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2 Octave chromatics on bass? HOW?!

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by MistaMarko, May 30, 2007.

  1. MistaMarko


    Feb 3, 2006
    How in the world do you do 2-octave chromatic scales on bass? Every way I seem to try it I end up having to play 6-8 notes on 1 string which is impossible to do with a tempo. Anyone know how?
  2. B to B, two octaves:


    right? I thnk that's all chromatic.

    4 fingers per string, then move up a string and down a 1/2 step, 4 fingers, etc.

    That's how i've managed that before.
  3. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    Slide one the notes on each string and you're done.
    You can even do it on a single string, unless I have no idea what you're talking about.
  4. middy


    Mar 14, 2007
    That's one octave, stedtale.

    F to F

                                         4-5 6 7 8-9-10
                            3-4 5 6 7-8
                2-3 4 5 6-7
    1-2 3 4 5-6
    I'd slide my index and my pinkie (where the dashes are.) Yeah, you'll have to do three slides on the last string.

    Luckily, I can't think of a single song in which a 2 octave chromatic run would be useful. ;)
  5. Jeff Moote

    Jeff Moote Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    Beamsville, ON, Canada
    I played Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture earlier this year, and there's a fairly quick 2 octave chromatic run - not a "song" but it's relevant nonetheless, and since the DB has a ~41" mensur, you shouldn't have any trouble on a 34" scale BG.

    It's all about shifting. This talk of sliding is bunk if you want it to sound consistent all the way up. Just play 3 or 4 note groupings and practice shifting. Playing at least 1 octave of this on a single string should be no trouble.
  6. D'oh! Good catch!

    yeah two octaves.....

    My bad, I use a 6er, so I just wrote it down-on six it works great.

    G-G-G two octaves :)


    Not so much on 4, without a huge shift. :D

    on four:

    B-B-B two octaves


    Now I've got it. :D I think :D

    No very usable.....on 4
  7. middy


    Mar 14, 2007
    I didn't mean sliding the note, just shifting your fingers, plucking every note. Thanks for pointing that out, it's an important difference.
  8. That's true, with the right shifting, doing an octave on one string, even on DB, isn't that bad, just takes practice.

    So this is doable w/ work, this is the way, I would do it:

    "/" = shift; fingerings=1,2,3,4 shift up 1,2,3,4 shift back and up a string 1,2,3,4

    F-F-F two octaives (and up to the next C)

  9. Scot


    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    You're not going to be able to play a two-octave scale on a 4-string without some serious shifting. Even if you start on the low E you're still going to have to make it up from the low "F" on your "E" string to the "E" on your "G" string at the 9th fret. What you can do is use an open string(s) to give you a chance to jump up in to a higher position:

    finger 1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4

    With your 4th finger on that C#/Db note you can now proceed with the usual 5-note-per-string fingering up to the "E" on the "G" string with the 4th finger.

    There are many fingering possibilities and you can use any or all of the open strings.

    The good news is that we'll rarely (if ever) need to play a two-octave chromatic scale in a real playing situation. :D
  10. Jeff Moote

    Jeff Moote Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    Beamsville, ON, Canada
    I wouldn't say that's an unusual ammt of shifting. It's just the nature of the 4 string that unless you're playing R-5 patterns all night you'll be doing a lot of shifting.

    Well I didn't have to work very hard to give one example, and that's a very popular piece of music. We needn't talk strictly about chromatic runs either - there are often mixed chromatic and diatonic runs that span 2 octaves in many compositions. Practicing this sort of thing is a great way to work on shifting cleanly too :)
  11. Scot


    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    You're right, Jeff.."unusual" is a poor choice of words to use in a public forum as diverse as TB. Let me change that to a "fair" amount of shifting (e.g. one larger shift - several smaller shifts to play one line).

    BTW - you should study some James Jamerson to see how much can be done in half and first positions (e.g. not just "R-5 patterns"). There's a lot of music to be made down there. :bassist: With that said, ain't nuttin wrong with playing R-5 when that's what's called for, IMO.

    I don't think there's really a relationship between shifting and playing "R-5" patterns. You can play R-5 and shift all over the neck and you can also play in only one or two positions and never play an R-5.

    IME, it's better to do *smart* shifting rather than "a lot of shifting". How am I supposed to notice the pretty girl at the bar trying to get my attention if I'm staring at my neck shifting positions all night. :bag:

    I was mostly trying to be funny - you know, the whole "we learn our instruments inside and out but as gigging musicians we end up getting called to play "Dock of the Bay". Dangit - the comedy thing rarely works out for me, for some reason. :bawl:
  12. jady


    Jul 21, 2006
    Modesto, CA
    Shifting is a nessicary part of playing, If you become more comfortable with playing up and down the neck 2 octave runs won't seem that hard at all.

    Run this exercise on all four (or more) strings. Start on the first fret and slide up in tempo an octave (first fret to 13th fret)then slide back down to the 2nd fret and up an octave, etc, etc

    ---1---13---2---14---3---15---4---16 etc

    Start slow and then work up the speed, eventually get to where you don't have to look at the finger board.

    also run a chromatic scale up and down one string in tempo, one fret per finger....

    1-2-3-4 (shift) 5-6-7-8 (shift) 9-10-11-12-12-11-10-9 (shift) 8-7-6-5 (shift) 4-3-2-1

    These helped me a bunch to get used to shifting.
  13. Jeff Moote

    Jeff Moote Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    Beamsville, ON, Canada
    Yes, I think I was being too serious as well. My point stands for those who may not be used to this kind of excercise, but your anecdote about learning all this stuff and rarely using it when we play (popular music).

    I have certainly played a Jamerson line or two, and apprecate what can be done below the 5th. In many of my gigs, that's where I live as you can play a lot of straight ahead jazz and R&B with only the occasional journey up the G. When I mentioned playing "R-5" I didn't literally mean only those two notes, but meat & potatoes bass playing in pop music as opposed to technical playing be it in prog rock, fusion or so called "classical" music.

    +1! :)
  14. deaf pea

    deaf pea

    Mar 24, 2005
    Cuernavaca 1 hr S Mexico City
    Seymour Duncan/Basslines SMB-5A Endorsing Artist
    I think the secret lies in the use of a 5-string bass! All of the scales and arpeggios in 2 octaves (including the 2 octave chromatic scale) are MUCH easier on the fiver . . . less shifting with that extra string! :D
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