Is It Hard to Learn Bass Guitar? Survey Results Reveal How Hard It Is

I love playing guitar and have done so for many years, during that time I’ve dabbled with playing the bass guitar. 

Since I’m familiar with the differences but I’m only one person I thought I’d do a survey of guitarists and bassists alike to find out what people overall think about whether it’s hard to learn bass guitar.

Overall, bass guitar is not hard to learn. A survey that asked what the easiest instrument to learn showed that people voted guitars as the easiest of all the instruments. Guitars in this context means the bass guitar, electric guitar, and acoustic guitars. 

An additional survey also found that of all types of guitar including the bass guitar, 76.8% of people said that bass guitar is the easiest to learn out of the different types of guitar.

Below, I will discuss the results of the study, how hard bass guitar is compared to other instruments, as well as, the main reasons why bass guitar is not hard to learn.

Is Bass Easier To Learn Than Guitar?

Bass guitar was voted as the easiest type of guitar to learn. In a survey of 101 people, found that 76.7% of people said that bass guitar is easier to learn than guitar. 

This is a very high percentage and roughly only one quarter of people said that guitar is easier to learn than bass guitar.

Here’s a table that shows the results of the two surveys to reveal this data:

InstrumentPercentage who said its the hardest instrument to learn
Piano or Keyboard20.67%
Strings – guitar only10%
Strings all others – such as, violin, cello32%
Wind instruments – for example flute, saxophone24.67%
Number of people that voted, n = 155

From the responses you can see that 10% of people thought that guitar was the hardest instrument to learn. And was the lowest percentage out of all of the different categories of instruments.

However, a close second was the drums, and 12.67% of people voted that it is the hardest. I asked an additional question which was whether bass guitar is harder to learn than other types of guitar.

Here’s a table that shows the results.

Question: Is bass guitar harder than regular guitar?Percentage of people that agreed
No, bass guitar is easier than regular guitar76.2%
Yes, bass guitar is harder than regular guitar23.6%
Number of people that voted, n = 101

There are a range of reasons cited why bass guitar is the easiest to learn they are:

  1. It has less frets overall compared to guitar, easier to learn songs 
  2. You don’t need to play and blow air, as done with wind instruments
  3. It has frets, which makes far easier than violin and stand up bass
  4. Only two limbs are involved in playing – other instruments involve 3+
  5. It has 4 strings, whereas, guitar has 6 which makes it less complex
  6. You’re not responsible for keeping time, unlike the drums
  7. Only 1 hand plays the notes – others involve 2 or more
  8. The frets are larger and wider apart, you don’t to be as precise

Overall all of these factors make the bass guitar much easier than other instruments. But, these points don’t give the ENTIRE picture, and there are some caveats to further explain why the bass guitar is easier. 

For example, as you may know there are what are called hammer-ons and pulls-offs. These are where the fingers of the fretting hand – the left hand on right handed people – play an additional note.

So, technically you are playing individual notes with two hands rather than one. But, the dexterity and focus required is much less than on instruments known as keys. Which include the piano, and keyboard.

On these types of instruments both hands need to play notes independently of each other, and it is much harder than on the guitar. Also, hammer ons and pull offs can be used quite often. But, the vast majority of the time they aren’t used.

Also, an acoustic bass guitar can be played like a drum, with the right hand, which is more difficult. However, this is more of a specialized type of playing the bass guitar. That is more rare. And isn’t done on an electric bass because the body is solid, and doesn’t produce a drum like sound. 

Here’s a cool video showing this technique, as well as, when hammers-ons and pull-offs are used a lot.

Key takeaway:
As a general rule, bass guitar is easier to learn than guitar. A survey conducted comparing all types of guitar, electric, bass guitar, classical, and acoustic steel string, found that the vast majority of people (76.4%) found that bass guitar is the easiest to learn.

How Long Does It Take To Learn Bass Guitar?

So, bass guitar is the easiest instrument to learn. But, how long does it take to learn guitar, and play it well.

On average, it takes about 1 to 3 months to play bass guitar well and for a band. This is playing for 15 to 30 minutes regularly, such as everyday or every two days. There are varying degrees of difficulty in bass lines for songs. But, most are very simple and easy to play.

Bass guitar songs can be incredibly complex. But, most popular songs that you hear on the radio are very very simple. And involve a simple 5 notes pattern that repeats. Therefore, to be able to play in a band is very easy.

Many people wonder how much a decent bass guitar costs. 

I recently did some analysis on the top guitar brands – Fender, Gibson, and Ibanez to see how the price range of the guitar they sell. 

And compared the sound quality between low end, midrange, and expensive bass guitars. You can read the article here, about whether bass guitars are expensive.

However, you can become as good at bass guitar as you like, and you can play incredibly difficult songs that have very fast runs, and notes are played all over the fretboard.

This is very common in rock music. But, rock music in general is much more difficult than popular music, regardless of what instrument you play. To play very fast runs, and bass lines for rock guitar music takes 6 months to a year of consistent practice to play.

Is Bass the Easiest Instrument To Learn?

All things considered then, is bass the easiest instrument to learn?

As a whole, bass guitar is the easiest instrument to learn. A survey of 150 people found that guitars are the easiest instrument to learn. An additional survey of 101 people found that bass guitars are the easiest type of guitar to learn.

There can be other factors that influence your decision to learn it, such as whether you see yourself learning it. The piano is also easier for learning music theory. 

Which is the way that music is composed. And how time signatures work. For that reason, people do recommend learning piano first or learning both at the same time. To make learning music theory easier.

For a more in depth discussion about whether you should learn piano or guitar – that includes bass guitar refer to this article I wrote about whether you should learn piano or guitar first.

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