How to Read Bass Guitar Tabs

The bass guitar is a huge part of many songs. It’s important to know how to read bass tabs so you can play them with confidence.

Tabs use a set of lines and numbers that represent the different strings and frets on your bass guitar. They also narrow down exactly what you need to play.

Fell In Love With A Girl by The White Stripes

Fell In Love With A Girl is one of the most iconic songs in rock history. It has all the garage rock swagger of the Ramones and the weariness of blues, but with the addition of Jack White’s crooning vocals about his unrequited love for Meg. Whether the song’s a testament to his unrequited love or to the death of his sister, it was a huge hit that defined White Stripes and sparked a new era of rock that was more stripped down and raw.

Although the bassline for Fell In Love With A Girl might seem daunting to beginners, it’s actually pretty simple. The riff is repetitive and not too fast, so beginner bassists should be able to keep up without much difficulty. Plus, the bassline is played mostly with open notes, so there’s no need to worry about stretching too far up the fretboard.

The bassline for Wonderwall is another easy song to learn, since it only requires you to play a single note each bar and occasionally do some slides. It’s also a great way to practice hammer-ons, which are played by plucking the string and then hitting it with your finger, rather than strumming.

Although the bassline for Mary On The Dance Floor by The Killers might look difficult, it’s actually pretty simple once you get familiar with it. The song is a little bit faster than some of the other songs on this list, but it’s not too challenging for beginner bassists to keep up with once you get the hang of it. Plus, the bassline mostly consists of open notes and notes on the second fret of the E and A strings, so there’s not a lot of stretching involved.

Let It Be by The Beatles

When you’re starting out playing bass, it’s good to find songs that aren’t too complex. This is because it can be difficult to remember long and intricate tabs, especially when you’re just getting started. Yellow by Cold Play is a great song to begin with, as it features lots of repetition and doesn’t require you to learn any new chords. The bassline also uses hammer-ons, which are played by plucking the string and moving to the next note without strumming it. This is a great way to get used to bass playing and will help you to build up your finger strength and coordination.

This song is one of the few Beatles tracks to occasion negative, even hostile reviews upon release, but it’s an important entry in their catalogue nonetheless. The squabbles that would eventually end the band’s 40-year run were largely kept private for the initial sessions for Let It Be. However, Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s 1970 documentary film allowed audiences to bear witness to the tumultuous birth of The Beatles’ final album.

The band sought to get back to basics for this rock LP and companion film, with a series of bare-bones rehearsals and studio performances. Sadly, the initial sessions were marred by constant fracturing and bitter arguments. But the songs they did record—particularly this master take, a bluesy meditation on the ego—are a reminder that The Beatles were a group of professional musicians who could still turn out a decent product at their most strained.

Paul McCartney’s bluesy growl over Ringo Starr’s steady pounding, augmented by Harrison’s wails on a Lowery organ, is an emotional centerpiece to this classic track. It was the only song from the original sessions that made it onto the LP, though a few other takes would later be released on bonus CDs and the DVD.

Every Breath You Take by The White Stripes

The iconic bassline of this rock classic is one of the most recognisable in the world, but its also a great song for beginners to learn. Its a simple bass line that relies on playing only one or two notes per bar, so its not too complicated. The only challenge with this song is maintaining your rhythm and ensuring you play the right note at the right time.

A classic in the history of hard rock, Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple is a great song to practise your bass skills. Its an excellent example of the twelve-bar blues framework that is so prevalent in popular music, and its a great tune to try out your octave pedal. This will give your bass a layered sound that will impress your friends when you play them this song!

Yellow by Cold Play is another easy bass song for beginners to learn. Its fairly consistent and consists of straight 8th notes, so its not too demanding for beginner bassists to play. The only tricky part with this song is learning the timing of each note as you play it, but this can be easily overcome by slowing down the bass tab and practising each section individually.

Rebellion by Arcade Fire is a good song to learn if you want to try your hand at indie-rock bass. Its an upbeat song with a punk-rock vibe that will help you improve your rhythm and bass sliding technique. This song is also a great introduction to using hammer-ons, which can be very challenging for beginner bassists to master, as they require absolute accuracy and consistency over long stretches of time.