Online Sites for 5-String Lessons

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by bdengler, Nov 29, 2001.

  1. bdengler


    Jan 23, 2000
    New Albany, Ohio
    There are web sites that show various scales for 4-string basses. Are there any similar websites that show scales for 5-string basses? Thanks.
  2. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I don't know of any websites that have them, but I'll take a look and see if I can find any. Also, maybe I'll draw some up and scan them if you like, but really, I encourage you to draw them out yourself. It would be beneficial on your part to try drawing them out based upon scale intervals. Are you familiar with different scale intervals.
  3. bdengler


    Jan 23, 2000
    New Albany, Ohio
    Yes, I'm familiar with the intervals. I've been playing upright for 10 years. On the bass guitar, which I'm recently taking up again, I don't know what finger to start with when I use a scale, read a cord chart, etc. When I sight read my upright music (I primarily play classical), the fingering will depend on efficiency and the sound I want to get (e.g., you don't go up the neck to play a double forte note). Years ago, I had a bass guitar teacher who said you always start a major scale with the second finger..and since then, if I see a major chord in a chord chart, my second finger plants on the root and I can't move from that spot. That's the kind of help I'm looking for...I see other bassists moving around the neck.
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    They're probably the self-taught ones! ;) Actually I think you can get away with a lot more on bass guitar and make large leaps more easily and a lot of people develop their own style and only go to teachers after many years of developing bad habits - I know I did!!

    5-string has big advantages for playing scales, in that if you start around the 7-9th frets on the B or E strings you can find 2 octaves for any scale. I like to start high up on the E string and then have a way up and down.

    I have a feeling that you might find stuff like this on Gary Willis's site - he plays 5-string and has written a lot of books on this.
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Since the bass is tuned in symmetrical intervals, there's no difference between 4-string fingering and 5-string fingering except the presence of another string. I'm not sure I understand the question.
  6. bdengler


    Jan 23, 2000
    New Albany, Ohio
    Chris, Bruce, thanks for the reply. Perhaps you can do a one octave scale in one position on a 4 or 5, but there's some movement I'm sure with either guitar if you do a two octave scale, right? And the approach would be different with a 5-string vs. a 4, right?

    The more fundamental issue I have is fingering. For example, let's say there's a simple 1-5-8 pattern. Using a C, the notes would be C-G-C. I've been taught only to play it using the second and fourth finger....but I've seen people using the first and third finger, etc., to play a similar pattern.

    Where I really panic is if I sight read. What finger do I start with for a note? I've been drilled to use a second finger for a root of a major chord, the first for a root of a minor, I'm afraid to move around the neck, etc. I guess I was looking for something that dealt more with left hand position for scales, rather than the actually structure of an Ionian, Aeolian, etc. scale. If I'm not clear, sorry. :(
  7. I think I understand your question, and I think the answer, in book form, is the Mel Bay "Complete Book of Bass Technique" plus a little extension.

    All the book really has is a collection of fingerings and exercises for scales/modes. The exercises are pretty easy: up and down in 2nds, 3rds, etc. You don't really need to see them typed out.

    As for the fingering: it starts (as you say) major modes on the 2nd finger, minors on the 1st. That about sums it up: the whole/half steps and your 4 fingers constrain the rest from there.

    The book is written for 4-string bass, but I've drawn in extended fingerings for 2-octave scales. I can't figure out any way to avoid 5-semitone stretches without shifts, though.

    He does do harmonic and melodic minor and major variations for all the modes, but I'm not sure how useful all that is.

    So in short, it seems to me that you already know what you think you want to find out. :)
  8. bdengler


    Jan 23, 2000
    New Albany, Ohio
    Thanks for the recommendation! :D
  9. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

  10. bdengler


    Jan 23, 2000
    New Albany, Ohio
    Jeff, this is very helpful, thank you!