Bass Scales & Chords

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Waksfly, Mar 2, 2014.

  1. Waksfly


    Nov 3, 2013
    Hi guys! I love playing bass and im at the point where i think i have to step it up a little bit and take it seriously...i just learn ti play songs by ears and now i want to study the scales and chords if anyone can help me with this...PDF file or web links. Please! I would be very thankful! God Bless!


    Jul 16, 2009
  3. Waksfly


    Nov 3, 2013
    Thanks! Have you come across something like a chart that for example i want to look what is a Dmin7 chord? Like a guitar chord chart?
  4. All notes played together as a chord or all notes played separately (arpeggio patterns)?
  5. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Patterns are OK up to a point but try to work things out for yourself, i.e. be able to know why a Dmin7 chord is just that. The "studybass" site linked earlier is well worth spending a half an hour on daily.

    If you dont know them already, learn where all the notes are on your fretboard. You will also want to learn about intervals for the information below to make sense. It is all explained very well on "Studybass". Go through the site slowly from the beginning. Each lesson builds on what went before. So try not to skip any, unless you already know the contents.

    Here is my attempt at a basic explaination :

    Chords are made up of every other note of a scale.... the root (1), 3,5 7 etc.. So if we take the C maj scale and do what's called "stacking thirds", it will give us all the chords in that scale. We will set out the Cmaj scale and work from the bottom up, starting each line on the third note of the one beneath:

    EFGABCD - (E is the third note of the line beneath)
    CDEFGAB = Cmaj scale (1234567)

    Now....if we read from the bottom up and from left to right we get all the diatonic (using only the notes of a given scale) chords for the Cmaj scale.

    So... Cmaj7 = CEGB

    Dm7 = DFAC (this was the one you mentioned).


    Learning about chords in this fashion is much better than trying to memorise chord charts.

    Hope my explanation did not confuse you too much. :bag:
  6. Waksfly


    Nov 3, 2013
    Thanks! I min chords played together...anyway how did you come up with the Dmin7 chord? Major chords are the root-3rd-5th-7th? Am i right? How about minor7 chords? Diminished? Etc...
  7. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Because from D to F has an interval of a minor third.

    Again, all this is probably confusing if you dont know the basics, like intervals.
  8. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Print this off and put it somewhere you can get to it.

    Major chords will have a 3, minor chords will have a b3, and diminished chords will have a b3 & b5. It's not hard to get this into memory - a chord is made from the R-3-5 & 7. Notes of a scale. Which 3, 5 & 7 is all you have to put to memory. We now have to find those notes on our fretboard. I rely upon the major scale box to automatically put the correct notes, for the chord or scale I want, under my fingers. Should mention I think in A, B, C and 1, 2, 3. See the Dm7 chord and find it's notes with R-b3-5-b7.

    Bass Patterns based upon the Major Scale box.

    Major Scale Box.
    G|---2---|-------|---3---|---4---| 1st string
    E|-------|---R---|-------|---2---|4th string

    Dm7 chord coming up in the song. Find a D note on the 3rd or 4th string. Put the box's R over that D note and play the spelling for the Dm7 chord. The spelling is R-b3-5-b7. The spellings for the other chords and scales are listed below:

    Basic Chords
    • Major Triad = R-3-5
    • Minor Triad = R-b3-5
    • Diminished Chord = R-b3-b5

    7th Chords
    • Maj7 = R-3-5-7
    • Minor 7 = R-b3-5-b7
    • Dominant 7 = R-3-5-b7
    • ½ diminished = R-b3-b5-b7
    • Full diminished = R-b3-b5-bb7

    See a chord and play it's chord tones. As every key will have three major, three minor and one diminished chord it's a good idea to get your major, minor and diminished bass line chord tones into muscle memory so when you see a chord your fingers just know what will work. Now the song may only give you enough room for the root, or root five - adapt and get as many chord tones into your bass line as needed. Root on 1 and a steady groove from the other chord tones plus something to call attention to the chord change is what we do.

    • Major Scale = R-2-3-4-5-6-7 Home base
    • Major Pentatonic = R-2-3-5-6 Leave out the 4 & 7
    • Natural Minor Scale = R-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7 Major scale with the 3, 6 & 7 flatted.
    • Minor Pentatonic = R-b3-4-5-b7 Leave out the 2 & 6.
    • Blues = R-b3-4-b5-5-b7 Minor pentatonic with the blue note b5 added.
    • Harmonic Minor Scale = R-2-b3-4-5-b6-7 Natural minor with a natural 7.
    • Melodic Minor Scale = R-2-b3-4-5-6-7 Major scale with a b3.

    Let the major scale be your home base then change a few notes and you have something different. No need to memorize a zillion patterns. Let the major scale pattern be your go to pattern - then adapt/adjust from there.

    Now you need one more thing for this to come together. You need a chart of your fretboard with the notes shown. I'm sure you already have one.

    Look at the major scale box...... from any note where is the 3? Up a string and back a fret. Where is the 5? Up a string and over two frets or down a string same fret. Where is the 7? No you tell me. Now from any note on your frretboard you can make a chord. There are chord patterns all over your fretboard. Welcome to harmony and the bottom end.

    Good luck.
  9. davidhilton

    davidhilton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Apr 13, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    Get a real live teacher.
  10. Waksfly


    Nov 3, 2013
    Thanks for all the inputs!
    Starting to study the major chords already....