If you’re thinking of playing bass guitar or have already started, then you may have heard of bass tabs. Let’s dive into everything you need to know about bass tabs.

What Is Bass Tab?

Bass tab, also known as bass tablature, is a type of music notation for bass guitar that shows you where to place your fingers on the frets. This makes it very advantageous for beginner bass players because they can catch on to the music quickly.

What Does Bass Tab Layout Look Like?

It consists of four to six lines and numbers. Each line represents a string on the guitar, and from top to bottom reads GDAE, GDAEB, or CGDAEB, depending on how many strings the bass has. Bass tabs use numbers in place of notes. The numbers correspond to the fret where you need to put your finger.

Older versions of bass tab consist of just lines and numbers. Occasionally they have numbers under the tab to indicate rhythm. Newer versions include rhythm notation and are either written with the tab placed under the regular music notation or are in an interactive format. If you purchase bass tab sheet music, it will likely include regular musical notation.

What Are Some Good Beginner Songs with Bass Tab?

Bass Tab

There are tons of songs available in bass tab, but here are a few suggestions for novice players.

‘Respect’ by Aretha Franklin

This song, when written in bass tabs, is perfect for beginners. It’s in C Major, and while it goes moderately fast, it’s nothing terribly hard to master. The main chords involved are C, F, G, F#m and B.

‘Poster Child’ by Red Hot Chile Peppers

The slow tempo of this song makes it easier to follow the bass tab. While it does have some tricky spots, for the most part this piece is beginner friendly and doesn’t include any overly difficult notes.

‘Another One Bites the Dust’ by Queen

The great thing about finding a Queen song in bass tabs is that you know you’re going to love playing it. Apart from the fairly simple rhythms and notes, it’s catchy and will keep you motivated to practice and perfect it.

‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ by Guns N’ Roses

This classic song by Guns N’ Roses is a good choice for novice bass guitarists because it doesn’t contain any simultaneous notes to play. Many of the notes are repetitive, as well, and so it’s a good starting point for newer players who are starting to read bass tabs.

‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ by Rick Astley

If you love 80s music, this is for you. With a lot of open strings and repetitive notes, “Never Gonna Give You Up” is another one of those songs that will keep you practicing and motivated.

Where Can I Find More Bass Tab Music?

The internet is a great place to find bass tab for pretty much any song. Whether you want to learn, have started learning, or are an advanced bass player, Musicnotes’ website has a great collection of bass tabs for you to choose from.