20 Best Bass Lines for Beginners - Riffs to Impress

Bass Player

The bass guitar, often described as the soul of a band, has a rich history that intertwines with the evolution of modern music. From its origins in the jazz and blues clubs, where it laid down the rhythmic foundation of countless classics, to its pivotal role in the rock and funk movements, the bass has always been more than just an instrument; it's a bridge between rhythm and melody. Learning to play the best bass lines for beginners is not just about mastering an instrument; it's about connecting with a legacy that has shaped music as we know it. For beginners, diving into the world of bass playing opens up a realm where they can not only learn the technical aspects but also learn bass riffs to impress friends and other musicians.

Best Funk Bass Lines for Beginners

James Brown Music Scene 1969

I Got You (I Feel Good)

by James Brown (1965)

James Brown's "I Got You (I Feel Good)" is a foundational funk song, offering beginners a bass line that's simple yet groovy. The song's repetitive and rhythmic bass pattern, played by Bernard Odum, provides a great introduction to the essence of funk bass playing. The track reflects Brown's dynamic performance style and his band's tight, punchy sound, making it an iconic piece in music history and a fun starting point for new bass players.

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Ball of Confusion

by The Temptations (1970)

The Temptations' "Ball of Confusion" features a bass line that's both catchy and straightforward, ideal for beginners. The song, with its socially conscious lyrics and distinctive Motown sound, showcases the bass as a driving force in the rhythm section. The bass line, played by Bob Babbitt, is a fine example of how simple patterns can create a powerful groove, a key aspect of the Temptations' enduring appeal.

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A|———1—3—3———1—3—3——1—3——-1-——3———-1—3—3——1—3—3——1—3—-—1—-—3—-|
E|—3——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————|

Chameleon

by Herbie Hancock (1973)

Herbie Hancock's "Chameleon," from his seminal album "Head Hunters," is a journey into jazz-funk fusion. The bass line, played by Paul Jackson, is repetitive and hypnotic, making it accessible for beginners yet rich enough to teach fundamental funk techniques. This song is an excellent example of Hancock's innovative approach to music, blending jazz improvisation with funk rhythms, and the bass line is central to its groovy allure.

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D|----------6-----------------|
A|---------------3-4-5-6------|
E|--3-4-5-6-------------------|

Super Freak

by Rick James (1981)

Rick James' "Super Freak" is instantly recognizable for its infectious and straightforward bass riff to impress your friends, making it an excellent choice for beginners. The bass groove, which plays a crucial role in the song's funky and danceable feel, is a great example of how a simple bass pattern can be both catchy and iconic. The song's popularity and crossover appeal, blending funk with pop elements, underscore Rick James' status as a pioneer in the funk genre.

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E|----------------0--3-------|

Feel Good Inc.

by Gorillaz (2005)

Gorillaz's "Feel Good Inc." features a bass line that is both modern and easy to pick up, blending alternative rock with electronic influences. The simplicity of the bass line, played by Murdoc Niccals (a fictional character in the band), makes it a great starting point for beginners. The song is a standout track from Gorillaz, known for their innovative approach to music and the blending of various genres, making it a fresh and exciting piece for new bass players to learn.

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Best Rock Bass Lines for Beginners

Wall Posters Rock Music ACDC Kiss

Sunshine of Your Love

by Cream (1967)

Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love" offers a quintessential rock bass line that is both memorable and manageable for beginners. Jack Bruce's bass playing provides a solid foundation for the song's iconic guitar riff. This track is a testament to Cream's fusion of blues and psychedelic rock, and Bruce's bass line is a perfect example of how the bass can drive a rock song's rhythm and melody.

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Money

by Pink Floyd (1973)

The bass line in "Money" by Pink Floyd is notable for its distinctive 7/4 time signature, making it a unique yet accessible challenge for beginners. Roger Waters' bass playing is a key element of the song's moody and atmospheric sound. "Money" stands out as an iconic track from the "The Dark Side of the Moon" album, demonstrating Pink Floyd's experimental approach to rock music and the innovative use of the bass guitar.

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Radar Love

by Golden Earring (1973)

"Radar Love" by Golden Earring features a bass line that's both straightforward and driving, ideal for beginners looking to explore classic rock. Rinus Gerritsen's bass playing underpins the song's energetic and catchy beat, making it a staple in the rock genre. The track's popularity and driving rhythm make it a fun and engaging choice for new bass players.

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A|-5-5-5-7-7-7-9-9-9-7-7|
E|----------------------|

Back In Black

by AC/DC (1980)

AC/DC's "Back In Black" offers a bass line that is as iconic as it is simple, making it a great choice for beginner bassists. Cliff Williams' steady and unobtrusive bass playing supports the song's powerful guitar riffs and solid drum beat. This track is a prime example of AC/DC's straightforward, hard-hitting rock sound, and learning its bass line provides a solid foundation in rock bass playing.

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A|—————5—5—5—————————————————5—5—5—————————2———2———2————2—————|
E|——0—————————5—5—5———————0—————————5—5—5————4———5———6————7———|

Another One Bites the Dust

by Queen (1980)

"Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen features one of the most recognizable best bass lines for beginners in rock history, and it's surprisingly accessible for beginners. John Deacon's bass line is both funky and straightforward, driving the song's rhythm. This track showcases Queen's versatility and Deacon's ability to craft a bass riffs to impress that are both foundational and catchy, making it an ideal learning piece for new players.

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E|—5—3—|—0———0———0——————0—|—0—0—3—0—5——————5—3—|

Best Alternative Rock Bass Lines for Beginners

Green Day minus Tre with Ted Jensen and Rob Cavallo

Canonball

by The Breeders (1993)

The Breeders' "Canonball" offers a bass line that is as quirky as it is straightforward, perfect for beginners venturing into alternative rock. Josephine Wiggs' playing provides a solid groove that anchors the song's distinctive sound. This track, a hit from the '90s alternative scene, showcases The Breeders' unique style and the bass line's role in creating a catchy and memorable tune.

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A |—12—12———12—12——r———————————————————|
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Longview

by Green Day (1994)

"Longview" by Green Day features a bass riff to impress that's fun and a bit challenging, yet accessible for beginners. Mike Dirnt's bass playing is energetic and integral to the song's punk rock vibe. The track is a standout from Green Day's "Dookie" album, representing the band's influential role in the '90s punk revival, and learning its bass line offers a great introduction to punk rock techniques.

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D—————9—7—6—————7—6———————9—7—6——0—0—0—0———|
A—5h7———————7h5—————5—9h7——————————————————|
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Are You Going to Be My Girl

by Jet (2003)

Jet's "Are You Going to Be My Girl" is known for its catchy and one of the more straightforward best bass lines for beginners, making it a great choice for beginners exploring alternative rock. Mark Wilson's bass playing is integral to the song's retro rock sound, driving the rhythm with a simple yet effective pattern. This track helped propel Jet to international fame, highlighting the band's ability to blend classic rock influences with a modern edge.

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E|——5—5—5——5—5—035——5—5—5——5—5—0303—5—5—5——5—5—035——5—————————5—5—3———|

Seven Nation Army

by The White Stripes (2003)

The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" features one of the most iconic best bass lines for beginners in modern rock, played on a guitar but often performed on bass. The simplicity of the riff, combined with its powerful impact, makes it an excellent choice for beginners. This track, from the album "Elephant," showcases Jack White's innovative approach to songwriting and the duo's minimalist yet impactful style.

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Somebody That I Used to Know

by Gotye (2011)

Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" offers a bass line that is both melodious and simple, ideal for beginners. The song's distinctive sound, blending indie pop with a hint of electronic, is partly driven by the bass's rhythmic and harmonic support. This track became a global hit, showcasing Gotye's talent for crafting catchy and emotionally resonant songs.

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Best Bass Riffs to Impress for Beginners

The Beatles and Lill Babs 1963

Down on the Corner

by CCR (1969)

Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Down on the Corner" features a bass line that's both lively and easy to learn. Stu Cook's bass playing contributes to the song's upbeat and catchy feel, typical of CCR's roots rock style. This track, with its simple yet engaging bass line, is a great example of how a bass can add depth and groove to a rock song.

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A|—3——0———3——3—0——————2—3——3—|
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Come Together

by The Beatles (1969)

"Come Together" features Paul McCartney's skill in crafting bass riffs to impress that are both innovative and accessible. The song's bass line is distinctive and groovy, underpinning the laid-back feel of the track. McCartney's ability to blend simplicity with rhythmic complexity makes this song a great choice for beginners looking to impress. The Beatles' influence on music needs no introduction, and "Come Together" is a shining example of their innovative approach.

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A|————————10h12———————————|
E|——10—10—————————————————|

Jungle Boogie

by Kool & the Gang (1973)

Kool & the Gang's "Jungle Boogie" offers one of the best bass lines for beginners that's funky, fun, and relatively simple, making it an excellent pick for beginners aiming to impress. The infectious groove laid down by bassist Robert "Kool" Bell is a staple of the funk genre. This track, with its catchy rhythm and upbeat energy, exemplifies the band's ability to create music that's both danceable and musically rich.

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D|-----------6-6---6-4-6---------6-6---6-4-6-
A|-4-4-6-7---------7-----7-4-4-6---------7---
E|-------------------------------------------

Billie Jean

by Michael Jackson (1982)

Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" is renowned for its driving and rhythmic bass line, created by Louis Johnson. This best bass line for beginners is not only iconic but also approachable for beginners, providing a solid introduction to playing pop and funk-infused music. The song's immense popularity and Jackson's legendary status make learning this bass line both rewarding and fun, showcasing the integral role of the bass in pop music.

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A |—9———————7———9———7———————————————|
E |—————9———————————————9———7———9———|

Come as You Are

by Nirvana (1991)

"Come as You Are," one of Nirvana's most famous tracks, a featured bass riff to impress that is both iconic and beginner-friendly. Played by Krist Novoselic, the bass line complements the song's grunge aesthetic with its dark, melodic tone. This song is a perfect example of Nirvana's impact on the alternative rock scene, and its bass line offers beginners a taste of the genre's classic sound.

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A Rite of Passage for Aspiring Bassists

Embarking on the journey of learning the best bass lines for beginners is more than a musical endeavor; it's a rite of passage for any aspiring bassist. Learn these easy bass riffs to impress family, friends, and other musicians, while improving your skillset, one iconic song at a time. It's where technique meets passion, where practice leads to progression, and where each note played is a step closer to becoming not just a bass player, but a custodian of a musical legacy that continues to resonate across generations.

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