Bass Guitar Exams

These officially accredited and internationally recognised exams offer a formal recognition of the specific talents of bass guitar players.

Exam Levels

Nine exam grades are available, ranging from Step (for beginners) up to Grade 8 (for aspiring professional musicians). A range of professional Bass Guitar Teaching Diplomas is available. Find out more from the Exam Information Booklet.

Bass Guitar Performance Awards

Candidates who prefer not to take a full grade exam can instead opt for a Bass Guitar Performance Award, which focuses entirely on the performance of bass patterns and basslines. Performance Awards can be performed at an exam centre, or alternatively candidates can submit a video recording of themselves playing the pieces.

See our Bass Guitar Performance Awards webpage for more information.

Exam Content

The exams are designed to develop the skills a bass guitarist needs to play in a rock band or pop group. Topics covered in the grade exams include: developing bass lines; utilising bass patterns; scales & arpeggios; improvisation; contemporary music theory and ear training.

There is no requirement to read traditionally notated music as all music is written in easy-to-read TAB, as well as traditional notation.

Download an Exam Information Booklet to see the requirements of each grade.

What Happens During An Exam?

The examiner will begin by asking you to play a selection of scales and arpeggios. After this the examiner will ask you which bass pattern you have selected; he will then show you a chord chart and ask you to play through the chord progression using that bass pattern (with variations after the first sequence).

Next the examiner will show you another chord chart - but this time he will play through it once on guitar whilst you listen, then you should improvise a bass line over further playings. After this, the examiner will ask you a few spoken questions to test your musical knowledge and knowledge of the instrument.

The exam will conclude with the examiner testing your 'ear for music' by giving you a selection of aural assessments. At Grades 6-8 you will be asked to perform your chosen specialism.

Exam Handbooks

RGT@LCM publishes a course handbook to accompany each exam which provides full explanations and examples of all the information required for each grade. These are available from many good music/book stores or online at the LCM online shop.

Benefits of Taking an RGT@LCM Exam

  • Gain a useful and internationally recognised qualification.
  • Find out, via a reliable and independent assessment, what standard your playing is.
  • Achieve your playing potential by setting yourself a clear target to aspire to.
  • Preparing for the exam will help you develop all aspects of your playing in a structured way, increase your knowledge of bass guitar techniques and music theory.

Exam Accreditation

RGT@LCM bass guitar exams are organised by London College of Music Exams (one of the world's most respected music examination boards, established since 1887) and certificated by University Of West London, resulting in a recognised standard by which the skills and abilities of bass guitarists can be assessed.

RGT@LCM graded exams, from Grade One onwards, are regulated by Ofqual and have been placed on the Qualifications and Credit Framework. UCAS points towards university entrance are awarded from Grade 6 onwards.

The RGT@LCM bass guitar exams are endorsed by a range of eminent bass guitarists including Sir Paul McCartney, Neil Murray (Black Sabbath, Whitesnake, Gary Moore, Brian May, Peter Green), John Illsley (Dire Straits) and Suzi Quatro.


General Enquiries: 020 8231 2751 -
Membership Enquiries: 020 8231 2055 -

RGT@LCM, University of West London, St Mary's Road, London W5 5RF


Honorary Patrons

Sir Paul McCartney, David Gilmour, Hank Marvin, Ronnie Wood, Suzi Quatro, Carlos Bonell, Neil Murray, Gordon Giltrap, John Etheridge, John Illsley, Glenn Tilbrook, Dave Kelly

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