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!  

Pacman's sure-fire scale practice method

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Pacman, Jun 11, 2002.

  1. AMp'D.2play

    AMp'D.2play Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    If you are doing this exercise on a 5-string tuned BEADG, you would start w/ the lowest available note in whatever scale you were working on. If you are doing the C Major scale, that would be the open B (scale degree 7): B-C-D, then move up to E string --> E - F - G .. and so on.

    As for the "up one octave from where you started", yes, keep moving up the string until you reach the octave (the B on the 12th fret). So, again as above, you'd play BCD, EFG, etc., only 1 octave higher.

    Of course, you can go past the octave and just keep continuing until you run out of frets.
  2. Thanks Pacman!
  3. E_3


    Aug 12, 2013
    Thanks Amp, that really clears up my confusion. Last question would be, how would you know when to move on to the next string? Everytime you play 3 notes on one string? Or ?
  4. VeganThump


    Jun 29, 2012
    South Jersey
    Yes, that is my understanding, 3 notes per string.
  5. BlackRussian

    BlackRussian Padawan Learner

    Jun 30, 2011
    Cary, NC
    Start on the lowest note on your Bass. In standard tuning on a 5-string, open B. In the 'C' major scale that would the "7". B (open), C (1st fret), D (3rd fret), then move to the next string E (open), F (1st fret), G (3rd fret) and so on across the fret board. Sing the note function (7, 1, 2, 3, 5 and so on). Start over on the 1st fret on the B-string, play 3 notes per string across the fretboard. Remember, you're playing C major so the 3rd iteration starts on 3rd fret because C#/Db is not a part of the scale. The "boxes" start to emerge the more you play. Play from B-open to B-12th fret moving along the C-major scale.

    Pacman, correct me if I've got it wrong (again).
  6. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Yep, you guys have it.
  7. El Spearo

    El Spearo

    Jun 12, 2012
    Wellington, NZ
    Could you play 4 notes per string? (I know one could, but is it helpful?)
  8. Seems like it will be great practice. Thanks for the great post!
  9. basslust


    Apr 18, 2011
    That is one of the ways to play two octave scales. The way I do it historically is to hit as many notes as possible from the same position and then move up the neck on the G string to hit the last ones, but I'm seeing the benefit to doing four notes per string now as well. It is easier to hit those higher notes when they are grouped together in a fingering rather than going individually up the fret board. I think both approaches are suited to specific things.
  10. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification

    Sure! 4 notes per string is a different exercise, but a definitely great next step.
  11. El Spearo

    El Spearo

    Jun 12, 2012
    Wellington, NZ
    Awesome. I have been doing it on and off for a few weeks and definitely noticing improvements.
  12. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Glad to hear it, El Spearo!
  13. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    I learned bass backwards. Had a theory class in high school and got good at "hearing" intervals and numbers within a scale, numbers of chord tones, and common progressions. Not exactly playing by ear, more like playing by ear with an understanding of chord functions.

    I was too lazy to actually learn the notes. I know them but not fast enough to use them in real time, except for a few. For example, considering the little bass solo in Free's "All Right Now", I could immediately tell you that it's in a major key, that it starts on the 17th fret of the 2nd string, and that it's root and 5th of the borrowed flat VII chord, then 3rd and root of the IV chord. The 19th fret of the 1st string functions as the 5th of that flat VII, then the next time you go there it functions as the root of the IV chord. I could also tell you that the same VII-IV progression using the same inversions appears in the intro of AC/DC's "You Shook Me".

    Ask me what notes I'm playing, though, and it'll take me a few seconds to figure them out. Same thing with reading. I can figure it out, even analyze & transpose on paper, but not fast enough to read in real time.

    Not being quick with the note names is a problem because there are times when I need that, especially when jumping far distances on the neck. Also helpful to not look stupid when the guitar player says "F#" and the only one I know is 4th string 2nd fret.

    So finally to the question:
    Using Pacman's method to associate the notes to the fretboard, would it be better to keep working on C major until I'm basically proficient before moving on to G, or should I go over everything in (unsteady) C major once, then go over everything in (unsteady) G major once, ... ?

    Or, is there a better method to learn what I'm trying to learn?

    p.s. too poor for lessons but willing to practice.
  14. BlackRussian

    BlackRussian Padawan Learner

    Jun 30, 2011
    Cary, NC
    I'm anxious to hear the discussion on your question. I'm coming over from Trumpet where I was proficient in playing what was written, but never trained my ear. That's left me at a disadvantage in that while I could read (& understood what I read) well, if someone took the paper away I stopped playing. I was jokingly a brass player piano.

    I'm using bass to re-invent myself. I'll be the first to tell you. The journey has been difficult and frustrating. I'm not ready to give up yet, but there are days when I could.

    How this relates to your thread is that I've been trying to learn too much all at once. So *all* of my skills are unsteady. Scales, modes, arpeggios, right and left techniques have been improving at a snails pace. It will be interesting to hear what the community comes as a subjective level of proficiency before moving on to the next item.
  15. svb70


    Dec 18, 2013
    I find this site an excellent resource as a musical reference. For beginners wanting to learn basics and experienced players wanting a reference.

    When you view the scales for your chosen bass (4,5,6 string) don't forget to click on square boxes on low string to see shape.

    I give Pacman's technique a huge thumbs up !
  16. 5string_phunk

    5string_phunk Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    That is an AWESOME learning tool!! I'm currently taking lessons from a great player/teacher in Nashville and we are working with modes and applying them to lead sheets in the real book...this will help with my studies immensely!

    Thanks for sharing!!
  17. svb70


    Dec 18, 2013
    You're welcome. It is helpful....BUT...

    Don't cheat :) I've read all 25 pages here and the resounding lesson, which I agree with, is you've got to get it into your ears.
  18. rust_preacher

    rust_preacher Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2009
    I haven't done a whole lot of formal theory or rigorous practice. When I started on bass a few years ago I *read* through the "Electric Bass Guitar for Dummies" and a booklet called "Bass Styles" which, I think, helped a bit but as I didn't really have time to go through the exercises my knowledge has stayed at a very elementary level.

    When I moved house last year I lost the "Bass Styles" book and only had the CD that came with it. This is really regrettable, as during the year, I might have used the book as a learning tool, having equipped my "bass room" so that I can play an external source through the "AUX" input of my amp. Last week I went to the storage space where our junk is, together with my Aguilar rigs that I haven't been able to utilize all this time... The book was there stashed together with some random items in a box. I took it out and put it on the amp to take it home when we finished moving the stuff to our newly renovated country place. When I reached to take it home, it slipped behind the amp. Of course, there is no way to retrieve it before all the other junk is taken out from the storage space... some time in the spring I am sure.

    Just a story to share of how things must be for the average hobbyist worldwide :)
  19. 5string_phunk

    5string_phunk Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Most definitely! :bassist:
  20. MarshallNole


    Dec 1, 2013
    Do I have this correct? If doing this method with C#, would the following be correct or am I missing something?

    C# D# E# F# G# A# B# (C#)

    E# F# G# on the low E string

    A# B# C# on the A string

    D# E# F# on the D string

    G# A# B# on the G-string?

    The second box would start with:

    F# G# A# on the 4th string

    B# C# D# on the 3rd string

    E# F# G# on the 2nd string

    A# B# C# on the 1st string and so on?
    Last edited: May 28, 2014

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.