Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced bass player, there are more than a handful of gadgets you should own to make your life easier. This guide will discuss essential bass accessories that should be a part of all bassists’ toolkits and will help you find them if you don’t have them already.
Table of Contents
Whether you play guitar or bass, a tuner is one of the most useful devices you can own. Sure, learning how to tune by ear is an excellent skill to have, but that comes with time and experience.
In addition, it will save you a lot of time and frustration trying to figure out why your bass doesn’t sound right. A lot of the time, you’ll be in the right direction, but just a bit off where it’s noticeable.
- 3-in-1 Device: The MetroPitch combines a Tuner, a Metronome, and a Tone Generator, all housed in a pocket-sized device. The included carrying pouch makes for easy transport to your next gig or practice.
- Versatile Tuner: The fast and accurate tuner boasts a wide range of A0-C8, various tuning modes, transposition settings, and pitch calibration. So whichever instrument you play, it’s got you covered!
The bass is the glue that holds the band together, and the majority of the time, you’ll be locking in with your drummer. Developing a solid sense of rhythm and time is very important for all musicians, but since you’re actively a part of the rhythm section, you’ll need to spend plenty of time working on it.
Therefore, you’ll want to practice with a metronome to know how to play in time, making you sound better than any effects pedal out there.
Check out my guide to some of the best metronomes where you can find an affordable one today. They’re one of the best investments you can make and will take your playing to the next level if you practice with them consistently.
There will be times when you need to transport your instrument around, such as when you need to get a repair or a setup or to jam with your friends, to name a couple of examples, and to keep your instrument safe and secure, you’ll want to pick up some type of case to store it when you’re on the move.
Naturally, hard cases are more durable and offer more protection than a soft gig bag, but the latter can be sufficient, and if you’re on a budget, you can find nice padded bass gig bags that get the job done.
- Lightweight Portable Electric Bass Guitar Gig Bag: Bag dimension 48.8”x16.1”x2.3”, upper bout 14.2”, lower bout 16.1”, designed for 43 inch and full size 46 inch Electric Bass Guitar. Fits Precision and Jazz Bass Style Bass Guitars. NOTE: this guitar bag is too small to hold an acoustic bass guitar. To make sure you buy what you want, please compare our bag’s dimension with the guitar’s first to see how it will look.
Having a stand of some sort is one of the simplest accessories that you can have, and it offers a lot more than you think, aside from just a place to store your bass guitar.
You can keep your guitar in a case and store it there when you’re done playing, but a stand is more convenient, especially if you own multiple instruments. If you have your bass in a place where it’s easy to access, you’ll be able to simply pick up and play, which will lead to you practicing more often.
If you have a bass, it can be tough to hear how you genuinely sound without having something that produces a tone for you, and that’s precisely what an amp is for.
Of course, you can technically play without an amp, but you’ll improve much faster by having one because you can get a better picture of what your playing sounds like and find things to improve upon. You’ll also want to get a real bass amp and not a regular guitar amp.
I have compiled a list of excellent practice amps for bass that you can find for pretty cheap that sound great for their price. Be sure to check that out to see if there’s one that interests you – all kinds are suited for different styles and come with multiple features for you to enjoy.
- The Fender Rumble 15 V3 Bass Amplifier features 15 watts, 11.61Dx17.91Wx17.13H inches
- Its 15 watt output and 8 inch Fender Special Design speaker make no quality compromises and yield a show-quality sound
- The top-mount control panel features ivory “soft touch radio” control knobs
- The compact and lightweight sealed enclosure has a removable grille
- 2 Year Limited Warranty: Fender amplifiers are designed for players and built with unmatched quality, down to the last screw—Fender warrants this amplifier to be free from defects in materials and workmanship for two (2) years from original purchase
It doesn’t make much sense to have a bass or an amp if you can’t connect them together, so you’ll need to get a reliable instrument cable with a decent length so you can get some sound coming out. There isn’t a whole lot to say about cables since their job is pretty straightforward, but you’ll want to try to get one that’s reliable.
Also, if you decide to pick up some bass pedals, some extra cables, mainly small patch cables, can come in handy too. They’ll save you some space rather than using ones that are too long for your needs.
An underrated accessory by many, but I personally think it’s incredibly advantageous and can help you get a lot of mileage from your playing is a pair of headphones that you can plug into your amplifier.
Many amps these days have a headphone jack that supports a ¼-inch connection, and by using one, you can practice in private at all hours without disturbing anyone. Basses can be noisy and even worse with an amp, and by taking out that variable from your practice sessions, you can get in a lot more playtime if you don’t have to worry about making a racket.
- Bass Sound: Enjoy the clear sound and supreme comfort with the OneOdio FUSION headphones. Neodymium magnets drivers deliver powerful bass and clear details, great for playing musical instrument like guitar, e-drum, and listening music etc.
- Built to Stay Comfortable: The soft padded ear cushions are specifically designed for monitor headphones comfort and noise isolation. The headband is adjustable and stretchable for you to find the desired angle you like to fit in.
Sure, you might spend the majority of your time practicing sitting down, but it’s also worth dedicating a bit of it to standing up, and to do that, you’ll want to invest in a comfortable but durable strap. Who knows, maybe you’ll actually prefer playing while standing up!
I’ve selected a handful of the best bass straps that should serve you well, no matter what your budget is. Typically, they run for around 20 to 50 dollars depending on the model, so you’re bound to find something that works for you.
Bass strings don’t break as often as guitar strings, and they tend to last considerably longer, but there will come a time when you’ll need to replace them eventually.
Some people like to extend the lifespan of their strings by boiling them in water, but this isn’t exactly the same as getting a fresh set of strings on your bass, so you’ll want to have some available when you need them most. I love getting the Ernie Ball Regular Slinkys for my four- and 5-string basses because they’re affordable, reliable, and sound great.
- Ernie Ball Bass Slinkys are played by legendary bands around the world including Tool, Rage Against the Machine, Zac Brown Band, Green Day, and Avenged Sevenfold
- Regular Slinky’s 50-to-105 gauge is one of the most popular 4-string bass gauges
- Rich, balanced tone
- Element Shield Packaging prolongs string life and keeps strings as fresh as the day they were made
- Made in California, USA with the freshest and finest materials
Over time, grime and dirt will accumulate on your fretboard, fingerprints may begin to cover your guitar’s finish, and dust and debris will probably get trapped around the pickups and other hardware. So, if you want your bass to look, play, and sound its best, a nice cleaning kit will make it simple to tidy up.
In addition to cleaning supplies such as guitar polish, fretboard oil, microfiber cloths, and a string cutter, you should also consider getting some tools to make basic adjustments. This kit from Elagon has everything you need, and I highly recommend it, but there are other products like the Music Nomad stuff, you should take a look at, too, if you get the chance to do so.
“What About This?”
The bass guitar accessories in this article are vital for various reasons, but I know some of you reading may have felt that I’ve left something out that you would have put in, such as your favorite pedal. Let me explain why starting with pedals.
Pedals are often a mainstay in many bass players’ rigs, especially bass overdrives, compression, flanger, octave, EQ, and many others, but are they truly essential?
There are a few of them that are extremely impactful, such as bass EQ and compression, and can be an integral part of your sound, but in my opinion, there are far more critical accessories out there, and having pedals won’t impact your ability to practice and perform.
No matter the instrument of choice, guitar and bass pedals can definitely inspire players, but they are not essential for everyone, especially beginners.
Another cool accessory that millions of guitarists and bassists love is the fretwrap, which can help clean up your sound. While this sounds fantastic and an excellent solution for unwanted string noise, I don’t think it’s necessary because new and intermediate players should focus on dialing in their technique, particularly muting.
I believe that advanced players will get the most out of fretwraps, and I think they’re a must-have for those who are recording. If you’d like to learn more about fretwraps, I’ve written an entire guide that covers their benefits and why you should consider getting one if you’ve been playing for a while.
And last but not least… picks! For some people, these are a must (including me!), but many people play fingerstyle exclusively and don’t need bass picks. However if you’re interested in some reasons why bassists should give picks a chance and why a lot of players love them, check out my guide to some of the advantages of using a pick for bass playing.
There are a lot of fun and useful gadgets out there, but if you’re looking for the most indispensable accessories for a bass guitar, this list has got it all.
Hopefully, my recommendations and other resources that I’ve dedicated to talking about these tools will help you pick up exactly what you need so that you can be equipped with the essentials. While you’ll use some things more frequently than others if you play electric bass, you’ll need all of these at some point, and it’s best to be prepared.