Learning bass guitar is a rewarding experience that requires discipline and dedication. It is also essential that you enjoy the process, for if it isn’t fun, there’s much less chance that you’ll stick with it and have patience as you improve your ability.
Top 3 - Online Bass Lessons
Real-time feedback / video exchange
Affordable option for beginners
If you're short on time, JamPlay is what I recommend for most people. It's really easy to navigate, which makes it easier to grasp the hundreds of very high-quality lessons for both beginners and advanced players alike.
It also offers different payment plans and comes with a risk-free money back guarantee for your mental peace.
Exclusive JamPlay discount for MusicStrive readers: click here (takes you to the checkout page and maximum possible discount is auto-applied)
Learning bass guitar is a marathon, not a sprint. That’s why choosing the best form of online bass lessons is vital to keep you on track and seeing progress in your journey of improvement.
Regardless of your experience level as a bassist, online learning provides an accessible way for everyone to improve – from absolute beginners to advanced players.
Let’s take a look at the most popular online bass lesson platforms of current times.
8 Best Online Bass Lessons – Reviews
Table of Contents
- 8 Best Online Bass Lessons – Reviews
- How to Pick the Best Online Bass Lessons for You
No matter if you're an absolute beginner, an intermediate bass player who's hit a plateau and looking to grow, or an advanced bassist with plenty of experience with the bass guitar, chances are that you'll benefit from JamPlay's extensive bass lessons.
It's also by far the most popular bass lesson platform on the web (even more popular than big-brand offerings like Fender Play), thanks to their 500,000+ paid users across their guitar and bass lessons.
I originally tried the platform for the first time way back in 2016, and at that time there was some discount going on. Until then, I didn't have much experience with online bass lessons at all, apart from watching a few YouTube videos here and there.
What caught my eye immediately after joining was the vast amount of content that was pretty well structured under different sections and according to different levels of competence.
Granted, I wasn't at a very advanced level back then (I can't claim to be at even now) but I had been playing with my band and touring around the country frequently, so suffice to say I knew my way around a bass guitar.
I was honestly surprised to learn about the existence of quite a few concepts for the first time, and in the time that I had the membership (1 year, as I'd bought the annual plan), I feel like I'd improved greatly and became a more well rounded bass player.
If you struggle with theory and key concepts of bass playing, JamPlay's lessons will be especially helpful for you. This is because even though they have videos on proper playing techniques and similar stuff, they won't be looking over your shoulder while you play to inform you about any mistakes that you're making, unlike a physical instructor.
Sure, they have videos on the common mistakes to avoid as beginners or intermediate bass players, but people are often unable to identify their own mistakes, and that's where a real-world instructor becomes invaluable.
JamPlay starts with the absolute basics with their phase 1 lessons, which are specifically suited for beginners. If you're picking up a bass for the first time, or have only been playing it for a month or two, that's the section you should start with. You'll learn the basics of tuning, playing techniques, posture and reading bass tabs.
Phase 2 leads you onto the path of genre-specific skills and techniques. Whether you're into blues, classic rock or metal, you'll most likely find what you're looking for.
In Phase 3, you can learn to play specific songs. You'll find plenty of popular songs across different genres to learn, but of course, there are limitations. You'll of course not find lessons for everything an artist has ever produced. The good thing is they allow you to send in song requests for missing songs.
Coming to the production quality, they use up to 6 different camera angles to show how the instructors are pulling things off. You'll miss nothing, unlike in case of YouTube videos that are hastily produced by video production amateurs. In this regard, you truly get what you pay for.
There are some lesson platforms that use an inferior technology stack which means the platform doesn't load properly on tablets or smartphones. JamPlay's website is totally responsive, so it adapts to your screen size and you miss nothing.
Coming to their pool of noteworthy instructors, you have David Ellefson of Megadeth, Billy Sheehan of Mr. Big & Steve Vai fame, Robbie Merrill of Godsmack, and several other big-name bass players.
Lastly, one thing I liked a lot about their lessons was the interactive tabs. They move on your screen as you're playing, and you know exactly when to play what. I personally found that this makes practicing a lot easier.
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ArtistWorks offers two separate options when it comes to online bass lessons.
Their rock bass lessons are provided by world-renowned bassist Nathan East, the bassist of choice for both Phil Collins and guitar legend Eric Clapton. He covers pop and funk along with rock.
They also have jazz bass lessons by John Patitucci, who has played with musicians like B. B. King and Wayne Shorter.
For beginners, there are detailed lessons on how to properly tune your instrument, identifying notes on the fretboard, learning scales, and the likes. This is very useful for those who are just starting.
Music theory is the essential but boring part of learning bass guitar. ArtistWorks understands this, and with their interactive workshops, they make developing your theoretical knowledge fun and easily digestible.
When you get into the intermediate lessons, you are introduced to the technical skills required to properly play bass. These include speed exercises, chord shapes, and slapping techniques.
The advanced lessons go even further, expanding your knowledge of harmony and encouraging you to come up with your original bass lines based on the foundational knowledge you have gained from earlier lessons.
Perhaps the best quality of East's lessons is the way they ease you into more advanced concepts. Each teaching reveals a new insight, without overwhelming you with information. You can then implement your new skills into the next lesson to solidify them within your memory.
Coming to pricing, there are a few different options for the rock bass course. Firstly, you can purchase three months of unlimited lessons for $105. Or, if you want to commit to more, you can get 6 months for $179 or a year for $279. In total, this works out at less than $24 per month.
The jazz bass lessons are archived (no new content is being produced), so you only have one payment option at $29/month. You won't get any new video exchange feedback with this plan either.
3. Fender Play
Fender Play online bass lessons are ideal for beginners who want to see quick, noticeable improvements in their playing. Covering all of the foundational skills and principles of bass, these lessons are a great starting point.
With countless exercises and drills designed to cement the fundamentals of bass guitar in your mind, the lessons are greatly beneficial for novices who need to spend time perfecting the basic techniques before advancing onto more complex material.
The instructors aren't very renowned, but are extremely professional in their approach to teaching. In my opinion, they explain the key concepts (like syncopation) in a very clear way, and that is followed by some helpful exercises on that particular technique or concept.
I really liked this step-by-step learning approach of the platform with small increments, as it encourages you to solidify your playing in certain areas first, instead of trying to learn almost everything at once.
The bite sized lessons are extremely easy for beginners and even intermediate players to grasp. It's like they're saying "let's get you playing something interesting after you quickly learn this technique!"
Coming to the quality of production, it almost rivals JamPlay in terms of raw video quality. You have multiple camera angles, and full HD videos of every single lesson. The audio quality is crisp and clear, and device compatibility is excellent.
The material covered in the Fender Play bass lessons includes scales, finger positioning, lengths of notes, and more advanced techniques like slap bass and raking.
For bassists who feel that their skill set has advanced past the novice and intermediate levels, you may be better off choosing a course that is better suited to that type of learning. I'd personally recommend JamPlay in that case. There are still some very valuable lessons offered which I'm certain would benefit advanced players, but the majority is aimed at beginners.
If you decide to sign up for Fender Play, they offer an interesting proposition. Choosing the yearly plan, which costs less than $10 per month, will also get you a 10% discount on Fender amplifiers, guitars, and other accessories.
Fender Play membership also allows you to access all of their guitar and ukelele lessons, without any additional cost! This might be a significant bonus over other similar platforms, especially if you also play either of those two instruments as well.
Overall, this online bass lessons platform is a brilliant choice for beginner bassists who want to improve their skills quickly while enjoying the process.
TrueFire’s online bass course is rich with material that suits all ability levels. The high-quality lessons are taught by a select group of instructors. Stu Hamm, the main teacher of the course, has shared his knowledge with thousands of bassists in his 25 years of tutoring.
The lessons are broken down into small parts, much like Fender Play. This provides you with enough time to reflect on the skills you learn and implement them in your bass playing. You don't need a lot of prior knowledge to grasp the beginner-focused lessons.
The advanced lessons in the TrueFire course are not for the faint-hearted. They delve into some seriously deep concepts and challenge you to raise your standards both theoretically and technically. If you're someone who enjoys a challenge, you'll find these lessons very valuable indeed.
In terms of the quality and production style of the videos, TrueFire uses a no-nonsense, direct approach. There's no filler included in the videos, but the editing and camera angles are areas that could perhaps be improved.
One of the standout things that TrueFire offers is the subscription to their "All-Access" membership. This costs $29 per month and allows you to explore an extensive library of material to improve your bass playing and general skills as a musician. The material is not exclusive to bass, so if you want to gain a better understanding of music as a whole, this could be a good option.
5. Talking Bass
Talking Bass is a relatively recently established provider of online bass lessons, and their popularity continues to grow. They offer a plethora of packages that are broken down into skill-specific categories.
The basic 'beginner bass guitar' course costs a one-off payment of $29.99. There are no time limits on completing it. Some more advanced packages reach up to $100. There are lessons to suit every level, from fundamentals to ear training.
The paid lessons are well structured, and Mark Smith is very direct and clear in his teaching approach. Truth be told, many of these can be found on YouTube for free on other channels, but you'll miss the high-quality production and the structure, which makes learning a lot easier and faster.
They also offer free lessons (check out their YouTube channel) that cover a good part of what you'd ideally need as an absolute beginner. In my opinion, among free bass lessons, TalkingBass' free lessons are one of the best. You'll just miss having the PDF notations that they provide to their paid students.
What originally started as a free YouTube channel by bass player Scott Devine evolved into today's paid Scott's Bass Lessons platform.
In my opinion, the free videos of the past had way more value compared to videos of today, which seem more clickbait-y and designed to capture the maximum number of audience with the hope of converting them into paid customers.
I'm not a big fan of Scott's style of teaching, but it does suit a wide range of students, as is clear from countless positive forum and reddit threads about the platform.
His paid lessons are considerably better than his free YouTube lessons, and contain significantly less fluff. You still need plenty of self-discipline for sticking to a proper schedule to advance your learning.
The pricing is vague (he advertises an average cost of 54 cents a day) and unclear, but if you dig deep you'll find that it's around $168 a year. There's a 14-day free trial, so if you're interested, you can perhaps sign up for free and see if it's a good fit for you to continue as a paid customer.
Founded by long-time bass teacher Ander Pouska, StudyBass includes several courses that are methodically arranged to improve your skill set one aspect at a time. I specifically like the diatonic chords section. You can get plenty of insights and may even start looking at bass lines in a different way altogether.
The platform offers a ton of lessons and resources for free, and that's really helpful if you're short on cash.
Apart from typical lessons, there's a lot of content covering bass gear (such as different types of effects pedals and how you can use them to sculpt your tone) and bass construction (truss rod, nut, etc.).
As a paid member ($10 per month or $100 per year) you also get access to hundreds of backing tracks that you can play along and practice your newly learned skills.
You also get access to their paid 'study packs', which you can also purchase separately (one-off purchases) for as low as $5 per pack (the fundamental 3 pack contains the lessons on the diatonic chords that I referred to above).
BassBuzz is another relatively newly-established provider of online bass lessons founded by Josh Fossgreen. Their videos are very well-produced, with great angles and close up shots of techniques for you to follow. They're also structured really well and are easy to follow.
One of the best things about BassBuzz is the free lessons they offer. These cover some basic principles and allow you to gauge whether you feel it is worth advancing to the paid material.
The online lessons include a pack of 50 songs to learn, some jam-along backing tracks, and a selection of good quality teachings.
These songs include ones from Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Nirvana, Ramones, AC/DC and many other legendary bands. Being interactive, it's more than just your ordinary bass tabs.
Their 'beginner to badass' course is perhaps their most popular offering. The cost is $39.97 per quarter (as part of a payment plan), or you can pay $197 one-time. They also offer an unheard of 6-month money back guarantee for your complete peace of mind.
How to Pick the Best Online Bass Lessons for You
Pick The Right Lesson for Your Skill Level
This might seem obvious, but you should choose the lesson that best suits your skill level. If you are a beginner, you are going to have a hard time with advanced lessons. Likewise, if you are an advanced player, you aren’t going to learn much from beginner lessons.
This is especially true for beginners. If you are just starting out on an instrument, it can be frustrating to learn the basics and easy to want to move on to playing your favorite songs.
But perfecting the basics is an important step and will make learning more advanced techniques much easier down the line. Don’t try to rush the learning process.
For more advanced players, it is important not to waste your time relearning the basics. Rather spend time learning new techniques and improving your playing. Otherwise, it will feel like you aren’t making any progress.
What Do You Want to Achieve?
This ties into choosing the right type of lesson, but deciding what you want to learn is also important.
If you are into certain types of music, try finding lessons that focus on those genres. Or if you want to learn new styles, find lessons that focus on genres you don’t know.
Maybe you just want to learn some new techniques, then you should take lessons that are focused on the technical side of playing rather than the musical side. And if you want to learn how to write music or improve your writing, take lessons that focus on those aspects.
Also, try to find online lessons from musicians that you like. Chances are your taste in music is going to be similar, which means you’ll be more likely to learn the things you want. It is usually also much easier to learn from someone you enjoy listening to and being taught by.
The Advantages of Online Lessons
While in-person and online lessons ultimately serve the same purpose of teaching you how to play bass, online lessons have a few advantages.
The first that comes to mind is transport. You save a lot of time and money when you don’t have to travel to a specific location for a bass lesson. Online lessons can be taken in the comfort of your own home or wherever you are, at any time.
This ties into the second benefit: time management. In-person lessons usually happen at a set time and date, usually once a week.
Because you are learning through an online course, you can determine when you want to take your lessons. You might not be able to attend a lesson one week.
This will usually mean that you are still charged for that lesson. With online lessons, missing one isn’t a problem.
This also means that you can learn at your own pace. If it is taking you longer to learn a certain technique or song, then you don’t have to rush to keep up with your weekly lessons.
And on the other end, if you are a faster learner, you can move on to new things sooner. Weekly lessons can make you feel like you aren’t progressing as fast as you would like because you have to wait a week before moving on to something new.
The Most Expensive Option Isn’t Necessarily the Best
It might seem like paying more for lessons will mean that you are getting higher quality lessons or that you will become better faster. This is almost never the case.
There are plenty of affordable and even free online lessons you can take that will give you the same results as a more expensive option. Many musicians give lessons either just as an extra source of income or because they enjoy doing it.
That doesn’t mean that they are putting in less effort than professional music teachers. A good teacher will want their students to succeed regardless of how much they are being paid.
And you also don’t want to waste your money. You don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars a month on a subscription, but then it takes you longer to learn things or there are periods when you can’t spend time on lessons.
If at all possible, try to test out different courses to see which suits you the best. Many sites provide trial periods and online teachers sometimes also give the first lesson free. Don’t rush into online lessons if you can try out a few first.
Learning bass online comes with its fair share of advantages, and also quite a few disadvantages.
Not having to travel for the lessons is one major advantage. The fact that you can learn at your own pace and according to your own availability makes online lessons very convenient.
Add to it the fact that with some of the best online bass lesson platforms, you can learn from pretty well known bass players, something you wouldn't be able to do otherwise if you opted for in-person lessons.
The disadvantages of course include the lack of direct, one-to-one feedback that in-person teaching offers in abundance. Although platforms like ArtistWorks promises to overcome this shortcoming with video exchange feedback, it's still a long way out from having an experienced bassist by your side and observing your playing from up close.
In the end, you need to analyze the pros and cons and determine if online is the way forward for you. If it is, try to pick a platform based on your current level as a bass player, and of course, your budget. If the latter is not a concern, you pretty much can't go wrong with JamPlay.