The Bass Clef: An Overview

When it comes to learning about musical clefs, there are a few essential ones that you’ll need to know about in music theory. In this post we’re going to be taking a look at a clef that’s used by instruments that play in the lower register: The Bass Clef.

What is the bass clef?

The bass clef

The bass clef is a type of musical clef used by instruments that play low pitched notes. It’s also known as the F clef as it loops and wraps itself around the note F on a stave. It also has two small dots either side of the 2nd line of the stave to show us which note is F.

The F clef

Over the years it’s evolved from originally being written as a letter F through lots of different variations to what we know it as today.

The bass clef history

What instruments use the bass clef?

Lots of different instruments use the bass clef to read music. Instruments like:

  • Double basses 
  • Tubas
  • Bassoons
  • The left hand of the piano

Bass clef notes

To help you memorise and learn these notes we can split them up into the lines and the spaces like we did with the treble clef notes For the notes on the lines you can use the phrase:

Great Britain Doesn’t Fight America

Great Britain Doesn’t Fight America

There are a few other mnemonics you could use: Good Boys Deserve Fudge Always – or: Great Big Dogs Frighten Auntie

And lastly, for the notes in the spaces I use the phrase:

All Cows Eat Grass

All Cows Eat Grass


I hope that helps make a bit more sense of the bass clef. If you have any questions that I haven’t covered here just post a comment below and I’ll respond!

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