Suggested fingering for two octave scale?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by chardin, Jul 15, 2003.


  1. chardin

    chardin

    Sep 18, 2000
    I looked around but couldn't find an answer to my question. Can someone suggest how to play a scale for two octaves on a four string bass? Let's use the F major scale. I go from the first fret on the low E and get stuck on the third fret of the D string.

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Easiest way would probably be to skip down to the F at the eighth fret of the A string and start again from there. That's the main advantage of multi-stringed basses to me; you can continue your scales vertically rather than having to skip up the neck.
     
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  4. Im learning all the major scales over 2 octaves at the moment.
    I started at C here is the way i play it

    G 12 14 16 17
    g a b C
    D 7 9 10 12 14 15
    a b C d e f
    A 3 5 7 8 10
    C d e f g

    SOrry it looks a bit dodgy but thats the only way i could do it...Play all the notes on the A string then D string then G string

    I go back to the second C along the G string then just backwards to the root C
    Use that pattern of fingering on the A string
    If you still need help just ask and i will also post the G scale that can be used for all the scales starting on the E string
     
  5. oh yeha and i have a sheet some where that has C and G major tabbed out over two octave with fingering so if you want a copy i could scan it for you, just give me a yell:cool:
     
  6. stephanie

    stephanie

    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    There's a few different ways you can play a 2-octave scale, it all depends on where you do the shifting.

    As for your example, here's one way of playing F Major:

    E string:
    F - 1st fret
    G - 3rd fret
    A string:
    A - open
    Bb - 1st fret
    C - 3rd fret
    D string:
    D - open
    E - 2nd fret
    F - 3rd fret
    G string:
    G - open
    A - 2nd fret (1st finger)
    Bb - 3rd fret (2nd finger)
    C - 5th fret (4th finger)
    D - 7th fret (1st finger)
    E - 9th fret (3rd finger)
    F - 10th fret (4th finger)
     
  7. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Try this one:

    G|--------------------------7-9-10-
    D|-----------------5-7-8-10--------
    A|---------3-5-7-8-----------------
    E|-1-3-5-6-------------------------
       1 1 3 4 1 1 3 4 1 1 2 4  1 3 4

    It gives you two octaves over four strings and, by avoiding open strings, is a moveable pattern.

    The numbers at the bottom are the fingers on the fretting hand - shifts are required to cover the distance, for example, you start playing F with the first finger, slide up to play G with the first finger, then A with the third and Bb with the fourth.

    However, bear in mind that this is just one possible fingering - it's also worth playing the scales slowly, naming the notes as you go and picking out a different path each time in order to really get the sound in your ears and not get locked into a particular route for your fingers.

    Wulf
     
    Bassist4Eris likes this.
  8. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    I'd go with wulf - the key there is moving the first finger up instead of the last on each string.
    moving the last finger up at the end of a scale is a bad habit!
    "once you start down that root, forever will it control your destiny" :p

    That said, I dont know when I've ever needed to play a two octave scale ;)
     
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

  10. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I guess this is a place where you could apply the idea of tetrachords, where you break a scale into two sections of four notes each.

    For a major scale, the gaps between them are tone, tone, semitone (TTS) for the first tetrachord, then up another tone (+2 frets ... or up a string and -3 frets) for the second... which also goes TTS. That's why the patterns of fingers and slides are the same on the first two strings of my suggestion.

    On the D string, the pattern is different, but that's because we're now leading off from G rather than F. If you like, you're now playing G dorian, because the next 8 notes will take you from G to G but using the notes of the F major scale.

    I stopped a note too early because I was interested in the F major scale but, if I'd been continuing, I'd have played 1 slide 1 2 4 (D E F G). That's TST as the gaps in each of the two tetrachords of a dorian scale.

    Were I to continue upwards, I'd be onto tetrachords of the phrygian mode (STT and STT) and so forth. By thinking in terms of these building blocks, you'd find that you could not only play two octave major scales but also two octaves for any of the other modes...

    Wulf
     
    Bassist4Eris likes this.
  11. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    interestingly i thought about getting my head round these tetrachords the other day to help me learn an octave and a half of a scale - then move to two octave scales.
    i mean sure i can a play a two octave scale, but it isn't automatic yet. I figured by taking it in steps this way i could learn more gradually.

    thing is there genuinley isnt many situations where i'd need to play a two octave scale - it'd mean several bars on one chord or some 32nd notes or whatever, in most cases, i find..

    i find it considerabley harder toplay two octave scales - i think this is because of the shift in left hand position that's required... although i guess this isnt a problem for you wulf, 6 strings et al?
    note to self: must get more strings on bass :)
     
  12. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    The shifting is worth working on - even when you're not playing scales, it's an invaluable skill and often opens up ways to play a riff that help your fretting hand stay relaxed.

    I think being able to rattle off any given tetrachord along one string would also be useful, as an adjunct to thinking about shifting around on the neck... but must admit that I actually need to sit down and practise it rather than spouting off on the basis of theory ;)

    Wulf
     
  13. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    yes agreed. it's something i make conscious effort to do when i need to move up and down the neck.. that said i do aspire to minimum finger movement and position shift :)
     
  14. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Why not change that aspiration to 'minimum unnecessary finger movement and position shifting'. Economy of motion is a good thing... but if it causes you to hold your hand in unnaturally stretched positions to avoid a bit of judicious shifting then it's a false economy ;)

    Wulf
     
  15. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    yes, indeed, philosphy altered.
     
  16. onydag

    onydag

    Nov 2, 2010
    Tres Piedras, NM
    Hey. I like these three fingerings, the first one is my favorite. gmajor for post.png
     
    smeet likes this.
  17. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Connecticut
    Root with middle finger
    shift from C to D (index finger) on A string
    shift from b flat to C (middle finger) on D string

    Two easy position changes.
     
  18. MD

    MD

    Nov 7, 2000
    Marin Co. CA.
    Get the sound of the major scale in your head and figure it out yourself. You'll learn more that way than someone else telling you where to put your fingers.
     
  19. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    I strongly recommend getting Joe Bartolo's "Serious Electric Bass" book. It has fingerings and excercises that will teach you everything you need to know about the fretboard. Check it out on Amazon: Serious Electric Bass: The Bass Player's Complete Guide to Scales and Chords (Contemporary Bass Series) - Kindle edition by Joel di Bartolo, Aaron Stang. Arts & Photography Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

    If you click on "look inside" and go to page 57-58 you will see tabs and fingerings for 9 different ways to do a one octave major scale, which makes it very easy to "stitch" together two octave scales. This is followed by lots of standard notation excercises in all keys and modes.

    Great book.
     
    INTP likes this.
  20. INTP

    INTP

    Nov 28, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    I'd second @smeet suggestion to learn many variations, and I agree with his book recommendation. Getting stuck with a single fingering for any scale is a rut that will take effort later to get out of.
     
  21. One of my teachers starting out emphasized that, when learning the fretboard, it is important to learn the notes of the scales and how they sound, as opposed to shapes. To that end, he gave me 5 different ways to practice scales:

    1. All the way up the E string, then back down the E string. Same for the A, D, and G string. Then, if you like, try going up one string and down another.
    2. Use your most favorite/comfortable fingering for the first octave. Shift up an octave. Use your most favorite/comfortable fingering for the second octave.
    3. Play 4 notes per string, so instead of making one big shift, you are breaking it up into smaller, equally distributed shifts. Lots of good diagrams/examples of this concept posted above by other posters to choose from.
    4. Use the open strings as opportunities to shift and prepare for the next note. For example, while playing F Major, play F, G, and then while playing open A, shift up in preparation to play Bb at the 6th fret, play Bb, C, and then while playing open D, shift up to get ready for E, and so forth.
    5. Don't just practice scales from root to root. Go as low as you can and as high as you can. For example, if practicing F Major, you can start on low E and go all the way up to high D at the 20th fret.
    If you practice scales with multiple different fingerings and focus on the notes you are playing (as opposed to thinking in shapes) then when you are, for example, sight-reading an unfamiliar composition, you can play whichever fingering is easiest at the moment, instead of being locked into a specific fingering that may or may not work well for that particular song.