I'm a firm believer in charts, patterns, graphs because I'm a visual learner. If you want to paste something on your bass, just make sure you can take it off when you no longer need it. Those that are not visual learners put little faith in this method. Take your choice.
The following deals with what are we looking for on our fretboard, i.e. notes or intervals.
Finding sheet music for the music I play, pop, rock and country is very easy if I use a fake chord or lead sheet format, however, finding sheet music for those styles - with the bass clef shown is hard to come by
So I rely upon the chord name as shown on those fake chord and lead sheets and make my own bass lines from that. I use the major scale "box" as a visual aid and then relate the box to the chord tones.
Be aware - this takes you down a road governed by interval numbers i.e. R-3-5-b7 and note names become secondary. As you will not be playing by rote - theory will enter the picture, i.e. you will be given the name of a chord and you have to know what notes are in that chord. http://www.smithfowler.org/music/Chord_Formulas.htm
Yes we have to know our fretboard, however, we first have to identify what we are looking for
, i.e. notes or intervals. Reading standard notation you need to find the note, reading fake chord or lead sheet music you need to find the intervals that make up the chord or scale you will be playing. If that did not sink in read it again.
Back to the "box".
Major scale box with note names shown
Major scale box with interval numbers shown
Key of G place the root on the E string 3rd fret.
Where is your 2? Two frets up the neck - same string.
Where is your 3? Up a string and back one fret.
Where is your 4? Up a string same fret.
Where is your 5? Up a string and over two frets.
Where is your 6? Up two strings and back one fret, over the 3.
Where is your 7? Up two strings and over one fret.
Where is your 8? Up two strings and over two frets. Right over the 5. Look how R-5-8-5 becomes a piece of cake.
Place the root then those intervals are always in the same spot within the box
and the box can be moved all over your fretboard. Yes, you need to put where they are within the box to memory.
Place your Root:
G root at the 4th string 3rd fret and you have G major scale notes waiting on you.
A root at the 4th string 5th fret and you have A major scale notes waiting on you. .
B root at the 4th string 7th fret yep, same thing.
C root at the 4th string 8th fret.
D root at the 4th string 10th fret.
Or use the 3rd string for the root. Move the whole pattern up intact from the 4th string to the 3rd string.
And your intervals are in the same spots relative to the root. Plus the Root is now on the 3rd string, the 4 is right above it on the 2nd string and the 5 is right below it on the 4th string. Is that neat or what. I IV V becomes very easy. You will find that some bass lines work best with the root on the 3rd string and others work best with the root on the 4th string. Sorry too much information.....
Again -- Be aware - this takes you down a road governed by interval numbers i.e. R-3-5-b7 and note names become secondary. Which begs the question; what kind of sheet music do you use. Are you looking for note names or intervals? If notes will you use first position or tonic root/scale location?
As always, have fun.