If you are new to bass guitar, your probably wondering "where do I begin?" I have found a good starting point is found within the chords the guitar player is playing, mainly the root note of the chord. Let's assume the guitar player is playing a simple 1,4,5 chord progression, in the key of A. That means the chords he or she will be playing will be the 1 chord (A), the 4 chord (D), and the 5th chord (E). So you, as a bass player just starting out want to focus on those three chords, and play the root note of each chord. Here is a very simple example using open strings to get you started.
----A ROOT NOTE________D ROOT NOTE_____E ROOT NOTE______
Now let's try playing the exact same combination of root notes, but in different positions on the bass fretboard.
____A root note__________D root note________E root note______
Again, we are simply playing the root note of the chord the guitar player is playing, switching root notes as he or she switches chords. By the way, this pattern above is your basic 1,4,5 chord progression pattern, and is a moveable pattern. To play this same pattern in the key of G, the chords would be 1 chord (G), 4 chord (C), and 5 chord (D). Here is an example of the same pattern but in the key of g;
______G root note___________C root note______D root note_______
The pattern is simple, play any root note on the low E string, now move down one string and play the note at the same fret, now move down two frets and play the note at that fret.
Here is one more pattern you could use, making use of root notes. This pattern is not moveable because it uses open notes. But this will add one more option to playing along with a guitar player as you begin your journey on the bass guitar.
_A root note__________D root nore__________E root note__
This is pretty simple stuff, but it will get you started so you can play along side a guitar player, and its good if you can find someone who is just starting out on guitar so the two of you can practice and learn together. I will be adding a second lesson titled PLAYING OCTAVES ON A BASS GUITAR soon, until then, practice, learn, and have fun with your instrument.