This is a simple bass lesson on the Natural Minor Scale for beginners.
The Minor Scale
The natural minor scale is our basic foundation when it comes to the minor key.
In numbers relative to the basic major scale, the minor scale is:
1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
In the key of C, the minor scale would be:
C D Eb F G Ab Bb
We can play this scale starting on the third fret of the A string.
Get this pattern under your fingers by starting on a different note every time. When you move it around, the fret pattern and the fingering stay the same no matter where you take it. Once you feel comfortable with this, try starting on an open string.
The Minor Scale In Application
Now you know the shape, you can start experimenting with it to create your own riffs. Here is one to get you started:
This riff uses a box shape similar to the one we use when playing octaves. Because the frets are spaced further apart lower down the neck, it is more practical to play this riff using the first and fourth fingers. This means there will be less of a jump than if you used the first and third fingers.
However, don’t worry too much about the fingering. Do what feels comfortable for you and works best for the line.
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Well what if I have small hands and can’t hold each note down.?
Get you a short-scale bass or a bass where the frets are close to each other; Ibanez SR models
I have a Sterling by Music Man Stingray Short Scale. It’s comfortable because I have small hands too. I tend to shift a bit as well. It’s a work in progress. Sometimes I hold the neck incorrectly and therefore am not reaching certain notes properly.
Very good, I’m going slowly and soon I will subscribe a lesson. I like your method // Cheers
On the riff, why did you choose to use the 5th fret of the D instead of an Open G?
Always try to use fretted notes when possible (within reason). You have less control over an open string and it’s much harder to transpose when you’re relying on them. However, open strings are useful when purposefully added to overcome technical hurdles like position shifts.
Started playing again after 35 year layoff never learned how to read music always played by ear,
You’ve made reading music easy and enjoyable
Keep up the good work Mark!
You are truly an amazing bassist. Thank you for sharing some of your knowledge…
cool stuff. i like it…
So far i’m having fun with this…
Is it the same formula for every root note? For example: G A Bb C D Eb Fb G
great lesson thank you!
Thank you Mark, we keep learning every day
Thanks sir ..from sri lanka
Thanks…. great lesson. I bought my bass just one week ago and I was looking for lessons that teach me how to play and understand bass and music from the begining, cos it is my first time with an instrument. This site is one of my two favorites. Thanks again
Really appreciate your lessons, clearly explained.
Missed your explanaition of the “formula”
Copied from Major Scale:
“Scales are created using different combinations of whole and half steps.
A half step, or semitone, is the distance between two notes played one fret apart from each other on the bass.
A whole step, or tone, is a distance of two frets.”
So the formula for a natural minor scale, in steps is:
whole, half, whole, whole, half, whole, whole.