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[Guest Post] The Importance of Playing Scales Up Each String

This is a guest post from bassist and teacher John Marley over at Bass Guitar Course.

Let’s face it.

When us bass players and guitarists learn to play scales we quite often learn finger patterns rather than always studying all of the notes in the scales.

Doing this is nothing to be ashamed of and has some major benefits. The patterns allow us to move around the instrument quickly and let us play in all of the keys with minimal fuss.

However, as you develop as a player you may find this system limiting. Knowing the notes and the theory behind different scales will develop your knowledge of harmony, your ability to read music and will enable you to move around the instrument more freely.

A great way which I found to develop this was to find the notes in a certain scale (any scale will do but I’ve used C major in the examples).

Do this by playing the finger pattern which you’ve learnt and remembering the notes or you can write them down if needed. Once you’re clear about the notes in the scale, play them from the lowest to the highest available (and relevant) notes on each string.

This will help you to learn scales without always starting on the root note and will force you to practice finding notes everywhere on the bass. Take it slow and just pick one scale a day. You’ll be surprised what a massive difference it makes.

Below is a piece of the full lesson. Practising Scales On One String – C Major Scale Example

practicing bass scales on one string

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Visit John’s personal site for more  lessons, tips and information about bass guitar and his own bass guitar lesson site, Bass Guitar Course. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnmarleybass