In my previous lesson, I discussed the advantages of practicing scales up each individual string and now I’d like to take that one step further. When teaching, I find that students often get stuck finding notes in certain areas of the bass. This is most common around the 9th to 12th fret areas.
If you really want to feel completely comfortable on the instrument and free to play any idea that comes to you, then you need to know where everything is.
Playing your scales from the lowest to highest notes up each string should have helped with this but now lets play the scales and arpeggios from the lowest to highest notes on the instrument.
The concept is the same as in the previous lesson. Just pick a scale and/or and arpeggio and memorize or write down the notes within it. Then you need to find the lowest available note and play the scale/arpeggio to the highest available note.
Of course, we have to take 2 factors in to account. As different bass guitars have different ranges, you will need to play what’s available on your instrument.
I’ve written my examples out for a 4 string bass but if you have an extended range instrument then make sure you cover it all. Secondly, there are several ways to ascend and descend the bass.
Where you change string is entirely up to you and I’d encourage you to try several ways for each exercise.
This may seem like a lot of work but bear in mind that for every major scale you do, you’ve also covered the relative minor and all of the major scales modes in one fell swoop. After you have done this a few times, your knowledge of the neck and the way scales are constructed will really start to develop and you’ll won’t need to feel lost on the instrument again!
Here are two excerpts from John’s newest lesson here. Download the full version of each of them here as well: