The Three Positions
When most bass players start out learning scales they tend to learn single, basic fretboard patterns. For a C major scale the usual scale pattern would be as follows:
This pattern would usually be played starting with the 2nd finger of the fretting hand. But there are actually three different patterns available to us from any root note on one fret.
If we move the C major scale to the 8th fret of the E string (to allow us room to expand) we can build 3 scale shapes from that 8th fret. We can use the starting finger as our general label fro each scale pattern:
C Major 2nd Finger:
C Major 1st Finger:
C Major 4th Finger:
By combining these three patterns we expand our knowledge of that basic C major scale and the real estate covered. With the basic 2nd finger pattern we cover frets 7 to 10. With all three patterns we cover frets 5 to 12.
Practice these shapes through the cycle of 4ths with the root notes on the E string.
This concept of creating 3 patterns can be applied to any scale. The C Natural Minor scale would be as follows:
C Natural Minor 1st Finger:
C Natural Minor 2nd Finger:
C Natural Minor 4th Finger:
Once you’re familiar with this concept of 3 patterns per scale you can start to move to different strings (tonic positions) and then fill in all the other notes in each area. In a few simple steps you will have covered every note of a scale over the entire fretboard, all organized as a set of familiar positions.
In the Scale Essentials course you’ll learn every scale you’re ever likely to use, map them over the entire fretboard and then apply them by way of melodic devices, runs and drills. Scale Essentials For Bass Guitar is COMING SOON!