1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

How Do I Create Bass Lines From Scales?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by de la mocha, Mar 26, 2006.

  1. de la mocha

    de la mocha

    Aug 20, 2005
    I need tips. Can someone help me? I never created bass lines using scales before. I usually just play around on the bass until I stumble upon something. But I have this book with over one hundred bass scales in it that I never even opened until now, all categorized by genre and style, but I don't know how to build bass lines using scales. How do I do it? :help:
  2. mothmonsterman


    Feb 8, 2006
    you know how you played untill you found something that worked. Same thing, what the scales teach you is how the notes relate.
  3. oathbass462

    oathbass462 Guest

    Dec 27, 2005
    Just get together with a good drummer and a good guitar player and jam, man. Play to the beat of the drums and do whatever you think would sound good. I have like, 1/2 hour long jams sometimes and they're always awesome. thats my favorite part about being a musician is just picking up my bass and playing completely improvised jams.
  4. de la mocha

    de la mocha

    Aug 20, 2005
    Are you serious? Is it really that simple? Oh, it's most definitely on now baby! Here we go!
  5. Kruton


    Aug 20, 2005
    Ocean Springs, MS
    Yep. Get it down, then move on to to more scales, modes, etc.
  6. mothmonsterman


    Feb 8, 2006
    pretty much.
  7. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    Ok, first you have to understand what a scale is. It is all the notes in whatever key you are playing in. So if you're in the key of E major, the scale of E major is all of the notes within E major. After that, it's basically just recommended notes that are more likely to sound good. What you play also has a lot to do with the type of music and the chord changes.

    Edit: Kiwi is right though, I find scales much more useful for creating main melodies as opposed to supporting basslines.

    Edit2: Basically, what mothmonsterman said.
  8. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    There's 4 main types of basslines:
    -Walking Bass
    -Root Note

    There is also syncopated basslines like Funk and Reggae.

    Also, I use chord patterns as my framework for creating basslines.

    I rarely (if ever), use scales and modes to create basslines. I create melodies from scales and modes.
  9. Depends on what your doing, really. One important thing to look at is "chord tones" (probably called many different things), and to understand their functions. Pay special attention to the first, 3rd, 5th, and 7th steps of the scales. These are "stronger" notes. This probably applies more to walking bass. And allways try to start on one of these steps (as you begin learning. later on it's allright (even better in some cases) to break this rule (as is the case with most rules :p)).
  10. Schwaa


    Feb 25, 2006
    wtg203 is right, the root, 3rd, 5th, and 7th usually get more attention.
    I tend to favor the 2nd alot because it's an easy/fast note transition up to the third (one fret).(I tend to play mainly Major scales right now, in a few different finger patterns, I need to work on learning the minor patterns now that I have Major down.

    I also agree that just playing is the about the best way to 'write' a bassline. I came up with one that I liked alot, it was kindof boring though, so I syncopated a bit and made it groove more.

    Then I looked at the notes I was using, looked in the 'Bass Grimoire' (huge book of scale patterns) and figured out what scale I was in.
    Turns out it was a G Maj, Mixolydian, Pentatonic.

    G Maj scale is

    Mixolydian starts on the 5th (D)

    Pentatonic is the 'mode' of the scale meaning it uses 5 of the 7 notes.
    (I left out the C and F#)

    If you stick to only five notes you'll be in some kindof scale no matter what. Depends on sharps and flats...

    The problem with only using the Ionian mode (or first mode) all the time is you get the same kind of sound. That means starting on the first note and playing up thru the notes.
    If you start on say the 3rd or 5th then you end up playing certian finger patterns in different ways and you get more variety.
  11. de la mocha

    de la mocha

    Aug 20, 2005
    Thanks everyone, I'm submerging myself in this knowledge as we speak! :)
  12. Robbiethebassis


    Mar 29, 2006
    you should really get some theory books, or maybe "Bass Guitar for Dummies" I just bought it recently and its rather helpful.
  13. TheJimster


    Feb 21, 2006
    Pensacola, FL
    +1 :rolleyes:
  14. zazz


    Feb 27, 2004
    yup ++1
  15. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    It's not that hard, if you're doing a rock/blues jam pretty much all you have to worry about is making sure you hit the root note on the first beat of every bar.

    It's a good idea to have a rhythm in your head first, your drummer will probably help inspire you. Decide on a rhythm and a key and/or chord progression, play the root note on beat 1, then fill the rest of the bars with whatever notes from the scale/s you like. You'll quickly notice which notes sound best in which places.
  16. Kruton


    Aug 20, 2005
    Ocean Springs, MS
    Now define riff and give an example please. Do you just mean like one straight line or what. I have always used walking bass, Arpeggio's, or scales and modes for my basslines.
  17. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    It is in my not so humble opinion, absolutely imperative for a bassist to learn scales in order to create meaningful basslines. As a member of a rhythm section, the bass is required to be the tonal foundation for the band (in the traditional definition) Bass lines are constructed by playing scales, arpeggios (which are voices from within scales that out line cords), chromatically or all in of these approaches in combination. If you do not master this vocabulary you are just jiving. This is the knowledge that allows a bass player to be part of the musical conversation and not sound ignorant.

    If you love music, learn the language!
  18. Bassist4Life


    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    Bunny Brunel has a website with free lessons you should check out. It has standard notation w/tab and a video too!

    There is a lesson about creating lines using scales.


    This should really be a HUGE help.

  19. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    Good for you ;)
  20. SolidFoundation


    Apr 7, 2006
    As loathe as I am to buy anything that insults the purchaser, I have found "Bass Guitar for Dummies" to be very straightforward for talking about how to create a bassline. He even lists what notes of the scale create what musical effect. It's worth checking out. (They had it at my local library.)

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.