How to Warm-Up on the Bass Guitar with Right-Hand Accents - dummies

By Patrick Pfeiffer

The following steps take you one step closer to creating music on your bass guitar and introduces accents into your playing. For musicians, accents refer to making some of the notes you play stick out from the rest.

Accenting a note means making it slightly louder than the others. To accent a note, just strike the string slightly harder. Being able to control the volume of each note allows you to accent some, which makes your bass line more interesting.

Don’t accent a note too hard, though. If you strike a string too forcefully, the sound becomes distorted, and the tone leaves much to be desired. (It also quickly tires out your hands.)

Follow these steps to accent a note correctly with either striking finger:

  1. Start playing the E string with the alternating i and m fingers of your right hand.

  2. Accent only the notes you strike with your i finger.

  3. After you get comfortable using your i finger, accent only the notes you strike with your m finger.

  4. Repeat this exercise on the A string, and then move on to the D string and G string.

    You want to familiarize yourself with all the strings, because each string has a slightly different feel.

When you’re comfortable accenting with either finger, put the previous instructions into exercise form by following these steps:

  1. Play evenly, alternating between your i and m fingers.

    Think of this as a four-note sequence where you play i m i m.

  2. Accent the first note of each sequence (the underlined i), making it I m i m, i m i m i, m i m, and so on.

  3. When you have a handle on playing i m i m, start the sequence with m, making it m i m i.

  4. Accent the first note again (this time, the underlined m), making the sequence m i m i, m i m i, m i m i, and so on.

  5. Repeat the preceding steps on all the strings.


Notice how the accented notes are still within a certain range of volume; they aren’t distorted. Check out Track 4. Your notes should always sound clear and controlled. This exercise sounds the same using either finger, which is, of course, the idea.