Guitarlincs - Free Guitar Music

Major Scales for Bass Players

For Fabio and Kane as promised!

Here we have the music and TAB for one octave major scales in sharp keys from C (open) to C# (7 sharps) moving round the cycle of fifths.

Click here to find free sheet music of major bass scales

Both A and E are in open (first) position.

 

 

All others use a simple moveable shape:

 

 Same shape, but starting on string 4:

 

Practising bass scales around the cycle of fifths and looking at the notation rather than the TAB will help you tremendously with sight reading!

Click here to find free sheet music of major bass scales

It is helpful as you know to practise these at varied speeds, so here they are at 40 bpm, 60 bpm, 80 bpm and 100 bpm. Play smoothly using i.m. fingering on right hand or alternate down and up strokes with plectrum.

Scales at 40 bpm

Scales at 60 bpm

Scales at 80 bpm

Scales at 100 bpm

 

Major Scales for Bass Guitar - Flat Keys

Here we have the music and TAB for one octave major scales in flat keys from Cb (7 flats) to C (open) moving round the cycle of fifths. F major is in open (first) position. All others use a simple moveable shape. Practising bass scales around the cycle of fifths and looking at the notation rather than the TAB will help you tremendously with reading music notation!

Play smoothly using i.m. fingering on right hand or alternate down and up strokes with plectrum.

This link takes you to free music and TAB for the major scales in flat keys.

This is the Open F major shape. All the other scales use the two moveable shapes above. There are other ways of playing them too, but for now this will do as it is by far the easiest!

 

 

Degrees of the Scale.

It is useful for Bassists (and guitarists too!) to understand about the intervals in a scale and how to sing and play them. For now I don't mean the TTSTTTS thing you learn in school, I mean the numbers of the degrees of the scale. This feeds in to harmony and figured bass studies later and also is the basis of the "Nashville System".

Each degree of the scale has a simple name, a number and a harmony name as follows. (The brackets show the full name in the major key - different names apply in other kinds of scale). Don't worry if it is hard to remember though. The important thing is to be able to hear, sing and play each interval.

More on practising that later when I have done a sibelius sheet for it!

Root                   - 1 or I    - Tonic

Second (major)   - 2 or II  - Supertonic

Third (major)      - 3 or III - Mediant

Fourth(perfect)   - 4 or IV  - Subdominant

Fifth (perfect)      - 5 or V   - Dominant

Sixth (major)      - 6 or VI  - Submediant

Seventh (major) - 7 or VII - Leading note (or leading tone)

Octave               - 8 or I    - Tonic repeated 8 notes higher

Although this theory takes some time to learn it will make more sense of the arpeggios that follow. I have labelled up Root, 3rd and 5th on these. The simplest bass lines use only the root of a chord and rely on rhythm entirely to be interesting. Using Root and 5th gives more energy and interest to a bass line. Adding the 3rd enables the player to emphasize whether a chord is major (bright and happy) in sound or minor (darker and a little sad perhaps). Chords without thirds are power chords. (eg B5, A5 etc) They sound very dark and hollow and work much better than open chords with distortion because the harmonics high up the series do not clash and hurt your ears.

Arpeggios of Major Triads for Bass (Root, 3rd and 5th)

Practice these over a 12 Bar blues, a good starter pattern is Root, 3rd, 5th, 3rd once per bar in quarter notes (crochets), then try doubling it in eighth notes (quavers):

 A | A | A | A | D | D | A | A | E | E | A | A ||

 

To print music and download backing, click on this link

A Blues Scale for Bass Players

Firstly, an easy version down at the nut for beginners:

 

Secondly, the most well known position to play:

When I was first learning bass I had many happy hours with this set of notes, reordering them, repeating some, backwards and forwards, finding great sounding Jack Bruce riffs then moving them over the fretboard....

This is actually a hybrid minor scale, which is why it has that cool and slightly sour sound against major chords that so often gives blues its edge.

Experiment with some ideas of your own and I will then upload the notes for Running A Riff....

The Modes for Bass Guitar

This is a one octave only version on the note C (as promised, especially for Kane, Fabio and Zach!) As I haven't had time to do the graphics for you yet, this pdf also has TAB. Remember these are completely moveable (although the notes all change the finger pattern doesn't!) Have fun!

Click here for free pdf music