Centre Opening Times

Colwell Arts Centre is now open on a strict appointment-only basis. To collect, return or exchange an instrument, please contact us at glosmusic@gloucestershire.gov.uk to make an appointment.

Bass guitar

When to start:

School year 3 onwards. Short scale guitars are available although the most common full-size instrument is 34 inches long. To find the correct size for a new player check the second and fourth finger can cover the distance between the third and fifth fret on ONE string. Placing the thumb in the middle of the back of the neck while pointing it towards the ceiling. The most common version has 4 strings, but 5 and 6 string instruments are sometimes used.


Sets of strings cost from £13 and can last a long time with care. Hire: Gloucestershire Music do not hire bass guitars.


From about £130 with amp. Before you buy try these basic checks:

  • Volume control and tone controls do not produce crackle when connected to the amplifier.
  • The neck has no pits or bowing.
  • Strings produce no buzz when played on EVERY fret at either low amplification or unplugged




The bass guitar is more straightforward to learn than other types of guitar in the early stages. For students who like to join in but don’t necessarily like to play solos it is ideal. Every pop or rock band needs a bass player!


Size and weight can be a problem with younger/ smaller students, but this should normally not be too much of a problem given the availability of smaller sized instruments.

Help us improve Gloucestershire music

Don’t include personal or financial information like your National Insurance number or credit card details.