During the holiday season, Christmas songs fill the airwaves, and as a musician, it’s hard not to be inspired to play them yourself. While Christmas songs are typically not played on the bass guitar, I’ve found that some of them lend themselves quite well to bass arrangements.
The warm and smooth low notes of the bass guitar are perfect for slow and calm Christmas songs, while the high staccato notes can bring out a groovy and cheerful vibe in the more upbeat tunes. With that in mind, I’ve arranged five popular Christmas songs specifically for the bass guitar. These songs have been chosen to be on the easier side, so regardless of your skill level, you’ll be able to enjoy playing them.
Not only are these songs fun to play, but they can also help decrease stress and improve your mood. So, learning these Christmas songs on the bass won’t just be enjoyable, but it’ll also be beneficial for your well-being. Let’s dive into the songs!
Silent Night is a classic Christmas song that sounds remarkably like a bass line. With its slow tempo, sustained notes, and simple fills, it could easily pass as the bassline of a slow ballad. I’ve created a transcription that emphasizes the deep notes, allowing you to showcase the warm and dark tones of your bass guitar. This song is played in a 3/4 waltz rhythm, making it an excellent introduction to this time signature if you’re unfamiliar with it. Silent Night is beginner-friendly, thanks to its slow speed and emphasis on long notes. If you’re looking for a non-challenging Christmas song to learn quickly, you can’t go wrong with Silent Night.
We Wish You A Merry Christmas
If you’re in the mood for an upbeat Christmas song, We Wish You A Merry Christmas is a great choice. This song, also in 3/4 time, is simple yet enjoyable to play on the bass guitar. The rhythm combines quarter and eighth notes, giving the melody a pleasant flow without feeling repetitive or boring. What’s more, the fingerings required for this song are quite simple, with most of the notes falling around the 2nd and 3rd frets. You can even play this song with just two fingers. So, if you’re a beginner looking for an easy and cheerful Christmas song, We Wish You A Merry Christmas is perfect for you.
Carol Of The Bells
For those seeking a darker Christmas vibe, try out this bass arrangement of Carol Of The Bells. This song revolves around a simple four-note motif that is incredibly catchy and likely to stick in your head until Easter. The difficulty level of this song is similar to We Wish You A Merry Christmas, although the middle part is slightly more challenging. While you’ll need to move across the fretboard a bit more, the finger patterns remain fairly simple. There are a few melodic shifts that require focus, but they mainly utilize the open A and D strings, making it easier for your fretting hand. To keep the bassline engaging, I’ve emphasized repeating the melodic interlude in my solo arrangement. Feel free to add more repetitions if it makes the song more enjoyable for you.
Joy To The World
If you want to explore the higher range of your bass guitar, give Joy To The World a try. The main melody of this classic tune has plenty of variation, making it ideal for a solo bass piece. Playing it high up on the fretboard enhances the upbeat feel of the song and brings out its structure. Despite the melodic complexity, this song is relatively easy to play. The melody primarily moves in half and whole steps, and the finger patterns are intuitive, with notes always close to each other. Rhythmically, it can be a bit tricky due to the dotted notes, so practicing with a metronome can help you nail the timing. Joy To The World is a joyful Christmas bass song that allows you to showcase the higher notes of your bass guitar.
For those looking for a slightly more challenging tune, try playing Jingle Bells. If it had a higher tempo, the vocal line of this song could easily pass as a fun punk bass line. With its fast pace and rapid succession of the same note, it has a punk-rock energy. However, be mindful of keeping the strings dampened and muted as the melody shifts between open and fretted notes. The unplayed open strings can ring out and disrupt the sound of the piece. It’s beneficial to start by playing Jingle Bells slowly, gradually building up speed while maintaining control. This song offers small melodic variations that give it a bass fill-like quality. Have fun exploring the punk side of Christmas with Jingle Bells!
Remember, playing Christmas songs on the bass guitar is not only a fun activity but also a way to spread joy during the holiday season. So, grab your bass, choose your favorite Christmas song, and let the festive melodies fill the air. Enjoy the holiday spirit with your bass guitar this season!