Lessons for Beginners: Scales
Scales are series of notes that can be played in a pattern. Playing scales is the next step after you have mastered playing individual notes. Scales provide bass guitarists with a solid framework for understanding the range of notes. Playing scales will help improve the flexibility and strength of your fingers, and enable you to move between notes faster.
Playing scales is a good way to develop your knowledge of the notes on the bass guitar. There are three main types of scales that can be played on the bass guitar: chromatic scales, major scales, and minor scales.
Chromatic scales are basic scales that include 12 notes. A chromatic scale starts on one note and ends on the same note but an octave higher. To play a chromatic scale, start by playing one string "open." Then move up half a step and play the next note, and continue until you are back to the note on which you started. For example, you can start a chromatic scale by playing the "E" string open, then pressing down on a fret and playing F, then F#, G, G#, A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, and finally E. Try playing different chromatic scales by starting on each string of your bass guitar.
Major scales are a series of 8 notes. Major scales start on one note and end on the same note but one octave higher. They have a bright sound, and are the basic notes on which songs that use major chords are based. Unlike chromatic scales which only go up in half steps, major scales proceed in a mix of whole and half steps.
To play a major scale on a bass guitar with four strings, start on any of the lower notes on your bass guitar. For example, start by playing the "E" string open, then the 2nd fret of the "E" string, next the 4th fret of the "E" string, then the "A" string open, next the 2nd fret of the "A" string, then the 4th fret of the "A" string, next the 1st fret of the "D" string, then the 2nd fret of the "D" string. In this example, you will have started by playing an E note and ended by playing an E note. The pattern for a major scale on the bass guitar is whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half.
Minor scales are a series of 8 notes that increase in the same pattern as major scales, but start and end on different notes. The pattern for a minor scale on the bass guitar is whole, half, whole, whole, half, whole, whole.
The key points of this lesson are:
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