I'm offering this here just hoping that it might help those out there who want to learn some real basic stuff but are currently confused and don't like to ask! Old stagers may skip this thread altogether. As a learner, I found it helpful to think of scales and modes like this. I dont think understanding all this will automatically make you a better player all Im trying for here is to satisfy those who have a healthy curiosity and a desire to learn. The only prior knowledge youll need is: · A basic knowledge of note names · An understanding of what is meant by a semitone interval (a one fret step), a whole tone interval (a two fret step) and an octave interval (a twelve semitone gap between two notes that share the same name - the higher one, incidentally, being twice the frequency of the lower). Now, heres a challenge for you. You have to play notes on your bass, following these rules: 1) You have to play eight notes. 2) The first and last note must be an octave apart. 3) You must make each note you play higher than the last one. 4) You are only allowed to use semitone and whole tone (often abbreviated just to tone) steps or intervals. If you meet all these requirements, well call what youre playing a scale (more about modes in a bit). There are some scales that use different rules, but we don't need to get into that until a bit later. There are quite a few ways to do successfuly tackle this challenge. Heres one very common one, starting on C and just playing the natural notes (no sharps or flats). C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C We have a scale! In fact, this is the very familiar major scale - the C major scale, as we're starting on C. The pattern here as you go up in pitch is tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, semitone. Of course, you can continue further in pitch by starting again, but this time keeping going to make a two octave scale: C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C Notice that the pattern of tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, semitone happens between the first C note and the second, and again between the second C note and the third. Now, look at what you get if you play a selection of notes from this sequence, starting on the second and ending on the ninth. D-E-F-G-A-B-C-D We have another scale! Eight notes, covering an octave interval, using just whole tone and semitone intervals. But it sounds very different to the first scale we played. This is because we have a different pattern of intervals (tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, semitone, tone). Because we're starting on the second note, we can call this scale the second mode of the first one were playing the same notes (still no sharps or flats), but weve changed the pattern of intervals and this makes it sound very different. We might go into why it sounds so different in another post. Anyway, take a break for a minute and enjoy riffing around to Good Times by Chic, a well known tune based on the interval pattern of our second mode. We'll look at some more modes in my next post.