How to Play Bass Guitar for Country Music

By Col Forbin

Things Needed

  • Bass guitar
  • Amplifier or headphones
  • Instrument cable
  • Plectrum(optional)

Country music is the art of telling a tale. You as the bass player take the backseat and assume the most basic role, keeping rhythm. Fancy bass lines and fills are not necessary for country music because the focus of the song is on the lyrical, story-telling aspect. This article explains the basics of how to play bass guitar for country music.

Find a position of comfort with your bass. Sit down with the bass on your thigh or stand up with your bass strapped around your shoulder. You should also always warm up before you start playing to get loose.

Start creating a simple bass line for a country song by getting a very steady count going with your foot. A simple 4/4 will do: 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, and on.

Start adding some notes in, now that you have a steady beat established. The best notes to use in country music are the root and the 5. For example, if you are playing in A, the root is A and the 5 is D.

Put all this together and create your country bass line. Remember your steady rhythm and play, A, D, A, D along with the 1-2-3-4. You have just created a simple, yet very solid bass line to play when the rest of the band is playing in A.

After you have become comfortable with the simple A and D bass line at the 1-2-3-4 count, you can add other notes or create a different rhythm. Don't go overboard, however. Keep the count in line with the speed of the lyrics and story. Some good notes to add in with the A and D would be a low G or a high E. The low G is the third fret on the first, or E string. The high E is the 7th fret on the second, or A string.

Tip

Remember, a bassist in a country setting is best suited for support and rhythm, not flashy bass solos.

About the Author

Col Forbin began his freelance writing career in 2011. While studying political science at Henderson State University, Forbin wrote academically on political attitudes of student populations. He will complete his Master of Liberal Arts degree in the winter of 2012 with a concentration in English and social science.