Back to Bassists: How I Got into Bass Guitar

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We talked to a handful of talented, experienced bass players to find out how they got into playing bass, who influenced them, and which basses are their favorites.

Bass guitar is not an immediate instrument choice for many people. The standard guitar is - by far - more popular, and the bass guitar is not frequently considered a stand-alone instrument. However, it is an equally great option for beginning instrumentalists. Additionally, the ability to play bass is a huge asset for any musician. With a wealth of guitarists out there, bands are often left looking for a bass player. If you have always dreamed about being in a rock band or a jazz ensemble, playing the bass may be your way in the door.

Bass Jams

Anthony WellingtonAnthony Wellington teaches 80-100 students per week in Waldorf, MD, teaches at “Inspire Music” in York, PA, once a month, and conducts private lessons via Skype with students from all over the world. He owns and operates AntFarm Recording Studios in Calvert County, MD. You can keep up with the Anthony’s latest jamming in classes, performances and other events at

As a kid, Anthony found himself in the unique position of being one of many bass players in his neighborhood, which led to having bass jams.

What road led you to playing bass?

I grew up in a neighborhood that didn't have bands. There were no bands because all of the guys played bass. So we would get together and have bass jams. Also, as a kid, I had a tendency to gravitate toward lower frequencies. I really wanted to play bass and drums.

What is your favorite bass guitar?

I love the Fodera Imperial. It's as innovative as the 1st Fender basses.

Who inspired you?

I was inspired by early R&B bassists like James Jamerson, Larry Graham, Mark Adams, Louis Johnson, and Verdine White. Those guys shaped my playing.

Accidental Obsession

Diego MorrisonDiego Morrison is the bass player in the Mexican rock/pop band Dharma that recently released their first album, “Escaparate 2.0.” The band aims to spread positive energy through music to anyone who is willing to undergo a revolution of love. You can follow the band through their official website and social media.

Diego started playing bass after a blue bass in a department store caught his eye.

What road led you to playing bass?

It kind of happened by accident. I played guitar, and one day, I saw a blue bass in a department store. I think the color caught my eye. I remember thinking that playing bass had to be like playing guitar, so I bought it. As I learned to play it, I realized that it is very different. However, there is something about a bass guitar that really makes me feel complete. I've been playing bass ever since.

What is your favorite bass guitar?

I'm in love with all Fender basses, but my favorite one has to be a Jazz Bass. Of all of my basses, my favorite one is Fender Jazz Bass. It has 3-Color Sunburst, black pickguard with Vintage Noiseless Pickups, and both Vintage-Style pickup covers.

Who inspired you?

My biggest inspirations are Chris Wolstenholme from Muse and Guy Berryman from Coldplay. The first song I ever played on a bass guitar was Hysteria by Muse.

Playing By Default

Stanley Clarke Bass GuitarsStanley Clarke is a four-time Grammy award winner and accomplished film and TV composer. He has his own record label, Roxboro Entertainment Group, and is the co-founder of The Stanley Clarke Foundation, which awards scholarships to young musicians each year. You can keep up with all of his latest happenings through his official website.

Stanley started playing bass because it was one of the only instruments left when he and his junior high school peers were selecting their instruments at the beginning of the year.

What road led you to playing bass?

Actually, my playing the bass was somewhat of a default. I was one of the last kids in my junior high school to pick out an instrument for band at the beginning of the year. An acoustic bass was all that was left, so that's what I chose. And right away I fell in love with the deep tones that it could produce. This was before electric basses were in any way common.

What is your favorite bass guitar?

I have always loved Alembic basses because of their uniqueness and tone.

Beginnings With Piano

Andrew Pouska of Study BassAndrew Pouska is a bassist and teacher in the Houston, Texas area. During the last two decades, he has been teaching bass full-time and has worked with more than 2,000 bass students. He has spent the last 10 years developing the popular bass lesson website,

Andrew got his start with music through piano and became hooked on bass lines, leading him to explore the bass.

What road led you to playing bass?

Bass is rarely someone's first instrument. I started on piano. It took me a couple of years to realize it was always the low end that hooked me. I remember playing Chopin's Prelude in E Minor, and I was fascinated by how the bass could transform and influence a simple melody. That's when I thought, “Maybe I should play the bass.” I saved up and got my first bass. I remember staying up late for weeks picking out every Police bass line and Duck Dunn line by ear. The bass just felt so right.

What is your favorite bass guitar?

The best bass is always the one in your hands right now. I love to play Zon basses, but I often recommend G&L basses to my students. They're high quality, and the electronics offer such a great range of tone.

Who inspired you?

There are so many, but all roads lead to Motown's James Jamerson. There have been lots of developments in bass since then like soloing and slapping, but I don't think that anyone has done more than Jamerson in terms of the bass' main role – harmony and rhythm. Imagine picking up an instrument that is only a few years old with virtually no one to model yourself after and then turning out sophisticated bass lines and grooves. It's like someone invents the wheel, and you build a Ferrari with it a few years later. Jamerson was a genius, and every bass player owes him thanks.

A Rush of Inspiration

Scott NoftleScott Noftle has been a professional bass player for nearly two decades. He has primarily made his living playing on cruise ships and has experience with rock bands, indie bands, hotel bands, and big bands. He shares his own bass guitar lessons for free through

Scott took an interest in the bass after listening to “Exit Stage Left” by Rush for the first time.

What road led you to playing bass?

When I was about 10 years old, I heard my first Rush album, “Exit Stage Left.” The bass playing was incredible.

What is your favorite bass guitar?

My favorite bass guitar is the Ibanez SDR 1000, which I've had for about 25 years.

Who inspired you?

It was definitely Geddy Lee of Rush.

Any time you begin to learn a new instrument, it is important to keep in mind that it may take a while to find the particular instrument that is just right for you. You want one that sounds just right and that plays like an extension of your own body. It can be hard to pinpoint what makes a certain bass just right for someone, but once you have found yours, you will know because you won't ever want to stop playing it.

The right bass for you enables you to learn as much as you possibly can. Whether you are brand new to learning an instrument or you are trying to improve your musical skills, the perfect bass will motivate you to keep playing and maybe even compose new music. An instrument becomes as much a part of the musical experience as the notes on the page.

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