Basslines are about more than merely playing the fundamental root notes. They are the driving, melodic rhythms that bring a song to life. This makes it extra satisfying to learn to play your favorite bassline. With some easy bass tabs and a bit of practice, anyone can start playing the bass parts of iconic songs.
Easy Bass Tabs To Learn
We have compiled a list of famous basslines that are easy to play, help teach fundamentals, and are likely to impress listeners.
1. “Another One Bites the Dust” – Queen
Queen’s bassist, John Deacon, wrote this legendary rock bassline. Driving, simple, and repetitive, it’s good practice for the pentatonic scale. The runs of 16th notes help strengthen your fingers. It also features a key change into E minor. There are advanced rhythms in the measures just before the chorus that give you a chance to show off some skills.
2. “Brown Eyed Girl” – Van Morrison
One of the most popular basslines to learn, this sweet love song is a chance to play more melodic changeups. The verse and chorus share the same chord sequence based on G major. It is a very simple and punctuated bassline that allows practicing a syncopated groove. There are also unique 8 bar and 10 bar bridge sequences that feature off-beat eighth note adds.
3. “I Got You (I Feel Good)” – James Brown
This famous funk song is James Brown’s biggest hit. It’s fun to play this groove at various tempos. James Brown recorded it from speeds ranging between 144 and 195 BPM. The song is a simple version of the classic 12-bar blues riff, a necessary bass skill. It will increase your range down the fingerboard, too. With the iterative variations in speed and structure, this bassline is a great track to practice finding your style.
4. “Stand By Me” – Ben E. King
This hit was based on a gospel song and has been covered and recorded over 400 times by various musicians. There are easy bass tabs for it in half time and double time. It is only four short sections of melody that start with open strings and offers a few opportunities to practice some soft hammer-ons. Plus, it is easy enough to play while romantically singing along.
5. “When I Come Around” – Green Day
Green Day bassist Mike Dirnt wrote this instantly recognizable 2 bar riff. It is a little complicated, but play through the song once and you’ll know it by heart. Then you have a chance to try playing at a fast tempo on an alternate bass tuning. Keeping track of how many repeats you have played is vital to keeping with your band for the ending.
6. “Push It” – Salt-N-Pepa
This classic hip-hop bassline is only a few easy arpeggios with some added turnaround. It gives a chance to sharpen more subtle techniques in your rhythm hand. It requires string muting, raking, and alternate plucking patterns. It also tests your ability to play a staggered start time from the lead. One of the riffs starts on the “and’ count instead of the downbeat.
7. “Come As You Are” – Nirvana
Nirvana is still one of the most influential bands of all time. Their easy bass tabs have inspired many to start playing. Krist Novoselic wrote the bassline to focus on sudden volume changes in the ’90s grunge style of “loud, quiet, loud” dynamics. It is a perfect warm-up for your fingers, having only three basic riffs that are all centered on the E string. It’s also easy enough to play while jumping around!
8. “Comfortably Numb” – Pink Floyd
This rock ballad has one of the most challenging guitar solos of all time, but the stand-out bassline stays simple. Rhythmic and consistent, this song gives you practice in playing a dotted eighth note paired with a sixteenth note. The open string slides also build hand strength and calluses. Though it is easy, at over six minutes, the piece will test your endurance.
9. “Seven Nation Army” – White Stripes
Despite how it sounds, this riff is played by Jack White on guitar using an octave pedal. All the same, this song’s “bassline” is world-famous and a must for bass players to know. It is in G major and so gives you a chance to add an F sharp. It is a long bass part and includes a run of eighth notes and triplets amid sudden changes in the rhythm. This part allows you to take front and center.
Most Downloaded Easy Bass Tabs
These bass lines represent a variety of fundamental bass-playing techniques and genres. They are also some of the most popular basslines of all time. All of them appear among the most downloaded bass tabs, as ranked by Musicnotes, the largest retailer of easy bass tabs. Finding tablature online that you can quickly transpose and download can make learning bass simple.