Just being able to rip through a bunch of different bass guitar riffs will not make you an expert bassist. In fact, it may not even be enough to get you into a band. It can, however, be a great way to emulate your favorite musicians, and add extra practice time. The more time playing, the better you’ll sound.
For many of these riffs you’ll need to know how to read basic guitar tablature. Andrew Pouska has a great overview article on the topic called “How to Read Bass Tab“. If you don’t know tabs yet, or are a little rusty, we recommend you check out that article before looking at the tabs we’ll list out later in this article.
The first set of riffs we’ll go through are from TalkingBass. This is a great resource for bassists of all levels. The video below has Mark J. Smith go through (with great detail) the following riffs.
1. Another One Bites the Dust – Queen
2. Stand By Me – Ben E. King
3. Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
4. Come As You Are – Nirvana
5. Sunshine of Your Love – Cream
The next nine riffs are covered in our second video. This video moves much quicker and you might need to slow it down or watch it a few times to learn the notes.
1. No More Tears – Ozzy Osbourne
2. How Many More Times – Led Zepplin
3. Love Buzz – Nirvana
4. Under Pressure – Queen / David Bowie
5. Bullet In the Head – Rage Against the Machine
6. Stay Away – Nirvana
7. Rocket Queen – Guns N’ Roses
8, Fools Gold – Stone Roses
9, Lounge Act – Nirvana
There you have it! 14 solid, basic riffs that really sound good. Regardless whether you’re just learning the bass or have been playing for years; these will provide a good foundation to sharpen your skills.
If you rip through these and still want more, go to SmartBassGuitar. This list of 9 easy bass lines are a bit more obscure but provide some great learning opportunities. Best part, your friends probably won’t know them!