How To Learn Notes On The Bass Fingerboard (3 parts)

2017-10-26T11:31:16+00:00January 15th, 2014|Categories: Bass Playing Fundamentals|Tags: , |40 Comments

Here are three video lessons dedicated to learning all the notes on the bass fingerboard. It’s especially useful for bass players that have been playing for a while and who want to develop more of an overall knowledge of the instrument.

Video #1


Video #2


Video #3


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  1. Mark Ramsey April 16, 2014 at 7:24 pm - Reply


  2. […] Notes On The Neck […]

    • simeon October 8, 2017 at 7:32 am - Reply

      Just wanna say thank u sir, u having been a blessing to mi because I do not have a teacher but with your lesson’s u have help me a lot thank u.

      • Prasanth February 6, 2018 at 7:08 am - Reply

        Sir, You are one of the most blessed person for serving free bass lessons to the world in these days. thank q very much sir, God bless you.

  3. Albert June 22, 2014 at 2:49 am - Reply

    Thanks for the free videos!! They really help me to improve my skills.

    • Mark June 25, 2014 at 11:00 am - Reply

      Thanks a lot Albert

  4. Michel October 8, 2014 at 2:25 am - Reply

    Thank you so much, you teach very well.
    I hope i can take some Skype lessons from you in the future.

    Greetings from Brazil!

  5. Arabella November 9, 2014 at 3:24 pm - Reply

    Thanks!!! Greeting from Holland.

  6. ken gammon February 17, 2015 at 11:34 pm - Reply

    An excellent way to learn the notes. I also very much enjoyed the beginner series and am looking forward to learning all the theory and prac.

    I feel fortunate to have come across you on youtube. If I get into trouble I’ll take some Skype lessons.

    Cheers, Ken.

  7. Anthony May February 22, 2015 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    Hi Mark..
    I started playing the bass about 2 years ago at 48 yrs old (mostly because of love for Michael League and Juan Nelson)..just learning songs. I found your site about 2 weeks ago and now I feel as if I’m learning the proper way. It’s crazy how many online teachers work either too fast or assume you know more than you do. Your teaching style and lesson map do neither. Bravo!! Good luck in the new home.
    Cheers and thanks.

    • Paul Haynes July 13, 2015 at 10:14 pm - Reply

      Anthony how is it going, I’m 53 and just picked up a Bass again after 40’years, are you learning ok?


      • Anthony May July 14, 2015 at 6:45 pm - Reply

        Hi Paul,

        Thanks for checking in. As you know there is a ton to learn. Right now, I’ve been playing pretty routinely with a cool group of people and that’s nice. There is a specific set list that we are always adding to and subtracting from, so almost all of my practice time..(full time job..wife and 2 teenagers) dedicated to learning and perfecting these tunes. I’d love to get more time to go back and work on the fundamentals. It’s great to hear you are getting back into playing. Is it like riding a bike for you? Did you get sick of the bass and play another instrument as a kid?


  8. ashton cleophas May 12, 2015 at 11:54 am - Reply

    Amazing!!!!!!!!! Site all the way from South africa thanks alot for all the videos and lessons. You are a true hero to all that wants to learn how to play bass guitar. May God bless you abundantly

  9. rob carlson June 23, 2015 at 10:22 pm - Reply


  10. Peter Krause June 26, 2015 at 12:26 am - Reply

    Constructive crtiticism: these would be perfect, PERFECT, if the also included sheet notation along with the name of the notes. I’m starting on the bass now (instrument arrived saturday), but have studied piano and recorder looong ago in the last millenium and the Low key was always the hardest to read. I find that knowing the notes on the neck helps me find better shapes for some songs I found tabs online, including here (Daytripper for me is a lot easier starting on the E string for instance), so, learning or improving one’s sheet music reading is probably the best way to find one’s own way on the fretboard.

  11. By The Way October 9, 2015 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    Pleasant day Mr Smith – Appreciate for letting us know how to play the bass properly and sharing your knowledge to the world. I really wanted to learn the music theory for bass. Just wanted to let you know that the that you mentioned in the first video of this particular lesson is displaying “500 Internal Server Error”.

    Again, thanks and appreciate it. God bless to you and to your family. More power.

  12. David Baldwin October 29, 2015 at 6:45 am - Reply

    I’ve real in joy your training lessons on you-tube and i just wondered weather or not i could come long and jam with you and learn a bit more my fingers are a killer and i ve try surgical spirit but alass not working for me any i dears on that many body ?

  13. David Baldwin October 29, 2015 at 7:01 am - Reply

    MY BASS GUITAR is a (squire fender dimension bass ) with a fender rumble amp 15

  14. Aaron Johnson December 28, 2015 at 4:47 am - Reply

    The PDF file practice sheet in 1st & 2nd position won’t open on my tablet. Would it be possible for you to send me these files to my email? Thanks, Aaron.

  15. aaron johnson January 4, 2016 at 1:35 am - Reply

    Do you have a video that explains #7 on the pdf notes on the bass fingerboard, the chord progression part. If I were to write this on staff paper, how would it look?

  16. carole seubert January 28, 2016 at 9:05 pm - Reply

    Greetings Mark!

    I see quite a few mentions of age as to when folks started bass….I’ll simply say I’ve got you all beat by a decade or two ;D!

    Mark, I’ve found your site to be quite a valuable resource and addition to my regular lessons with my teacher and sessions with a small guitar band he put together. You actually make me want to practice! I also very much appreciate the clarity of your explanations as well as the pace of the lessons.The resources are truly massive and well laid out. I’ve determined to donate soon (and, hopefully, frequently) as the quality of your lessons and materials, along with your generosity in offering the it all for free, are so admirable.

    Many, many thanks!

  17. isaac May 26, 2016 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    could you include some simple sheet music for us pls. I know ur probably busy but yeah.

  18. Vivienne June 16, 2016 at 11:49 pm - Reply

    THANK YOU!!! …even if it is not enough to let you know how great your lessons are!

  19. Shawna Love November 22, 2016 at 6:28 pm - Reply

    I hate to be redundant as so many have said over and over, but yes, thank you SO much, Mark!
    I’m one of those who have played forever, but never learned the notes or any theory. I’m currently in a band again and playing with people who are musically educated.
    I’m finally serious about music and you are THE BEST online instructor I’ve come across. MarloweDK and Scott Devine are excellent (check them out poeple!) But I find myself learning so much more from you.
    Thank you. Thank you.

  20. Bill Bedford December 11, 2016 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    Just getting back to playing bass. I never had any formal lessons, as I am self taught. Of course, I learned nothing about fingering patterns and scales, arpeggios, etc. I play by ear which is extremely helpful but not good enough. Looking forward to following through with your lessons so that I can get it right this time around. Thanks for offering this service!!

  21. Allison Simkiss January 12, 2017 at 7:03 pm - Reply

    Hello Mark
    Thank you so very much for your excellent fundamental bass lessons. Your site is the best one I have seen. It is easy to follow you and you understand what it’s like to be a beginner both in the way you explain and with fingers that have yet to develope their muscle memory. I have learnt more in a couple of weeks than in all the years of doodling. Great teacher you are and I will sign up for yr membership as soon as I have secured regular income.
    Happy New Year Mark
    Kind regards

  22. Fred Aslett March 2, 2017 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    really awesome teaching all round.

  23. Jesus Serrano March 16, 2017 at 11:13 pm - Reply

    Hi!! This is Jesus (a venezuelan in Chile)! Your videos motivated me to learn to play the bass guitar!!

    Thank you very much for every lesson!! I’ll keep learning!!

  24. M@ March 28, 2017 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    Thanks so Much Mark!

    I’m learning to play Ubass @ 45 years old to accompany my much more proficient daughter who’s a singer playing uke.

    One of the things I’m also working on with her is music theory, and the open strings on the Bass are of course the circle of 4ths (5ths backwards) — which make it easy to memorize as Bead-G (drop the B if you’re on a 4-string Bass).

    As an amateur player who has always been quite poor at flat-out memorization having the “BEAD” G mnemonic is quite helpful… even something as simple as only 4 strings :-/

  25. Spencer S May 16, 2017 at 3:35 am - Reply

    So is a semi tone a half distance from a fret? where do you finger the full step notes? on the frets, off? i feel so stupid!?! Moderator(s) help an idiot will yah?

    • Talkingbass-Mark May 16, 2017 at 7:26 am - Reply

      A half step is one fret. A whole step is two frets. It’s just a musical distance. However, you’re better learning the half steps and whole steps by note rather than by fret though because notes are in different places all over the neck.
      Just think any note up or down to it’s sharp or flat is a half step. So C to C# is up a half step. D down to Db is a half step. There are two exeptions to this. E to F and B to C. E to F is a half step and B to C is a half step. This is much easier to see on a keyboard. I’d recommend getting a keyboard/piano app if you don’t have a real one and learn the notes. It makes much more sense than on a bass because it’s all laid out with white and black keys. You’ll learn them very quickly and it’ll then change the way you see the bass notes (for the better)

  26. Allen June 1, 2017 at 2:44 am - Reply

    Hey Mark! Thanks so much for the great resources on your site and YouTube. Just started playing a few months ago and really want to build a solid musical foundation from which to grow my skills. It’s fun to read tab, play by ear and figure stuff out, but really want to know and understand to nuts and bolts of it all. I’ve also been taking some private lessons but, in all honesty, find that I get much more out of your video lessons The only trouble is that having your stuff available to me 24/7 has me always online and never putting my bass down! Gotta learn to pace myself. Thanks again and keep up the fine work.

  27. Dave Hansen June 25, 2017 at 4:32 pm - Reply

    Great learning materials. I’ve just started playing and this is exactly what I need. I’m looking forward to the day I can say this lesson is “too easy”! Practice, practice, practice.

  28. Glenn Wilson September 7, 2017 at 8:38 pm - Reply

    What’s a C7 flat9 and the rest of that you mentioned in the 2nd video at 15:38? I was lost after that. And how did you pick the notes you decided to play? Thanks

  29. Paúl Pazmiño November 23, 2017 at 9:00 pm - Reply

    you are the master. thank a lot. from Ecuador

  30. Prasanth February 6, 2018 at 7:18 am - Reply

    Sir, You are blessed person for serving free bass lessons to the world in these days. thank q very much sir, God bless you.

  31. John Huthmaker February 18, 2018 at 5:55 am - Reply

    I’ve met with a few different instructors. So far I havent picked one out that I jive well with. But one of the things I have asked all of them is for a method to learn the notes on the neck. Up until I watched this video, no one has provided a succinct method. Mark, you rock! I’m gonna have this nailed in no time now.

  32. dokyoo 17 December 23, 2018 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    Thank for the free lessons there as good as if it were in person.

  33. dokyoo 17 December 23, 2018 at 9:47 pm - Reply

    Thank from Canada

  34. Chuck Collins January 21, 2019 at 9:02 pm - Reply

    I started playing bass at 16 and got by on just learning basic notes. Now I’m 37 and just picked up a bass again about a month ago. I havent played in over 20 yrs. I found Mark on youtube a cpl weeks ago and I really feel like I’m actually learning the bass now. This has been one of the best learning tools I’ve seen on the net and bless you Mark for the free lessons. I would recommend your site to anyone who wants to learn or just sharpen their skills…!! Thank you again Mark.

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