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2 Basic Bass Guitar Scales

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2 Basic Bass Guitar Scales

good looking bass playerI'd like to show you the two basic bass guitar scales; the minor and the major. With these two scales you can play the vast majority of popular music songs be they rock, metal, country or any of their offspring. But first a tiny bit of music theory.

Here are the notes we use in Western music: do, do#, re, re#, mi, fa, fa#, sol, sol#, la, la#, ti…and that will bring us back to do! The ones with the sharp (#) symbol can also be expressed as the flat (b) of the note that follows it; fa# = solb, for example. Each whole note, that is the ones that are neither sharp nor flat, can also be designated by a number. Do = 1, re = 2, mi = 3 and so forth.

A major chord (the happy sounding ones) is formed with three notes; the 1, 3 and 5 or put another way, do, mi, sol. If you strum a G chord on your guitar you play six strings but only three notes. From top to bottom the notes are G,B,D,G,B*,G: a G chord is made up of the notes G,B and D. (*Note that you could fret the open B string at the third fret, playing a D note, and the chord would still be correct; try it, you'll like the sound.)

A minor chord (those that sound forlorn) takes the form of 1, 3b, 5. A Gminor chord then is composed of the notes G, Bb and D.

I never learned any of this as a guitar player, But when I began playing bass someone suggested I learn that bit of music theory and playing major and minor bass guitar scale suddenly became rather easy. Here's how these bass guitar scales would look on the neck:

 

|----------|----------|----------|----------|

|----------|----------|----------|----------|

|----------|---3-----|----------|---5------| Major Scale; 1, 3, 5

|----------|----------|---R-----|----------|

 

|----------|----------|----------|----------|

|----------|----------|----------|----------|

|---3b----|----------|----------|---5-----| Minor Scale; 1, 3b, 5

|----------|----------|---R-----|----------|

 

Okay, there are the two most basic bass guitar scales. Play around with them, play along with some songs and soon you'll be a bass player and never worry about finding a gig again!

 

 

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