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Bass scales! !!!!!!

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by dheath89, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. dheath89


    Nov 11, 2013
    Hello everyone, I have recently been learning my scales and modes, I have got a pretty good grasp on what modes go with what chords and so on and so forth, the only thing I am not understanding is the different positions I can play these scales and modes in, I know if I change the key I change the scale root, but I have heard other bass players talking about playing, ( for example) d dorian but rather than playing the root with there pointing finger they are starting with there pinky??????? Does the shape stay the same with the same notes????? Please help guys :confused:
  2. The structure of the scale stays the same, whether you start it with your index, middle, ring, pinky finger (or whether you play it on bass, piano, or accordion). BUT on stringed instruments there are many different ways to play the same set of notes - just using your example, you can play D-dorian starting with the open D string OR starting on the 5th fret of the A-string. That's what's meant by positions - simply, where on your instrument do you play a given set of notes. The position you choose is up to you, and is usually dependent on other factors.
  3. If I were you I'd practice major scales using your middle finger and pinky as the roots and the minor from the first finger and pinky but I really would suggest playing as much of the scale as possible and don't stay confined to one octave or hand position. I don't have anything to say about the modes cos I haven't yet gotten into them or made an effort to understand them
  4. NekoTheWolf


    Feb 20, 2013
    The notes on a stringed instrument are set up so you can play up and down the neck starting in a trillion different positions, and in a trillion different shapes. Since you learned the scales in modes in one position it's probably time to learn how to start playing them up and down the neck!
  5. jav


    Nov 9, 2013
    +1 for playing scales and modes ( even arpeggios) up and down the neck..it helped me find new patterns all over the neck....I think it also can help with ear training too
  6. Bassman1971


    Nov 4, 2013
    Also to break up the boredom a bit get some tablature for some classical music. It will definitely "stretch" out your fingers making them much more flexible, as well as break up the boredom of always playing the same thing. Practicing the two will make u crazy good crazy fast.
  7. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    As mentioned there are zillions of patterns you can use. Asking for help on the Internet will get answers using a multitude of patterns -- which are all good and have value. My suggestion is to stay with the book or instructor you have been using, i.e. stick to one method and after you get that down then think about checking out some other patterns. Here is the pattern I use, if you like it help yourself.

    I have my own set of patterns that I use and are happy with. Everything I do is based upon the following Major Scale Box. And yes I can take that one pattern up the neck into three octaves.

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

    Pick one you like and stick with that one.

    As you have already been working with scales - and that is always the first thing we should do, but, as the bass is a rhythm instrument primarily responsible for playing harmony, not melody, I'd suggest you spend your time with constructing bass lines from the chords being used in the song, i.e. move from scales to chord tones and spend your time with harmony and leave the melody to the treble clef guys -- for now. Nothing keeping you from using scale notes in your bass line, lets just turn our attention to harmony right now.

    Scales and modes have their place, but, IMHO after you understand how to make a bass line from the chord's tones. Using the root, three, five and seven scale degrees of the chord's home scale. Most start with roots on the first beat and the 3rd beat and when this gets old bring in a five and or eight. If you need more than that there is always the three and seven. Four note phrases based around the chord tones of the active chord. Ed Friedland's Building walking bass lines would be time well spent. So would www.studybass.com. At studybass this segment has a wealth of knowledge waiting for you. http://www.studybass.com/lessons/common-bass-patterns/about-common-bass-patterns/ Yes, click the "next lesson" at the end of this screen.

    Find a book or a teacher and settle on one method.

    Have fun.
  8. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    Learning the pattern is a start, you need to understand how it is constructed and then extrapolate. Like playing scale on one string and starting a scale from different degree, 2 and 3 octaves in different pattern etc
  9. dheath89


    Nov 11, 2013
    Thanks very much guys you have really been really helpful, spose I alot more practising is needed before I master these boys, :banghead::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
  10. NekoTheWolf


    Feb 20, 2013
    Glad you have a good attitude about it! Good luck man!
  11. Ric5

    Ric5 SUSPENDED Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    Bass Scales

  12. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Here's a lesson from Scott Devine demonstrating three different fingerings for the major scale, each starting with a different finger:

    Knowing all three fingerings for a scale turns out to be really useful for lots of other things. Check out his other lessons on modes, learning the fingerboard, etc., all of which draw upon this idea in various ways. You can find them on youtube or at his web site scottsbasslessons.com. (You have to sign in and get on the mailing list, but it's free.)
  13. NekoTheWolf


    Feb 20, 2013
    I'm pretty sure there's more then just three fingerings for any given scale or mode.
  14. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Of course, but in this system all the others can be thought of as hybrids of the basic three. The "basic three" (my label, not Scott's) are the three ways you can finger a major scale while remaining in one position, without shifting, starting either on the 1st finger, 2nd finger, or 4th finger. (By the way, some of the fingerings require a 5-fret box rather than a 4-fret box.) Once you know those three fingerings, you can always shift your hand by a fret or two, at any point, to move into one of the other basic patterns. Eventually the goal is to be able to shift back and forth among the different patterns freely at any time. (In one of Scott's other lessons he talks about this as a great way to learn the fretboard.)

    For example, look at the tab posted by MalcolmAmos a few posts ago. This fingering starts with the middle (2nd) finger on the root (on the E string), and winds up with the pinky (4th) finger on the octave on the D string. Now, if you want to keep going into the second octave range, you already have your pinky on the root, so you can continue up to the G string if you know the major-scale fingering that starts on the 4th finger. OR, when you get to the octave, you could shift your hand two frets to get your middle (3rd) finger on the octave, and then use the same fingering that you started with on the E string. The number of possible variations is virtually infinite, but they can all be derived from three basic patterns.
  15. NekoTheWolf


    Feb 20, 2013
    Makes sense if you think in patterns! I think more in terms of individual notes.
  16. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I completely agree that it is important to know what notes you are playing and where all the notes are on the fretboard; it would be a mistake to learn only fingering patterns without learning the notes too. I was focusing on fingering patterns because that's what the OP asked about, and I thought the idea of learning three basic fingering patterns for the major scale would be the most useful place for OP to start.
  17. NekoTheWolf


    Feb 20, 2013
    Ah. I understand what you mean, yep the different finger positions is a good place to start then.
  18. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
  19. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    The goal should be to free yourself from positions altogether and simply know where the notes are -by name- at any point on the neck. For this, I think the sticky thread Pacman's sure-fire scale practice method is the best approach.
  20. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I think this is exactly the same as the method I was suggesting, as illustrated in Scott Devine's video. As Pac-man says in his first post (in the thread you pointed to), "If you do this, you’ll notice patterns emerge (hint: there are only 3. Ever. No matter what.)"