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Let’s Master Minor Scales for Bass in Under 300 Words Together

Here comes part 2! If you missed part 1, major scales on bass guitar, check it out!

Like I did in my previous post about patterns in the major scale, this is a companion piece where I’ll break down minor scales, specifically Natural Minor scales (what we think of when we hear “minor scale” and reveal the patterns in the same way.

One point I wanted to address why are you able to make these patterns on bass and not on guitar?

The answer is that the bass is tuned to perfect 4ths. E A D and G are all 4 steps apart from one another. The guitar in contrast has it’s first 4 strings (E, A, D and G) are tuned to perfect 4ths, then a 5th string that is tuned to a B, 3 steps above the G not the usual 4 and the uppermost E string, the 6th string is tuned a 4th above the B.

Minor Scale Patterns

Shape Pattern

Like the major scale pattern, the minor scale also has a pattern that no matter where you start playing on the bass and make this shape, you will have a minor scale:

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 1.06.48 PM


– – –

If you prefer to approach this from the perspective of the Circle of 5ths, all we need to do is modify where we look for our root note.

To find the minor scale using the Circle of 5ths:

1. Choose a starting note:

cof 1

For this example, we have a G. Now count 6 steps up from that G:


Therefore, the natural minor of G major is E minor. The key does not change – we are still using 1 sharp, F#:

E F# G A B C D E

Which, on the fret board looks like:

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 1.06.48 PM


Looks familiar, doesn’t it?


Hopefully some of your tensions about music theory and learning scales on bass are starting to fade upon learning these ideas in this way.

Give it a shot for yourself. I’m sure you can get it!