Online Bass Instruction with Rusty Springfield

Bassentials is designed as a reference for my bass students and anyone else interested in furthering their knowledge of the bass. The lessons are arranged by level of difficulty. They will take you from the basics of holding the bass, to more advanced techniques like slapping, soloing, and building chords with harmonics.

This tutorial was written for the intermediate bass student who has been playing for awhile but wishes to further his/her knowledge of bass playing concepts. It was designed to be an easy-to-read reference, and for that reason, I have endeavored to keep it fairly concise. My aim is to answer some fundamental questions that seem to pop up as every student begins exploring the bass, whether with professional or personal intent. If you are unfamiliar with certain basic musical terms, such as "key signature," "bar," "quarter note," etc., it is recommended that you find a good book on the subject of musical theory, and familiarize yourself with these terms and concepts before tackling those related sections of Bassentials.

When I first took up the bass, the available instruction books were few, too outdated for the modern bassist and often gave little practical information to help the budding bass student deal with working situations in the "real world." (cue geezer voice here: "You kids today have it so easy! Why back in my day we used to walk 5 miles to the music store in the snow! Ok, it was only 2 miles, but still...") This is not to say that there aren't presently some excellent instructional aids on the market. There are many bass oriented books and video tapes that go into great detail about a myriad of topics, and I encourage my students to explore any and every avenue of learning available to them.
Remember: You are your own best teacher!
In the twenty-plus years that I've been teaching bass, I've endeavored to give my students the knowledge to handle "real life" musical situations which they would no doubt encounter repeatedly as they gained experience as bassists.I initially learned how to play by listening to and memorizing whole albums that contained whatever type of music I was interested in at that time. I also watched other bass players and asked lots of questions. I played in as many bands as would have me. Later on, I went to music school. In the process I developed my ears to the point that I was able to play pretty much whatever I heard. Magic? Nope. Sweat. And immense enjoyment. Learning doesn't have to be tedious, ya know. There is a secret, though. Wanna hear it?

Just learn ONE new thing on your bass every day. (For you math majors, that's 365 things a year.) They don't have to be big things. A song, a riff, an exercise, a technique, whatever. Some techniques take longer than others to master. So what if it takes a couple of months to get it down? Be patient. Learning to play an instrument well takes time. Your focus and patience will pay off. When you get up in the morning, say to yourself,"Today I will learn something new." Then go DO it. And you thought this was going to be hard...
Rusty always welcomes new students and also offers personal one-on-one instruction. Feel free to email him at:
Go to the next lesson: Personal Practice