The first scale you need to learn on the bass guitar is the major scale. It’s a critical part of music theory and can be found in many different popular songs.
The major scale consists of a pattern of whole and half steps. The pattern is shown below:
root whole whole half whole whole whole half octave
Here is a C major scale tab
It’s pretty simple, and once you memorize the pattern you can play a major scale starting on any note you choose.
If you are curious to learn about scales, check out the wikipedia article on major and minor scales. I will do a followup article about minor scales fairly soon.
Any questions? Leave a comment below.
Hopefully you have a small amount of music theory, otherwise this article may be a little hard to follow.
A whole step is a 2 fret difference between notes. For example, C to D is a whole step. Here is the tab that represents C and D, played on the A string.
A half step is a 1 fret difference between notes. For example, B to C is a half step. Below is the tab that represents B and C, also played on the A string.
Why is this important? Because it helps you gain understanding of basic music theory and about bass guitar scales (Major, minor, chromatic, etc.).
This has been a short, simple article about music theory. If you have questions just comment below!
Understanding octaves is important and critical if you want to expand your playing “vocabulary.”
An octave is the same note with a different pitch. Start by playing the thickest string open. This is ‘E’. Now, on the second-thinnest string, hold down the 2nd fret. That is ‘E’, but one octave higher.
Here is a little background on musical notes. The musical scale includes ‘A, B flat, B, C, C sharp, D, E flat, E, F, F sharp, G, G sharp’ and then loops back to the beginning (A). It sounds a lot more complicated than it really is.
The octave is important for all types of music, and is regularly found in songs that have a lot of “slapping and popping technique. For example, the “Higher Ground” remake by the Red Hot Chili Peppers has an octave based riff.
Check out the youtube video.
There are three octaves in this riff, E, G, and A. Watch the video and listen to the song, it’s a really incredible riff and the octave reinforcement makes the entire song powerful.
Still unclear? Leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer it.