Want to learn bass? Just do it!

Getting started is the hardest part

By Jon Liebman
December 22, 2023

How long have you wanted to learn to play the bass? 

Maybe you picked up the instrument back in the day and dabbled with it here and there. 

But how long have you been meaning to be able to call yourself a bass player, even an “okay” bass player?

I was talking to Luis Espaillat for a conversation published as this week’s FBPO interview. When I told Luis about all the people learning bass at For Bass Players Only and how so many of them happen to be over 50, I asked him what advice he could offer those folks.

Getting started is the hardest part

“The biggest thing I tell everybody,” he says, “is just do it. Don’t let anything stop you. Don’t say, ‘I’ve never picked up a bass. I’m too old.’ No, just do it.”

It sounds easy enough on the surface, but getting started is often the hardest part. People come up with all kinds of excuses about why they can’t or they shouldn’t start learning bass.

“I’ve run across so many people,” Luis says. “They feel intimidated. We all are guilty of comparing ourselves, inadvertently, to other people and skill levels, especially with something like playing bass.”

You’ll wish you did it sooner

When you finally do get started, you’ll be so happy you did. The thrill happens right away and the momentum builds fast. You’ll wish you’d done it sooner. 

“When you put the instrument in your hands, you’re getting a feel for it,” says Luis. “Then you realize, ‘Oh, okay. I need to hold it this way. Here’s what’s comfortable’ and ‘this is what the instrument sounds like.’”

It’s not like it used to be; it’s better!

When we were younger, our options were so limited. If we wanted to learn to play an instrument, we had to find a teacher, either privately or in a music store, and meet at a set time for every lesson. 

While that’s still possible today, there’s so much more available to us now, things we never even imagined during that time.

“We live in a day and age where it’s all at our fingertips,” says Luis. “You know, forbassplayersonly.com. It’s so easy to go there!”

You can’t get something for nothing… but you already knew that

At this point in your life, you know that anything worth having is worth working for. You can’t get something for nothing. 

But that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun!

“Enjoy it,” Luis says. “I think people, when they say, ‘Oh, I don’t enjoy it,’ it’s because they overthink it. They talk their way out of it. What I can tell people, (at) any point in their life, is just start. Just do it. Don’t tell yourself no. It’s yes.”

Patience is a virtue

When you approach learning bass with the right mindset, you’ll find yourself eager to take on more and more. 

Becoming a proficient player doesn’t happen overnight, and that’s okay. The resources available for learning bass today make it so much easier for you to move at your own pace.

“Be patient just have fun with it,” says Luis. “The joy is in the journey, as they say. And it really is.”

What about you?

Do you ever wish you started learning bass sooner? If you haven’t yet begun to learn bass, for real, what’s holding you back? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. And be sure to watch my interview with Luis here.

Comments on Want to learn bass? Just do it!

  1. Gregor says:


    1. Jon Liebman says:

      Thanks, Gregor. I’m glad you found it inspiring!

  2. John Pavlic says:

    I really like the way this course is laid out. I think my biggest problem in playing or attempting to play is that I reach a certain point in playing, then I just can’t get better no matter what I practice. Does this make sense?

    1. Jon Liebman says:

      John, the best thing is to set specific, reasonable, time-based goals that you can measure. Don’t try to do everything all a once. Instead of going for perfection right away, go for steady progress. You’ll see a huge difference!

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