4 Tips to Help You Choose Guitar or Bass

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Choosing between guitar or bass in 4 easy steps

You are ready for a new challenge in your life, and you have decided to learn how to play an instrument. You’ve narrowed it down to learning either the guitar or bass. Either one can be inspiring and fun to play. How do you decide? The following four tips will help you choose.

Know your role

Are you a stage-hogging diva or a behind-the-scenes kind of player? Be honest! The guitarist seems to work the hardest, and is usually the hero of the band (or, depending on the band, a “co-hero” with the vocalist). The bassist typically works in the background, creating that critical bridge between the rhythm and the melody. Of course, there are exceptions, but by and large, these are perceptions shared by both musicians and audience members.

Investigate your favorite genre

If you listen to a lot of jazz and aspire to be a musician of that genre, are you most excited by the melody, or is it that rhythm that moves your soul? Listen to Top 40 radio. Is it the bass groove making you dance, or is it the rhythm and lead guitars that make you wanna holla? No matter what music you listen to and love, there is typically one instrument that will resonate with you.

What’s your size?

Your physicality may very well play a part in your decision. Bass guitars tend to be somewhat bigger and considerably heavier than guitars. Advancements in design and electronics have bridged the gap a little, but not much. (If you are playing electric, you are also going to be lugging an amp around, which is an additional thing to consider. But that’s another subject for another time.) For now, consider your size and strength. But you shouldn’t make this The Deciding Factor one way or the other. You may decide you want to play one instrument over the other and won’t let size influence your decision at all.


Go to your local music store and try out several different types of both instruments. There are multiple guitar manufacturers, most of which make several models of both bass and guitar. (Major brands like Gibson, Fender, and Gretsch make dozens of different models.) Have fun simply feeling their weight and curves in your hands. Something that many musicians experience is the thrill of finding The One. They know it the moment they pick the instrument up and try it out for the first time. Are you going to find The One? You have a better chance if you are patient and don’t settle.

Eventually one will make you cringe, one will make you drool. Which one feels right? The only way you’ll know is to play them all! Have fun!


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