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N0.21 Five Essential Scales for Bass Guitar

November 15, 2019


Hi, this is Greg from Greg’s Bass Shed, welcome to the lesson This is the fifth lesson in the bass beginner series And in this lesson, we’re going to look at five essential scales for bass players. So why are scales important? Well, they help us to construct bass lines, riffs, solos and fills on the bass Also, they’re crucial to have an understanding of harmony and chords. Obviously there are lots of other scales Other than these five scales but these are the essential ones that you’ll need to play in pop, rock, jazz, funk etc. All the modes are based on these scales So once you know the scales, you can learn the modes I’ve written out these five scales in PDF form if you’d like that then click the link in the description Remember to put your email address in before you press submit You’ll also find a bonus scale on there that I don’t cover in this lesson Okay, so scale number one, we’re gonna look at the major scale So to play the scale start with your second finger on the third fret of the A string and Then use four on the fifth fret so So fret numbers three and five and then on the next string on the D string use your first finger second finger and fourth finger, so fret numbers 2 3 5 Try that with me 3 4(counting) And then last of all we’re going to use fingers one three and four On the G string so frets two four and five So the whole scale With me three four(Counting) And then back down again So you’ll notice if you use one finger per fret and start with your second finger on C You don’t have to shift your hand at all. So you can play the whole scale in one position So with all scales you really need to learn the pattern of the scale And then you can transfer it to any key so you can you can start on any note You could just start say on a G up here So a major scale is a seven note scale And we’ve played a whole octave which means eight notes. So you might have noticed we ended up on the C again So that’s C there. It’s the same note but up an octave So eight notes higher. Now with all the scales you can run them all the way up and down the fretboard until you run out of frets. So to run the C major scale in two octaves, for example, if we start on to C here, so That’s the 8th fret of the E-string So that’s the first eight notes So when we get to the high-C instead of putting your little finger, if you shift again then start on your second finger and Then we have to shift to play here So all of that So that’s C major two octaves. Okay, scale number two, we’re gonna look at a minor scale again This has seven notes in it We’ll do C minor and we’re gonna look at the natural minor. There are a few different minor scales – Melodic minor where it changes on the way down and a Harmonic minor as well But we’ll look at the natural minor which stays the same So for the minor scales if you start with your first finger on C We’re going to stay in position the whole scale again now that you’ve started with your first finger. So we’re going to do fingers 1 3 & 4 and that’s fret numbers 3 5 & 6 on the A string and Then we repeat the same pattern on the D string with me one two(Counting) And then we just do one & four On the G-string So all of that With me three four(Counting) So the important note in the minor scale is the flat third so this note. So when we play the major it is actually Actually played that there, but it’s this note So it’s called a flat 3rd because it’s down a semitone or down a half note. So For a minor scale a major scale Or Okay, so that really defines the scale and when you have a minor chord that’s really what you can hear That note there. Right scale number three. We’re going to look at the minor pentatonic scale You’ve probably heard of a pentatonic scale Penta means five. So it’s a five note scale This is used in virtually all styles from rock blues funk jazz It’s a really popular scale and definitely along with the major scale, this is definitely the next important one to get your fingers around So this uses five notes So we’ll start on C again and the notes come from the minor scale. So we start in the same position so because it’s a minor we’ll start with our first finger on the root note, on C So we play C then the flat 3rd And that really gives the pentatonic the minor pentatonic it’s sound and it’s tonality Third fourth note of the minor scale fifth note of the minor scale and the seventh note of the minor scale So on A, use your first finger on the third fret and your 4th finger on the sixth fret And then on the D-string use your first finger on the third fret and your third finger on the fifth fret and Then on the G string use your first finger on the on the third fret and then you can go back to the C With me three four(Counting) So if you really nail that shape down, just get really comfortable, again you can just do that on any note So that’s probably a familiar sound to you, you can hear that in all styles of music. Okay, scale number four We’re going to look at the major pentatonic. So again, like the minor pentatonic this only has five notes And it’s based on the major scale So because it’s a major scale we’re gonna start with our second finger on C and do C major pentatonic. So if you use your second finger on the third fret and your 4th finger on the fifth fret and then the first finger on the second fret of the D string and your last finger on the fifth fret of D string so And then the same pattern on the G string So two four one four one four With me three four(Counting) If we take away the second note then it’s quite familiar blues walking line So the major pentatonic we use a lot for bass lines and the minor pentatonic more for riffs fills and for soloing. So the minor pentatonic works over a lot of chords and the major pentatonic we use over major chords So scale number five the last scale we are going to look out is the minor blues scale.
The note that really defines this scale is the flat five So C And that’s called the Blues note. So this scale is frequently used in lots of styles of music So as it’s a minor scale we’re going to start again with our first finger on the root note on C and Finger one, finger four so on the A string that’s fret number three and fret number six and then onto the D string one two, three finger numbers fret numbers 3 4 5 And then 1 & 3 fret numbers 3 & 5 So with me three four(Counting) So the minor blue scale is very similar to the minor pentatonic scale, you’ve just got this extra blues note So it’s just about context really. If you want that bluesy sound to it Then you’d use the Blues Scale, if you don’t you’ll use the pentatonic. So that’s our five essential scales for the bass guitar and remember to download the PDF by clicking the link in the description and then practice all these scales really slowly at first so you can get the shape under your fingers Don’t just rush up and down the fretboard Once you’ve really got the patterns under your fingers then you can try them a bit faster and also start on different notes. So with the C major scale Try that on B for example on the E string You can start on G on the A string So mix it around playing different places on the neck and if you’re playing up here It’s useful because then you can practice you can do some fills up there that really cut through(the mix) So as I said at the beginning of the video These scales are essential for constructing bass lines, fills, solos and riffs Once you’re familiar with their sound then you’ll start hearing them everywhere So for example the riff at the end of the verse of, I shot the sheriff That’s just, that’s in G that’s just a minor pentatonic in G Sweet child of mine at the end of the solo. There’s a really nice riff So that’s in E-flat. The sixth fret on the A string. That’s just a minor blues scale Sunshine of Your Love by Cream That’s, again that’s a blue scale, a minor blues scale on D Bullet in the head by Rage Against The Machine, I’m gonna actually do a whole lesson on this because it’s a great bassline You’ve got some 7th chords in there and you’ve got pentatonic scales So on E Again just a minor blue pentatonic. It doesn’t use the fifth note but uses all the others So have a listen to lots of music and see if you can hear Pentatonic and blue scales. The next lesson in the Bass Beginner Series is going to be on arpeggios and chord tones. In this lesson You’ll learn to pick out the important, defining notes of the scale to outline the chord without using all the notes of the scale. I’m also bringing a lesson out of five classic bass riffs that use a pentatonic scale So subscribe to the channel if you haven’t already and you won’t miss out on these new videos If you need any help with your scales or the content of this video then please post below as I’ll check those regularly and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can Well download the PDF and keep practicing. This is Greg from Greg’s Bass Shed. See you next week

2 Comments

  • Reply russ walker January 11, 2019 at 3:33 pm

    hmmm entered email…but did not see the expected pdf…. ?

  • Reply Starrchild65 January 15, 2019 at 11:32 pm

    [email protected]

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