Octaves on a Bass Fretboard As a beginner, I wanted to find a pic. online to help me figure this out and couldn't; so I thought I'd post the one I made! It has the notes on the fretboard colored by octaves, and shows the corresponding notes on the staff. I only noted the sharps, so just keep in mind A# = Bb etc. Now realizing the bass is a transposing instrument, the notes on the staff are written an octave higher...This was my big Ah-ha moment!