I'm Matt. I've been playing the guitar in a mediocre manner for many years, and have just taken up the bass to play with a group of people that gather together and make music. Everyone else plays ukulele or guitar, so they advertised for a bassist and so far are willing to put up with me. Does anyone have a recommended software for making bass tabs? Or any other recommendation for a beginner bassist?
Hi Matt, and welcome.
I don't use software, just a Microsoft Notebook template I made. But in the past I've used Power Tab and Guitar Pro. Power Tab is free, and I learned quite a bit about the technical side of music – time signatures, note durations, tied notes, stuff like acciaccatura, ritardando – from that program than I ever did reading books on such things. Guitar Pro is a premium program, and aside from a more modern-looking interface and better sounding midi, there's really not a huge difference between it and Power Tab.
As for beginner recommendations, familiarize yourself with the fretboard. Learn what note falls on which fret, and learn how different notes relate with and to one another – in other words, learn scales. Plenty of bass players can get by chugging root notes and simply staying in key, but if you want to advance, ya gots ta learn scales.
Don't limit yourself to one style of music. You never know where you might find inspiration, so explore different genres. I'm mainly a metal and alt-rock guy, but some of my favorite bass lines are from R&B, rap, hip hop, country, pop…
Don't let anyone tell you real bassists don't use a pick. If you can stay in key, keep time and follow chord changes, doesn't matter whether you use your fingers or a pick – you're a real bassist.