Is Guitar or Bass Harder To Play As A Beginner?

Is guitar or bass harder to play? Depending on your background and musical preferences, either instrument has its own challenges.

For most beginning musicians, the bass is typically easier to learn because there are fewer strings, they’re spaced farther apart, and there’s no need to learn chord positionings.

That doesn’t mean that it’s easier overall though, as intermediate & advanced bass techniques require precise rhythm & the ability to use more fingers individually on the fretting hand.

is guitar or bass harder

Related: Can You Use The Same Instrument Cable For Guitar & Bass

Here’s a couple other points that relate to this comparison:

Differences Between Guitar & Bass

Whether you’re a lifelong musician or just starting to learn your instrument of choice, the differences between guitar and bass are important to consider. Although both instruments use strings & frets (for the most part) they have distinct characteristics that set them apart. Bass has four (sometimes more) strings, which creates a deeper sound than the six-stringed guitar. Additionally, bass playing tends to focus on rhythms as opposed to guitar’s single-note melodies or chord progressions. So it’s important to do your research and decide which instrument is right for you before beginning lessons. The bass is easier to start but also a challenge to master.

4 Strings vs 6 Strings

When it comes to choosing guitar or bass, one of the main differences is that a bass traditionally has four strings and a guitar has six. This means the strings of a bass are larger and lower in pitch, creating heavy low-end tones. On the other hand, guitars are capable of producing higher pitches due to their smaller strings. Bass players must also adjust their playing style to match different genres; for example, disco music uses standard root-note bass lines, whereas funk often requires pull-offs and slides.

Related: How to play the A minor pentatonic scale

Playing With a Pick vs Your Fingers

One of the most important differences between guitarists and bassists is the way they play: guitars are usually strummed or picked, whereas bass strings are usually plucked with the fingers. This means that a guitarist must learn how to control their pick whereas a bassist must focus on developing control over individual fingertips. The choice of pick size and thickness also comes into play; for example, thinner picks create brighter tones which work better for punk styles – whereas heavier picks suit metal and rock music.

What Makes Each Instrument Difficult To Play?

Guitar players must master the techniques of strumming, individual picking and chord changes – which can require a great dexterity than bass playing. Bassists must develop a strong sense of rhythm, good intonation, and finger individuation. To make things more challenging, bass instruments have longer strings and heavier gauge – so even very simple music may feel harder to play until your fingers build up strength. To overcome this challenge, you might want to start with lighter gauge strings before moving on to thicker ones as you progress.


While it’s tough to say categorically that one instrument is harder (or better) to play than the other, it is generally accepted that guitar playing can be more challenging for beginner musicians. As you progress, bass playing may become more complex as you learn about open strings and chord progressions – whereas guitar relies on further mastering of strumming patterns, picking techniques, and often requires a greater dexterity in your fingers. Ultimately, which instrument you choose to pursue is up to you – the best way to find out is by giving each a try!

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