My Approach to Bluegrass Bass

Upright bass lessons from a legendary artist.

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Are you looking to learn about bluegrass music and acoustic bass playing?

Check out this short video to hear how we can help.

My Approach to Bluegrass Bass is an online course presented by the 15x Grammy award-winning bassist, Barry Bales.

This course is designed to teach you how to play bluegrass on the upright bass! It comprises 33 lessons over more than 2 hours and covers a wide range of topics on bluegrass bass playing.

Barry Bales in the Studio

Barry Bales in the Studio

This course features eight classic bluegrass songs performed with a mandolin (or banjo) and guitar accompaniment. We have also recorded play-along tracks of each song with three mixes:

  • Full band
  • Mandolin or banjo and guitar
  • Solo upright bass

Detailed transcriptions of Barry Bales’ bluegrass bass lines are included in the course (sheet music with standard notation). There are 36 pages of sheet music, so you will have everything you need to practice at home.

This course is available to stream online, exclusively at Discover Double Bass.


Barry Bales
Barry Bales

Barry Bales has been a member of Alison Krauss and Union Station for over 30 years, as well as appearing on countless albums with artists such as Dolly Parton, Dwight Yoakam, Merle Haggard, Reba McEntire, Vince Gill, Willie Nelson and soundtracks including "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou". As a world-renowned bassist, Barry is the winner of 15 Grammy awards, 23 International Bluegrass Music Association awards, a Country Music Association Award and two Academy of Country Music awards.


This course is perfect for those who want to learn Barry Bales' personal approach to bluegrass bass!

What will I learn?

The 33 video lessons cover a wide range of topics on bluegrass and country bass playing. These include:

  • Walk-ups
  • Runs and licks
  • Bass lines
  • Playing at fast tempos
  • Playing with a band
  • Intonation
  • Playing waltz-time songs and ballads
  • Basic upright bass techniques
  • ...and much more!

Many of the topics are demonstrated using eight classic bluegrass songs Bill Cheatham, Banks of the Ohio, Red River Valley, In the Pines, Billy in the Low Ground, Wild Bill Jones and Train 45 and Bluegrass Blues.

Barry Bales is known in Nashville and beyond as the first-call bassist in country and bluegrass music. Renowned for his huge, warm sound as well as his tasteful bass lines. If you want to learn bluegrass and upright bass skills from a seasoned pro, you won't find a better fit!


  Course Introduction
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  Course Conclusion
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Want to check out a free preview lesson? Click here.


Detailed transcriptions of Barry Bales' bass lines are included in standard notation. These PDFs are displayed on the lesson pages and can be downloaded if required.

Here's what's being said about Barry Bales:

"Barry has played bass on some of my best records."

- Dolly Parton, country music legend

"Whether you are just starting on your musical journey or have been around for a while, this course taught by one of the great bluegrass players of our time is totally worth your time."

- Bruce Swartz

"The beauty and simplicity of the Bluegrass Bass course is presented by studio pro Barry Bales, a master of roots/bluegrass music. I like the diversity of the bass instruction styles offered through DDB. Everything from jazz to orchestra styles (thanks Geoff) and the Bluegrass course. Learning a collage of music styles on the bass is an adventure!"

- Mike S.

"Very enjoyable! When I started playing double bass in the mid seventies, a local bluegrass group was the first band I joined. After the first rehearsal I went out and bought the fantastic triple LP 'Will the Circle be Unbroken' and learnt pretty much every track on it. A wonderful introduction and a crash course at the same time. My love for bluegrass is undiminished to this day. Barry Bales' course was a great reminder of how incredibly important timing and economy is in that kind of music."

- Kjell Lund Madsen

"I enjoyed the course. It was well done and easy to follow."

- Verl Dasher

Play-Along Tracks:

We also provide play-along tracks performed by Barry's band, so you can practice with the full group, mandolin or banjo and guitar only, or solo upright bass. The band comprises three of Nashville's first-call musicians, Justin Moses on banjo and mandolin, Jeff White on guitar and of course, Barry Bales on bass!

These play-along audio tracks can be played from the lesson's pages or be downloaded.

- Jeff White & Justin Moses

Start Learning!

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
Will the course work on a tablet?
Yes, all of our courses can be viewed via an internet browser on any device. However, please note an up-to-date operating system and/or browser may be required for video playback.
Can I download the videos?
No, they are only available to view online. However PDFs of the transcriptions are available to download.
Can I ask Barry Bales questions?
Barry Bales isn't available to answer questions, but we do include membership to the 'Study Group', a private forum hosted on our website in which you can ask Geoff Chalmers and our community of double bassists questions.
What format is the sheet music in?
We offer all sheet music on Discover Double Bass in standard notation and don't include TAB.

Our courses are only available on and include a 30 day, no questions asked, full refund policy.

Have questions or need help? Contact us.