learn how to use different techniques in your
bass play and then use it sparsity okay so that kind of like the umbrella of
different techniques can have slapping under it or a tapping or playing with a
pig or muting or pull offs or hammer ons or anything that you can think that has
like this you know very specific unique this to it and then use it only when
appropriate okay so if you just learn slapping before you go onstage and you
start slapping around think oh is this should this really be in the song if
this is an 80s pop ballad maybe I don’t know but like really try to think of
okay I learned this now I need to be responsible and do it only in the place
where this is appropriate okay now what I want to show you that actually is like
this really cool little trick is that you don’t have to play slap only in a
song that requires slap from the beginning to end you can actually play a
cool bassline and then kind of give up a little slap to it to make it a little
bit crunchy er same thing you can do with muting of course with you know
things like playing with a pick it’s a little bit more complicated to put it
right in the middle but you never know you can be creative and if you feel like
you can change the sound within the song and actually help the song develop also
by creating some different you know styles and flavors and spice up your
your bass line then you know do so again it’s another place that you can have
very specific notes and put your creativity and your interpretation as a
baseline as a bass player to use so I’m gonna take that bass line that I was
playing before showing you the very uniqueness of minimalism and bass line
and I’m gonna show you some of my favorite techniques that I like to
incorporate in my bass playing that includes a little bit of slapping and
then includes some muting style kind of like Motown okay so that was kind of combining it a
little bit with slap again you can choose which ones you want to slap which
ones you don’t you can do it in different techniques if you want to the
second one that I’m about to demonstrate and how this really changes completely
the way that that baseline sounds is I’m gonna actually do some muting kind of
like the Motown style you could play muting style just with using your left
hand in fact if you watch some of my other videos you can see that my hands
is actually sometimes really close and not very open with positions that’s
because I’m playing playing kind of the Motown style so I’m trying to have a
very closed punchy sound actually the way the faces were built in the early
60s was in a way to kind of imitate the sound of double basses so they were
trying to make it very muted so maybe you’ve seen those big ashtrays that
Fender guitars used to have before that actually had some like rubber and foam
and stuff built into it so that you would sound very muffled and muted okay
so I mean if you’re just doing it in the middle of the gig and it’s just a
momentary thing it’s very important kind of get your hands used to that
technique as you can see you can play it with your thumb or you could just play
it with your regular you know really with your fingers in the right hand but
really using the left hand as a muting device sometimes I like to use this so
this is kind of a little trick it’s it’s not not okay to use some tricks and your
bass planes when you can of course this also includes effects and this even
includes same face depending on what the song requires right so I’m just gonna
show you a little trick with this little foam so this is actually kind of like an
AC isolator foam I just cut a little piece of that and I’m just gonna put it
right next to the pickup just underneath gonna squeeze it in there you go and
then you can see that it’s not completely changing the sound it still
has a pretty big resonance but it’s not as much as without okay
now with that I can also get a little bit more of the muting technique in my
left hand of course again you can do it with your thumb too but it really
depends on what you want scuzzy as you can see the sound is very different I’m
just gonna use my left hand muting technique and you know it’s kind of
funny looking but it’s all about the way it sounds right as our video so I’m
gonna show you how it sounds with some muting and some foam if you need any help with getting your
bass playing to the next level you can find me and my lessons at lesson face
comm and you can be sure to sign up for a lesson and we’ll work on these things
or any other things that you want to do with your bass playing you do have just
reminding you these bass lines plus the play along that I was playing with you
you have it right here on the link underneath this video in the About
section and you’re more than welcome to go ahead practice it and I hope that
this video helped you and I hope to see you very soon thank you for watching


  • Reply Himanshu Henry October 19, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    Excellent teaching mam thank you so much..

  • Reply John Robertson October 19, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    Excellent lesson, can you tell me what the pink wrap is for by the headstock? Is it for muting?

  • Reply Gotthilf Bigamiluschvatokovtschvili October 19, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    I like her acsent.

  • Reply Sad Song October 19, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    Thank youuuu for the knowledge

  • Reply Stephen Costello October 19, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    Thanks mate and good skills for walking. Keep up the good work

  • Reply Ghostdialoog October 19, 2018 at 9:31 pm

    My idol growing up was James Hetfield, I really wanted to be good on my RIGHT hand after studying his right hand muting tech.

  • Reply Md.Mazharul Hoque October 20, 2018 at 4:35 am

    Awesome lesson.

  • Reply fernando felix a October 20, 2018 at 7:39 am

    i like you so much!

  • Reply JIMBO ROXX October 20, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    Good Job, great advice. Perhaps mention STAND UP when you play bass in a band. (you sit in your bass videos like your watching a movie?) I Force myself to practice with strap and standing. You owe it to your audience to stand while performing and your body will keep time for the rest of the band. My drummer on stage can only see my back however he can predict many of my note changes by watching my "Bass Dance" the way my body naturally moves while playing. If you still find yourself playing bass in your 90's then sit down…

  • Reply ERIC F October 20, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    I really need to get that bass! Looks and sounds great! 😁👍

  • Reply David Layton October 21, 2018 at 12:22 am

    What is the bass your playing?

  • Reply Dario Vargas October 21, 2018 at 12:28 am

    Hello i have the same amplifier and i have problems getting a nice eq right now im using a pre amplifier so i use the amplifier flat … it would be nice if you make or show me a tutorial of how you diál the amplifier

  • Reply Pat Bassman October 21, 2018 at 9:34 am

    Hey Yonit where did you study music ?

  • Reply SynthYourLife October 21, 2018 at 9:42 am

    What's that thing on the neck? I've seen it in guitars even but no idea

  • Reply Andrew Galloway October 21, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    Thanks for this, Yonit. Love that Moniker bass. Sounds great.

  • Reply och70 October 21, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    @1:57 “The thumb is really important, even though you don’t seem to really use it when you play bass…”

    Hahahahaha That is so painfully inaccurate.

  • Reply NextSongs4God October 22, 2018 at 12:11 am

    Except all them bass players play that spank stuff….lately they’re going back to melodic but in the past auditioning was ridiculous….they all just wanted to spank. They might as well have been playing for Seinfeld.

  • Reply alfredo campos October 22, 2018 at 2:17 am

    Whoa playing became cleaner I don’t fumble as much and a little bit faster great advice thank you very much

  • Reply G. Medina October 22, 2018 at 3:31 am

    Hi Yonit, ❤️ Your lesson videos, your a great teacher!

  • Reply 개굴개구리 October 22, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    Useful tips!! Thnx for great video.

  • Reply Girmay BassGTime October 22, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    Great advice on creating a clean sound and timing!

  • Reply Dave Massie October 22, 2018 at 10:24 pm

    Thanks for sharing Yonit.

  • Reply Dickson Yeung October 23, 2018 at 10:41 pm

    How to properly mute the strings if I play a 5-string bass, esp when I pluck the G string?

  • Reply John Deal October 26, 2018 at 11:49 am

    Thanks again for a great lesson. The thumb on the pickup is something that I have been doing for over 20 years and for most of that time I knew it caused problems muting the E String (4-string bass) which I partially compensated for by muting it with my left thumb when possible. I felt it would be a disaster to try to break the habit since my playing would fall all over the place; muting the E-string when I want to play it, plucking the wrong string because my hand is not in its usual position, etc. Also it seems a lot of energy essentially moving the entire right-hand up and down every time you want to use the E-string seems a lot of work and tiring.

    However after seeing this lesson, I decided to try to break this habit before I die. Actually it is not as hard as I thought. A half-hour of playing basic lines plus moderate-tempo songs I know well and it started coming together. The tone is significantly more focused on the non-E strings.

    Just wanted to mention the thumb-on-pickup habit is not as hard to break as it seems. The real test will be the show I am doing tomorrow but it looks positive.

    Thanks again for the great lesson.

  • Reply Steve Kucinskas October 26, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    Love you!
    Can we get married! 😜
    Lessons are great, learn a lot about stuff I already do.
    Thanks for the lessons!

  • Reply Stikbot Animator October 28, 2018 at 2:37 am

    What is that pink thingy over the nut of your bass?

  • Reply Luke A November 1, 2018 at 3:13 am

    Thank you for another helpful video! I learn more from this channel then any of the others

  • Reply シライコージ November 3, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    Is it the bass guitar of what maker?

  • Reply below middlec November 10, 2018 at 5:27 am

    "you don't really use your thumb when you play bass"? REALLY? !!! – BTW, Billy Sheehan frequently anchors his thumb on the pickup and if you strike correctly with your right hand when playing the A string, you will not inadvertantly hit the E string. You also have to follow through the A string and rest on the E string to mute it with the right hand, and you can use your palm as well …

  • Reply Dicos Dip November 17, 2018 at 4:33 am

    i love your tips…really very awesome techniques

  • Reply Frank Juster November 19, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    i learned the technique of resting my thumb on each string as i go down to the g string by watching jack bruce on old cream videos…what a player !

  • Reply Richie Carlson November 26, 2018 at 2:23 am

    Nice technique.

  • Reply Felix Stevenson November 30, 2018 at 10:58 pm

    I Love it

  • Reply Marc Cholette December 2, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    Great video and useful advice, thank you!

  • Reply Eddo de Leeuw December 15, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    I really like your tips and ideas. Even after having played the bass guitar for 35 years, I keep on learning. Thank you, Yonit!

  • Reply xXKennycrXx December 23, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    Floating thumb right? Pinky and ring finger for muting on regular finger style is a unnecessary for the right hand

  • Reply Fntsmk January 10, 2019 at 5:03 am

    Great lessons Yonit! Love what you do. Love the help! Thank you!

  • Reply Fernando Perez January 14, 2019 at 9:21 am

    Novice question, can I ask what is the pink strap hanging on the neck?

  • Reply Degosie Jani January 18, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    “Your thumbs really important even though you don’t really seem to use it when you play bass” …. I think you need to rethink this statement 😉

  • Reply xrmarty2005 January 22, 2019 at 4:24 am

    I love your channel!!! and I love your guitar!!! but I can't make out the name on the headstock. What is it?

  • Reply Owen Brown Jr January 24, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    Great Stuff!

  • Reply RisvoldTheGreat January 30, 2019 at 11:26 pm

    So basically be Boring as possible.

    If your so skilled why didn't I see you at the Namm show last week?

  • Reply Ollie January 31, 2019 at 12:25 am

    I don't use my thumb and keep it on top of the pickup 90% of the time and I play a 5 string and I don't have a problem with strings ringing out as I use my fretting hand to mute so try different ways and see what suits you

  • Reply Frederick Thorne February 5, 2019 at 10:17 am

    Great Lesson, Yonit, thank you!

  • Reply wadomannen February 9, 2019 at 12:24 am


  • Reply Arnis Kauliņš February 15, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    19:35 ??? 19:55 ???

  • Reply Norma Leone February 19, 2019 at 9:59 am

    I love everything she said!!! You are a very great musician and awesome teacher 😘

  • Reply Jose Cornelio February 23, 2019 at 7:57 pm

    Love your playing…great tips thanks!

  • Reply Alexandre Dinkelmann February 26, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    Hi Yonit, what is the bass model you used in this video? Cheers, Alex

  • Reply Will P February 26, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    Good teacher!

  • Reply J Michael March 6, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    Hmmm Yonina… את מדברת עברית …?

  • Reply Mario Rossi March 9, 2019 at 7:47 pm

    Thank you for that class

  • Reply Nicolas Kapsis March 10, 2019 at 2:44 pm

    Anyone who knows if there is a name for the "wrist" band thing used on the bass to mute the srings??

  • Reply rome8180 March 13, 2019 at 5:17 am

    That bass tone is perfection.

  • Reply David Cutright March 16, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    Do you notice any common problems with people who started off playing guitar and later switch to bass?

  • Reply isaac quevedo March 17, 2019 at 5:05 am

    Cada día, los bajistas buscan un sonido mas agudo en sus instrumentos y se alejan del rango natural que el bajo debiera ofrecer, un sonido profundo y limpio para diferenciarse del resto de los instrumentos en especial de la guitarra.

  • Reply Rajen Gurung April 12, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    hai I am beginar of bass guiter how to start to bass guiter from first ..I hope you will help me thank you.

  • Reply Fourth Cayari April 14, 2019 at 10:08 am

    Thanks yonit 😘

  • Reply Erik Clemente April 15, 2019 at 3:07 pm

    The pickups are Seymour Duncan’s ?

  • Reply Buford Clemente April 24, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    So you don’t have to apply that much pressure when you muting the other strings or do you??

  • Reply Busta Bass May 17, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    (Doing my best Butthead imitation from the 90s) "She said squeeze it in…heh-heh."😆

  • Reply Marcel Seiler May 22, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    great and the truth of a cool bass player

  • Reply Bassman Dozer May 22, 2019 at 10:08 pm

    I use my thumb to play bass notes when soloing…

  • Reply William Sessions June 13, 2019 at 10:02 pm

    Always excellent tips!! I mute open strings with whatever spare finger on my left hand I have open. Seem to work quite well for the last 38 yrs. But I always like to learn! I love your videos! You always remind me of things I forgot a long time ago! THANKS ! You are my favorite bass place!

  • Reply Robert Peek June 15, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    Great video!

  • Reply Edward Trimble June 24, 2019 at 10:10 pm

    You have been a great help Thanks.

  • Reply Eugene Phillips June 25, 2019 at 5:06 am

    Thank you!

  • Reply Veronica Tootsies July 1, 2019 at 4:29 pm

    Excellent tutorial. Thank you so much for all these practical tips. Really useful!!!!

  • Reply Brian Moon July 13, 2019 at 3:12 pm

    Thank you for this excellent tutorial! If you’re playing on the D string, you would mute the G string with the left index finger while muting the E and A strings with the thumb, right? Thanks again for all you do.

  • Reply Henry Freeman July 17, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    Oh me, I took you suggestion to record my self playing, well honesty is a bitch,didn't like what heard thanks for the tip I think I got a lot of work to do😝

  • Reply Greg Diprinzio July 19, 2019 at 7:32 am

    Nice bass! What is that?

  • Reply Jayson Etorma July 28, 2019 at 9:05 am

    <3 <3 <3

  • Reply 李自京 July 29, 2019 at 4:39 pm


  • Reply Bruno Ximenes August 16, 2019 at 3:38 am

    That bass…

    Great lesson btw.


  • Reply Daniel Almaguer August 18, 2019 at 1:10 am

    Did you sell that Bass?

  • Reply dropt67 Dropt67 September 21, 2019 at 2:38 am

    Use BOTH fingers… said with a little smile🤞😊

  • Reply Baby Lyca Buñag September 21, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    This is very helpful to me. As a Bass Player in a Worship Band

  • Reply Zo Mi September 26, 2019 at 11:46 pm


  • Reply Albert Scheichstein October 11, 2019 at 11:17 pm

    great tips , especially if youre not a bassplayer but kind of a jack of all trades and want produce/record your own songs.

  • Reply Carlisle Schneider October 13, 2019 at 5:23 am

    When I mute a string, I just pull my finger a bit.. I think it's easier..

  • Reply OW Moments October 16, 2019 at 9:04 am

    Changing strings? Gonna need 2 bolters for this heresy xD

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