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!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Is this the 'Sweet Spot' in the Major Scale?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by faulknersj, May 14, 2018.

  1. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    I consider myself a pretty average player who is willing to share some simple stuff I've picked up along the way with Beginning and maybe Intermediate players. I've been having a lot of players lately ask about how to do bass fills, or feel comfortable stretching out a little bit more. I made this video to share what I consider a very simple way to make your playing sound more musical in the major scale.

    Does anyone else use this part of the fret board the same way?

    I hope you enjoy this and maybe take something of value away from it if you are a newb...

    Last edited: May 15, 2018
  2. What you call the sweet spot, is more commonly referred to as the pentatonic scale. And yes, it is almost magical in its application to fills and runs. It is in fact the major scale, void of any of those pesky half step intervals that cause dissonance (namely, the 4th and the major 7th).

    FYI, there is a minor version that does the same thing: 1 3 4 5 7 8, based on the minor scale pattern, and used to create fills and runs in minor keys.

    BONUS: if you realize that minor pentatonic is only one note shy of the blues scale.
    MonetBass and faulknersj like this.
  3. This was a cool vid
    faulknersj likes this.
  4. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    Exactly! I totally understand that what I am playing is a major Pentatonic that extends up to the 9, or octave and 2...However you want to think of it. I feel like playing the pattern from the 2 the way I demonstrate in the video is very approachable to newer players looking to make their playing more musical, and who are scared of words like 'pentatonic' lol!
  5. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    Thank you...nothing earth shattering but might be a new perspective on the fret board for some.
  6. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    That is awesome!
    FatFunk and Mushroo like this.
  7. I use that part of the fret board, but, seldom use scales, even the pentatonic scale. I'm a follow the chords and play notes of the chord kinda guy.

    But yes the pentatonic scale is often used when playing melodically.

    Pentatonic means five notes. Takes about 5 minutes to explain, might as well get them used to the correct name.
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  8. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    Thank you for the input. This video was shot specifically in response to a question from a bass player. In this instance, I intentionally steered clear of technical explanations or jargon. The point was simply to demonstrate how that particular patten could be easily utilized to create ‘fills.’

    To expound for those following, the major pentatonic scale is comprised of the 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, ...and 1 (octave)

    The Minor Pentatonic Scale would be 1, ,3, 4, 5, 7....and 1 (octave)
    lowplaces likes this.
  9. IamGroot


    Jan 18, 2018
    Thank you for sharing.
    faulknersj likes this.
  10. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    This is cool. I gradually discovered the 1 and 5 as a beginner, slowly adding the 3, 6, and 2. I never knew this was a scale.
    faulknersj likes this.
  11. Jewce


    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    Me neither man, not til a couple months ago. I just learned to do what sounded good from playing off of bar chords and such, on guitar. Then, I started some online bass lessons, and actually found out that I knew a lot more than I thought I did. Just didn't know the theory knowledge behind it all.
  12. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
    The major pentatonic scale is the foundation of my playing.
    I’m actually surprised at how many bassists don’t really know how to exploit the scale and maximize its usefulness.
    Five notes yet a lifetime to master
  13. joeeg33

    joeeg33 Supporting Member

    Sep 11, 2002
    Central New Jersey

    The minor is constructed with a b3 and b7 so, 1-b3-4-5-b7 It’s just a m7th arpeggio with an added 4th
    Spin Doctor likes this.
  14. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    joeeg...Do you think it is helpful to newbs to think of it that way? What I mean is, do you think it is helpful to think of the minor scale relative to the major scale as a 1. 2. b3, 4, 5, b6, b7? In almost every professional setting I have encountered, when learning a song, it is assumed that the player knows the minor scale and thus the changes are referred to accordingly. For example, something simple like 'The Thrill is Gone' is a 1, 4 progression with a 6, 5 turnaround in Bm.

    What are your thoughts on the this regarding practical application for beginning players?
  15. AngelCrusher

    AngelCrusher Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2004
    Mesa Boogie, Tech 21, Taylor
    Absolutely, yes it is helpful.
    Spin Doctor likes this.
  16. I think it's very helpful too. All scales in western music can be related to the major scale. It's the Rosetta Stone of music. Knowing that the natural minor is related to the major, hence the name "relative minor" is an obvious example. If you want to know what a minor chord progression is as related to the major scale, you just add "2" to the roman numerals. Kindergarten math... And that's why they call it "relative'.

    Melodic Minor is simply the Dorian mode with a major 7th. Easy.
    Harmonic minor is simply the Aeolian mode with a major 7th. Easy.

    There's no need to make any of this stuff hard. It's not.

    Thrill is Gone is: "i-iv-i-VI-V-i" in B minor. The V would normally be "v", but it's a secondary dominant here I guess. I never really thought about it. But, I feel it's ok (and necessary) to be precise in your thinking and writing. It's the lack of precision when explaining music to people with no real musical background that causes problems. So when you tell someone a minor pentatonic is 1-3-4-5-7 it's incorrect because it implies a natural 3rd and 7th. Luckily someone caught it. If you're gonna explain something at least be right. Steering clear of "technical jargon" means your' just gonna explain it wrong. So in the future when someone tries to match up your info with the real world, it's gonna cause some confusion. Just learn stuff the right way the first time and be done with it.

    Anyway... The whole trick is, you need to really understand the major scale, in all its permutations. That's where most people fall over, because they think it's so easy that it's not important. Or usually, it's that they don't understand how to manipulate the major (and consequently every other) scale. They think it's just something you go up and down with, one note after the other. If the fundamental understanding of the awesome major scale is weak, the flaws carry through in the understanding of all other scales.
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
  17. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    I think of every scale as a variation on the major scale.
    The intervals are named in relations to the major scale
    chord tones and extensions are similarly named.
    I believe It is important for beginners to view all scale, chords, and patterns as they relate to the major scale.
    Spin Doctor and Whousedtoplay like this.
  18. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    I hear what you are saying, but I’ve never heard someone call out a minor tune using the Nashville numbering system refer to the minor 6 as a #5 or flat 6. I am not saying that one should not KNOW that...but I am saying that in almost any situation I have encountered, if you are told the key is Bm. And that the progression is a 1, 4 with a 6,5 turnaraound...it is assumed that you know that based on the key. Training new players to think this way also make transposing a song into a different key a breeze. Finally, there are many players who get freaked out by A) jargon that is too technical and B) aren’t looking for deep dive into theory and just want to know enough to have fun playing. They don’t care if it should be called a G# or an Ab...they just want to know what note to play.. My 2 cents.
  19. Well, I'm not sure what you're talking about here with the #5, flat 6 stuff, but it's cool. Do your thang...

Share This Page