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! :)

Need Help with Cmaj scale exercise

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Pfautz, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. Pfautz


    Dec 28, 2013
    First off, all advise and criticism is welcome! I just got my first bass to learn to play on Christmas, (I have some music background in other instruments.. nothing above intermediate at best, which is even pushing it) I figure one of the most useful things for me to be able to do is to learn the fret board and I figure a good way to do that is to learn all of the Cmaj shapes. My problem is I am learning from multiple books and I am getting some conflicting things. I own four books that I am using. Hal Leonards Bass Method, Bass Guitar for Dummies(And its seperate exercise book), and The Bass Grimoire (by Adam Kadmon). I am mainly looking at both Bass Guitar for Dummies and The Bass Grimoire to learn scales. The issue is these books use different fingerings for each of the shapes. I know both shapes are correct as far as notes go obviously, but is one better to learn than the other? I like the idea of learning all of the shapes from The Bass Grimoire because it lays all of the shapes nicely on one page

    An example would be in the Bass Grimoire the First position of Cmaj starting on the E string would be E string C, D, E - A string F, G, A - D string B, C, D - G string E, F, G

    The Dummies book the position would be playing E string C, D - A String E, F, G - D String A, B, C - G String D, E, F

    I am assuming I am not seeing something that is a simple answer to this, but for some reason its bothering me, BUT if one of these is better to go by than the other, please let me know. I guess this is the issue with going with multiple books and learning on your own and not an instructor. All help is appreciated! Thank you!
  2. BeastSternecker


    Aug 5, 2013
    It's not necessarily a Cmaj shape. You can apply the same shape to any note on the fret board and you will be playing the root notes major scale. As for which one is the "right one," I would say to learn the bass for dummies one first. I would venture to say it's the most common shape of the scale. It's an easy scale that you can work on your string to string, fret to fret movement without moving your hand.

    After you mastered the scales in bass for dummies, I would begin looking at the inversions you mentioned in the other book. It really helps with learning the fretboard.
  3. Art Araya

    Art Araya

    May 29, 2006
    Palm Coast, FL
    Both fingerings are useful. The shape/fingering in the Dummies book is easier and more common. Id start with that one
  4. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Both fingerings are "correct." (And there are other "correct" fingerings besides these two.)

    You should play the fingering that is most convenient for the song/musical situation at that moment.

    I am concerned that the Bass Grimoire fingerings are too big a left-hand stretch, especially for a beginner. The Dummies scale fingerings are more comfortable and MUCH more widely used. Your teacher can look at the tension/comfort in your hands to recommend the best fingerings for YOU.

    Learning Cmaj shapes is great, but what about the other 11 keys? The important thing (in my opinion/experience) is to understand how the shapes are constructed in terms of whole steps/half steps. They you can visualize any major scale, since they all have the same pattern of frets on the fingerboard, and many of the fingerings are "movable" (meaning they don't contain open strings and therefore can be moved up and down the neck to play different keys).
  5. You should also learn the major scale pattern starting with your pinky finger.

    E string - C ..... A string - D, E, F ..... D string - G, A, (B) ..... G string - B, C

    All 3 of those patterns need to be known inside and out. Backwards and forwards, in 3rds 4ths 5ths 6ths, different rhythm patterns, different plucking patterns. As many different permutations as you can discover. The Major scale is the foundation. Build it strong.
  6. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Yes to pick one of the shapes and let that be your go to pattern.

    Yes to take that major scale shape up the neck into something besides the C major scale. Same shape (order) at the 4th string 1st fret gets you the F major scale. Then G @ the 3rd fret 4th string, A @ the 5th fret, B @ the 7th fret, C @ the 8th, D @ the 10th and E @ the 12th.

    Why is this important? Two reason of many. The frets are smaller as you go up the neck, and to get good sound your fingers need to still find the sweet spot in the frets as they get smaller. And then say a song is called to be in the key/scale of D. You should play notes from the D scale or chord tones made from those notes. Why is this a big deal? Well the key of C has no sharps or flats and the key of D has two sharps, the F# and the C#. OK, so what? If every one else is playing in D and you are still in C you've got two notes, the C and F, that will clash with the other guys. Took me awhile to understand all this. Go here and make yourself a chart. http://www.guitar-chords.org.uk/chords-key-c.html My home-made chart is still hanging over my computer desk and I still refer to it from time to time. Question - what are the sharps in the B scale? Um, if I place my scale pattern on the 4th string 7th fret the pattern will put the correct notes under my fingers. Yep, later on, however, you need to know that the B major scale will have 5 sharps, but, for now let the pattern help you with that. The major scale pattern in dummies is an old friend.

    Your Fretboard:


    For grins take some of those other patterns and "lay them over" that fretboard chart, I bet they all get the same notes just in other places. Again pick one you like and stick with that one.

    Have fun.
  7. punkrocko


    Jun 18, 2002
    Nashville, TN
    I tend to think of scales in three patterns:

    1st Finger Diatonic (root starts on first finger)
    2nd Finger Diatonic (root starts on second finger)
    4th Finger Diatonic (root starts on forth finger)

    Run these patters with the root note on the E string. Then run them with the root on the A string, and include the notes from the scale below the root on the E string. This will give you six moveable single position patterns for every scale. When you are comfortable with these you will then see how they interconnect to cover the entire fretboard.

    These are long term goals I’ve spent years on, so don’t get discouraged or overwhelmed by it. Have fun and keep playing.
  8. pfox14


    Dec 22, 2013
    There are several different ways to play every scale there is. I try and use fingerings that are farther up the neck so I don't get stuck using only the first 5 frets (5 positions). However, for a beginner, it's a good idea to start in the lower positions and work your way up the neck as you get more experience.
  9. wrench45us


    Aug 26, 2011
    I'm in the same camp as punkrocko
    but would include major and minor scales staring on 1, 2 and 4 finger.

    and I started on a 5 string in 5th position and worked my way down, so I could learn the closed patterns.

    It starts to make sense when you can play against closely related chords (in the same key or adjacent keys) and not have to shift position
    then again there are times when it makes more sense to just shift a familiar pattern. It takes a while to get a feel for that.
  10. Hi Pfautz,
    I used to start students with the patterns thing but in recent years I have taught scales and arpeggios with open string first.
    You learn your notes and you learn how to finger them without straining your hand.
  11. As mentioned above there are 3 general fingering patterns for every scale. One starting on the 1st finger, one starting on either the 2nd or 3rd finger and one starting on the 4th finger. They are kind of high, middle and low positions for any one set of notes on the neck. I've christened this the 'tri shape system' simply because I couldn't ever find a name for it and we always start talking of this "thing we do where we learn a scale on different fingers"

    Don't worry about learning them all for now but they will be good to learn at a later date. As has been said before, make one of them your 'go to' pattern. One thing you can do is use one type of pattern for major based scales/arpeggios and another for minors. I kind of did this when I first started out without realising and it actually helped me differentiate between them. I used 2nd finger starting patterns for major and 1st finger for minor. The 2nd finger pattern is the major scale you mentioned with C and D on the E string. The 1st finger is the one with CDE on the E string. This is only a suggestion. You can learn both as 2nd finger starting (or first) which is also handy for other reasons. Choose one and stick with it. For now.
  12. Pfautz


    Dec 28, 2013
    Wow.. Thank you all so much for helping me out on this. It has been bothering me all day haha
  13. ZenG


    Dec 13, 2013
    Near the fridge
    If you can run up a C major scale starting at the C on the E-string and "climbing the ladder" up through A and D strings as well.....

    Then you can automatically play about 99 % of the keys that are rooted on the E-string

    because the finger positions and note placement are exactly the same as in "C"