10 Easy Bass Riffs (Songs to Learn)
This is a list of songs featuring easy bass riffs for beginner bass players.
If you’re a beginner bassist, here are some ideas for which songs to learn, if you’re into learning new bass riffs.
Let’s get started!
Note: the songs are listed in no particular order.
Depending on your geolocation, some of the Youtube videos embedded will not be available at your location. Just search for the song title on Spotify, Apple Music or your favorite platform to listen to the songs.
#1 Gotye – Somebody That I Used to Know
This song is surprisingly fun to play on bass.
Even though it’s only a single riff that you repeat throughout the song, it is addictive and oddly satisfying to nail the groove just right.
There are ghost notes played in this bass line.
I’ve posted two lessons on how to play ghost notes on bass so that you can learn this useful technique:
Ghost (dead) notes on bass lesson
How to play ghost notes on bass
#2 Johnny Cash – I Walk the Line
This is such an iconic line that I’ve decided to include this song in the easy bass riffs collection I’ve put together here.
When the line is so memorable like this one, I classify it as a “riff”.
This bass line features root & 5th bass line, the staple of country music.
By the way, if you like Johnny Cash, check out my Country Bass – Johnny Cash Style bass course.
#3 Creedence Clearwater Revival: Fortunate Son
This is one of those basslines that demonstrate perfectly how a steady 8th notes pumping rock rhythm propels the whole band.
The steady 8th notes rock groove in the intro is one of the most recognizable bass intros by the way.
Chromatic bassline fills that are used for connecting chords in this song are what qualifies this song to be on the list of easy bass riffs.
If you need help learning how to play even eight notes on bass, check out my Bass Guitar 101 course where you get to practice that.
#4 The Temptations – Papa Was A Rolling Stone
This song is easy when it comes to fretting down the notes and plucking them.
It’s a classic riff that will help you get better at time keeping on bass.
With this bass riff – it’s all about getting down the timing, groove and syncopation.
#5 The Kinks – You Really Got Me
I remember hearing this song for the first time when I was a kid.
I was browsing the Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia on my PC, exploring rock ‘n’ roll music…
….and there it was – I was blown away when I heard the song.
There was just a short clip of it that immediately got me hooked!
This song features a classic easy to play riff that you simply must learn on bass.
#6 Gorillaz – Feel Good Inc.
Here’s another bouncy riff that’s great for developing time keeping skills.
For this one you need to find the pocket and get slightly behind the beat.
#7 The Rolling Stones – Anybody Seen My Baby
I loved playing this song with my band!
The riff is easy, addictive and it has this kind of question and answer kind of phrasing.
You might also want to tone down the bass line for this performance.
A great example of an involved bass line that’s performed with a smooth tone.
#8 Talking Heads – Psycho Killer
This is a great riff to practice staccato playing as well as quarter notes.
I cover quarter notes playing in my Bass Guitar 101 course.
#9 Black Sabbath – Iron Man
This classic riff is easy to play yet great for practicing playing different note durations.
As a beginner on bass, you need to get comfortable playing different note durations (whole notes, half notes, eighth notes), so this song is a great one to learn to get better at this, because it mixes in those nicely in a cool riff.
#10 The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army
The drummer in my band used to always play this song on my bass (he can’t play bass nor guitar otherwise).
I have to admit: I never learned how to play this song. 😊
But, it was a song that the drummer in my band would constantly play whenever he snatches my bass.
He would play it by using his thumb to fret down the notes.
So I’m putting this riff on a list as one of the easiest bass riffs to learn ever.
Hope you’ll find this list of beginner bass songs featuring cool riffs inspiring.
If you’re a beginner looking to learn new easy bass riffs, you can use this list for building your repertoire on bass.
Got a song to recommend? Email me.