This lesson gives a few basic exercises for brushing up on your technique when shifting positions. Whenever you play extended scale patterns or just move from one area of the neck to another during a line, you have to make shifts of your anchored position so it’s a very important part of playing.

Position Shifts

While playing a song, scale or anything that requires moving up and down the neck, you will need to shift positions to enable you to get to the notes that are out of reach. It is important to get these jumps smooth otherwise they will end up sounding scrappy and disjointed.

As bassists, we need to be able to make a smooth jump from any finger to any finger.

The following exercises are designed to familiarise you with making a jump between any combination of fingers on the left hand.

If you have any problems with a particular jump, isolate it and practice the movement until it becomes smooth.

Start slow and build up speed gradually. Only move up in tempo when you feel completely comfortable with the movement.

Working Across Strings

The previous exercise can be extended to include a bit of string crossing. For this, you simply take one of the permutations from above and play it on the E string, then the A string and so on.

Above are two examples of scales that can be played on one string to help you practice jumping between different positions. Using scales to practice this technique can help put the theory into context by making it sound musical. The last exercise in this lesson is a two-octave G major scale. Try learning this scale with the fingering given and see how much less effort you need to play it than if your fingers were not positioned correctly.

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