For as long as I can remember, guitar players have always enjoyed note-for-note tablature (TAB) versions of the songs they want to play. In the early days of TAB the focus was on guitar, while bass players were left to figure out bass lines by ear. Something happened to change that. Maybe some bass player somewhere decided it was time bass players got the same benefits of guitar players, and eventually bass guitar tabs started popping up on some of the guitar tab sites on the Internet.
Bass guitar TABS work just like guitar TABS. Four horizontal strings represent the strings of the bas and numbers on the strings tell you which fret to play. Some bass TABS are more complex and include note tails to indicate the rhythm of the notes. Not all the guitar sites have bass TABS too, but there are several that include bass guitar TABS to go along with the guitar TABS on the site.
Here are a couple of nice beginner bass TABS if you’re just getting started. Check out the bass TAB for “With or Without You” by U2. It doesn’t get any easier than straight eighth notes, but this simple pattern fits the song and I couldn’t imagine any other type of line being played. Sometimes the old adage “less is more” really rings true, as it does here.
“Livin’ After Midnight” by Judas Priest is another bass TAB that makes use primarily of straight eighths. It’s got some tied notes you’ll want to get familiar with before you attempt playing it, but for the most part, this one should be pretty easy to pick up.
Check out the walking bass line below. A walking bass line walks through the corresponding scale of each chord, using only one note per beat. The key is to hit every beat of every measure. The effect creates a “walking” feel. Lessons like this TAB version can be found online or in printed books. You can also find DVD courses for bass that come with the bass guitar TABS used in the lessons.
If you play bass and you’ve felt left out in the past, it’s time to take control of your playing by taking advantage of the many bass guitar TABS available online, in books, or in video lessons you can purchase online or view at video sites like YouTube.