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major scales

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by tyburn, Feb 20, 2001.

  1. bass teacher has told me to go away and learn 5 different ways of playing scales,, he said major,, is this right,, i've just bought a scale book and will start to learn them,, how many different ways are there of playing major scales and what key should i start to learn them in,, G ??
  2. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    The major scale is a good one to start off with, as it's probably the most common scale. There are many different ways to learn scales, but the most easy is (and don't make a habit of reading tab - this is only to show you the scale. I don't want JT accusing me of giving it credibility - althought if I recomment it, it should give it LESS credibility) this shape, in C:

    g 2 4 5

    d 2 3 5

    a 3 5


    You can move that shape up and down the neck, and onto different strings, to put it into different keys. C is the natural key of the major scale, although it can be played in different ways.

    As well as this, I'd recommend learning the pentatonic and minor scales, as well as a blues scale. There are many different scales that can be played, in different modes and inversions, but these are more common than most.
  3. MD

    MD Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2000
    Marin Co. CA.
    Going only on what you said (and did not say) in your post...
    and I mean no disrespect, but you might start off with finding a new teacher.

    If you had no teacher and wanted to learn about scales, Talk Bass is a great resource for info. But, "bass teacher told me to go away and learn
    5 different ways of playing scales, he said major. Is this right?" Man, someone is
    NOT doing thier job. Unfortunately, you will suffer for it.

    I don't mean to be harsh.
  4. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Yeah, who is this teacher?! 5 different ways of playing major scales, and s/he didn't explain how, or more importantly, why?

    Well, a major scale is a major scale, it's got 7 notes within a one-octave range. The way the question is phrased though, it doesn't sound like s/he is requesting you learn the major scale for 5 different keys, it sounds like s/he wants you to play the scale 5 different ways. And since you can't change the pitch of any of the notes in Gmaj to play it "differently," I have to assume that s/he means the pattern or rhythm.

    Okay, so if we use a Gmaj scale, let's say:

    G A B C D E F#
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7

    So, underneath, for ease, I gave each of the notes a position. To play a scale, many people play, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7. You could play 7-6-5-4-3-2-1, of course, and that's just as easy. But then you're done. You could also play:

    3-2-1-7(octave below)




    any other variation on melody and rhythm using only those notes.

    Then of course, you want to stretch that to additional octaves, or positions on the neck.

    Of course, I really have NO idea what your teacher means. Really, s/he should have clarified that. And it's your job to leave the lesson knowing exactly what the teacher wants. If the teacher doesn't make sense, which often times s/he won't when you're learning, ASK. That's your responsibility. Hopefully, the teacher will ask if you understand something before moving on to the next subject. If you don't, say so. You won't look dumb. It's your money. It's your time. You'll only get from it what you put into it. I would call your teacher, ask him/her what s/he meant. Otherwise you'll have wasted your whole week.

    Possibly I'm just missing something obvious, does anybody else understand what this teacher wanted, and why?
  5. it's just me i think,, i can't remember exactly what he said,, i'll email him now,,we were going over scales,, arpeggio's, pentatonic, etc,, i had to go away and familiarise myself with all the notes and the groups of notes,, eg, all of c and so on,,

    thinking now and reading my scale book,, i think i know what he means,, i he asked me if i knew any scales, and i played him G

    2 4 5
    2 3 5

    3 5

    and then he said he wanted me to go and learn 5 more,, i can't remember weather it was in 5 different keys,, which i understand how to do,,,,

    or if it was different ways of playing the same key eg g

    different shapes,, what i'm asking is,, how many ways are there of playing a scale across the fret board eg

    whole whole half whole whole whole half

    in any key or in one ??

    he's a very good teacher,, and i am sorry that any of u had the indication that he was sh*t i just had a lot to take in and i should have asked i'm gonna email him now,, i'm just trying to fuel my studies outside of the lesson,,,
  6. if anything it will be the pattern of notes, in different posistions

    therefore,, if i play the intervals of a major scale up one string, D for example would the root note of this movement be the name of the scale ie starting at the ocatve on D would produce the scale of D ??
  7. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Okay, so it's one of two things. Either he's asking you to learn the major scale for five different keys, or he's asking you to learn to play the Gmaj scale at five different places on the fretboard. Since you said it doesn't seem like he's asking you to learn 5 different keys, I'm going to assume it's the latter.

    You said that you know how to play different keys. That's great. One of the great things about bass, is that it's really easy to transpose. So, you're playing Gmaj like this:

    D 2 4 5
    A 2 3 5
    E 3 5

    That's from the low G to one octave above. If you start on the "3" of the "E" string, or "G", you're starting from the root, and if you play that pattern starting on any other fret of the neck, you're playing that scale. In other words, if you move that "up" the fretboard by one semitone, fret, you would be playing Ab.

    D 3 5 6
    A 3 4 5
    E 4 6

    So, now you can play the other keys relatively simply.

    That being said, you could do that with the key of G. Take the pattern your playing, and move it so that you start that 3-string pattern on another G, anywhere on the neck. You could use the G past the octave, but that's stretching pretty far without covering the octaves in between. Let's say you want to play Cmaj, you could play a pattern that looks like this.
  8. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
  9. Lowend4s


    Jan 2, 2001
    the best way to find a major scale is to take the note you want it in and go a full step full step half step full step full step full step half step....make sure to end up on the octave
  10. in jeff berlins video he talks about learning scales in as many positions as possible, he may have even said in 5 different forms.


    1.)major scale in one position
    2.)major scale with one shift going up the neck (as in play a G slide up to A and play a A minor scale ending on G instead of A)(with a F# of course)
    3.)play major scale on 1 string
    4.)play major scale on 2 strings
    5.)play scales in intervals (seconds, thirds, forths. etc.)
  11. Hey Tyburn

    Another possibility that no one seems to have mentioned is that your teacher may mean asking you to play a major scale in 1 key, but using as many different fingering patterns as possible. So for example most people play G maj starting on G on the E string using their 2nd finger then A on the E string using the pinky and so on (this gives the fingering pattern of:
    2 4 1 2 4 1 3 5
    G A B C D E F# G

    This is the usual and movable pattern for the major scale but you could also play it all on one string (you decide on the fingerings) or you could start with your 4th finger on the G on the B string (or up the octave on a 4 stringer) and move on from here.

    My brother (jazz gutarist and one of my primary teachers) has shown me how to do this and basically it helps you learn the fretboard without being held down to "patterns". The advantage of this is that you can strat to come up with lines that don't fall in to the same old patterns but instead use the notes you want. With some scales (ome dominant scales I think) there are about 13 or so different ways to play them using the same tones and the same pitch and always starting on the root note. This is just one of those things we have to learn being a stringed instrument.

    Uhhhmm well I hope that's not ot confusing and helps a little. Of course I have no idea waht your teacher was suggesting so I could be totally wrong (but it's still a good exercise:D). C-YA and keep groovin'

  12. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    The way that I am currently learning is to play a scale starting on the index finger, then on the middle or ring finger(depending on whether the II is flatted or not) and finally on the pinkie.

    I am not a tab advocate, but the easiest way to show you what I mean is this B major scale starting on the E string 7th fret.

    The file is attached to this page.

    Dadgummit! The attachment screwed up! Arggh!
  13. Hey what's the go with my multiple posts. Anyway it looks like grufpuppy just posted before me (just you wait puppy, your day will come :D:D:D) saying a heaps more simplified version of what I was trying to say (by that I mean easier to understand). C-YA and keep groovin

  14. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    OK, lets do this the painful way:

    Starting on pinky:



  15. :D finally, i have a Nemesis, have you met NotDuane yet? he does the same thing to me all the time
  16. thanks a lot, if anything i'll get the practice,, weather it's different patterns for the same key ie Gmaj
    the same basic pattern in different posistions around the board

    it's all good,, he'll email today so i should be ok ,, thanks a lot

  17. this is what he said

    2. Try and learn to play C major scale in 5 ways, IF YOU ONLY FIND 3 THAT'S GREAT, it takes time to do anything well so have patience, I'm not excepting mircales.

    anyone got links to any sites
  18. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Well, the way I interpret that is take the C major scale:

    C D E F G A B C(Octave).

    All those notes can be played in various patterns, depending on what fret and string the root note is on. There are actually five patterns and they overlap taking up sixteen frets of the fretboard and having no open strings.

    The point here is, just because the root note is C, you don't have to play the C as the first note. As an example, if you consider the C on fret three of the A string as the root, you don't need to start your scale there. You can start with the F on the E string, fret one. Then play the G on the E string, fret 3. Then play the B on the A string fret two. Then and only then, play the C (root) on the A string, fret three. Then continue to the D, A string fret five, then E, on the D string, fret two, then F, on the D string, fret three and G, d string fret five and A second fret, on G string, B fourth fret, G string and then C (the octave) on the fifth fret of the G string.

    That would be one pattern. To figure out the others, find every C on your fretboard. Then play all the notes above and below and around it that belong to the C major scale.

    If you figure all that out, you will have learned a lot about your fretboard and different ways to approach playing scales without being locked into one standard pattern.

    jason oldsted
  19. Hey guys (puppy my nemesis hehe we can start a Sherlock vs Moriaty style relatioinship like on the DB forum :)).

    Anway having read all the posts I think that it needs to be realised that there are several ways (maybe 5) ways to play the major scale while always starting on the root note. If you don't start on the root note but use all the same notes then you are playing the modes of the major scale (I know a lot of you already know this). This is good too but I don't think that this is what the teacher wants. Basically if you learn to play the major scale in different poistions you should be able to learn to play the same licks using different fingerings. Maybe this is just being picky but I do think that it opens up different options than learning the modes. Hope this is helpful, Keep groovin C-YA.

  20. puppy my nemesis hehe we can start a Sherlock vs Moriaty style relatioinship like on the DB forum :D

    yea those two busted me before.

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