The Major Scale For Bass Guitar

2019-01-17T18:09:42+00:00November 25th, 2016|Categories: Bass Scales & Arpeggios, Beginner Bass Lessons|22 Comments

This is a simple bass lesson on the Major Scale for beginners.


What Is A Scale?

A scale is any set of notes in alphabetical order between a root note and its octave. A root (or tonic) is the first note of a scale.

Here are the notes in the C Major scale:


Building A Major Scale

Scales are created using different combinations of whole and half steps.

A whole step, or tone, is the distance between two notes played one fret apart from each other on the bass.

A half step, or semitone, is a distance of two frets.

In a major scale, the formula is whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half.

The C Major Scale

We are going to play this scale starting on the third fret of the A string. Using the formula above, the notes can be worked out by adding a whole or half step each time.

Here is the scale notated:

Moving Scales Around The Neck 

To practice moving this pattern around the neck, you can repeat the scale moving up one fret each time. So if you started on C, you would play a C Major, then a C# Major, then a D Major etc.

You can also play this shape starting on the E string. Try the same exercise starting on the G on the third fret of the E string.

Try alternating the fingers on your right hand for a harder challenge. 

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  1. Mark S Beretta November 29, 2016 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    I Like !!!!

  2. Tommy B December 26, 2016 at 4:20 pm - Reply

    good stuff 🙂

  3. James January 15, 2017 at 4:21 am - Reply

    I learned a lot from this video. Thanks. Great video, lesson.

  4. ARIIOEHAU Francis January 16, 2017 at 7:47 am - Reply

    Like it

  5. Vincent Stroup March 28, 2017 at 10:41 pm - Reply

    Excellent video, very descriptive. Thank you!

  6. Marek Mudrik June 2, 2017 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    Thank you! Very helpful.

  7. David Hardey July 17, 2017 at 3:06 am - Reply

    Excellent lesson. The lightbulb just came on about major scales!!!! Thank You!

  8. Emily Harrell July 21, 2017 at 2:02 am - Reply

    you are awesome

  9. Daren Dowlat July 30, 2017 at 5:13 pm - Reply

    Good start for beginners

  10. Elco Wallé August 16, 2017 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    How I can download video for the bass lesson on the Major Scale for beginners.

  11. Mike McKenzie September 29, 2017 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    Very Thorough. Complicated, yet simplified. I have watched a few of your vids. Very satisfied!

  12. Christopher Rooke December 15, 2017 at 8:49 pm - Reply

    Thanks. Just started learning the bass guitar and found this theory lesson very intuitive. Also helped with my understanding of playing the acoustic guitar.

  13. Ruben Ramos February 1, 2018 at 6:14 pm - Reply

    I luv it!!!

  14. sean culun February 17, 2018 at 10:23 am - Reply

    what are you all talking about…? its not easy to understand??? its too fast shown…..cant see where he is placing fingers…..too far away ???

  15. Benevolent February 27, 2018 at 2:41 pm - Reply


  16. Peter Bailey June 3, 2018 at 9:51 pm - Reply

    Awesome, it takes a little while to get used to the frets being so far appart, which finger to use and when, but it will come together with practice. Thanks for a great introduction to beginning to play the bass guitar.

  17. Verna Hill June 23, 2018 at 9:10 am - Reply

    Very helpful

  18. Phil September 23, 2018 at 12:26 pm - Reply

    Really great teaching Mark, thank you.

  19. Donald Miller October 7, 2018 at 6:52 am - Reply

    It is so great to have a well-educated teacher. I think you really are the best. Justin Sandercoe is a really nice guy and makes a lot of his material available for everyone. But you know music theory far better than, and that makes a good deal of difference. I’ve been trying to figure out scales on guitar for a long time, and on one of your videos, you cleared the whole thing up in just a couple of minutes!
    BTW, I’m considering the bass as a slightly altered instrument from the guitar. For instance, the Eddy Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddie acronym even though it only goes to “good” on the bass is still helpful in learning both the bass and the guitar. Also – my own thought on the subjecct – there’s nothing mean about the acronym, for if one notices Wile E. Coyote’s middle name, there’s an E, and it stands for Eddy, and everyone knows that despite whatever happens to Eddie, he’s perfectly fine in the next scene.

  20. peter gaillard November 7, 2018 at 1:16 pm - Reply

    you are very well knowledge in your field, a great bass player and teacher. I am a beginner and never thought it would be so much fun learning how to play the bass. thanks and keep up the great work.

  21. Doug Allen January 5, 2019 at 1:43 am - Reply

    Thank you. Been playing 30ish years. I’ve always wanted to take lessons for theory purposes mostly, but also technique. Love your explanations. Thanks again.

  22. Eliza February 4, 2019 at 11:56 pm - Reply

    Hi, I believe this is incorrect. A whole step would be two frets while a half step would be one fret.

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