How to Play Your First Song on the Bass Guitar While Reading Music

It's about time to apply all the theoretical stuff and play some music on your bass guitar, wouldn't you say? With sheet music, you usually get one or two different notational devices to work with, such as notes and tablature, or a chord chart and a vocal chart. Behold, here is a special treat for you.

You get to read and play “Two Too Tight Shoes Blues,” using all four notational systems in the same song. The first part is written as regular music notation with tablature underneath so you can play the intended bass part. The vocal chart is included with the chords written above the words. Finally, you get to play with the chord chart, which shows you the chords for each measure.

Listen to this to familiarize yourself with “Two Too Tight Shoes Blues.” Then look at the notation to see what the sound looks like. When you're ready, pick up your bass and play along with the song on the audio track.

Make sure to keep your eyes glued to the page; this exercise is about reading and playing at the same time. When you're comfortable with the song, pan the bass out of the mix and play the song with the track on your own.

A word of advice: If you intend to make reading and playing music your new bedtime-reading activity, make sure you don't crank the amp and keep your entire household up until 2 a.m.

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