Bass scales

Scales for bass guitar with diagrams and explanation.
What follows is a guide trough different scale categories for bass players. The fingerboard diagrams are based on standard tuning (EADG). See other tunings for 5-string bass below.

Major

The Major scale is the most important in Western music and a good start when you begin learn scales on bass.

One-octave pattern, root on 3rd string

The fingerboard diagram below shows a C Major scale with the first root note on 3rd string. The scale is movable and can be used for all Major scales.

C Major scale diagram

C Major scale tablature.

C Major scale tab

The numbers above the tablature are suggested fingerings.

One-octave pattern, root on 4th string

It is, however, good to use more than one scale position. The diagram below shows a G Major with the first root on 4th string.

G Major scale diagram

G Major scale tablature.

G Major scale tab

The numbers above the tablature are suggested fingerings.

Bass scales in pdf

Scales in all keys for pdf download.
Choose between scales presented with fingerings as tabs or tabs together with standard notation.

Major scales (tab)

Major scales (tab + notation)

Minor

The Minor scale is next to Major the most important and fundamental knowledge in music.

One-octave pattern, root on 3rd string

The fingerboard diagram below shows a D Minor scale with the first root note on 3rd string. The scale is movable and can be used for all Minor scales.

D minor scale diagram

D Minor scale tablature.

D minor scale tab

The numbers above the tablature are suggested fingerings.

One-octave pattern, root on 4th string

As mention earlier, it is good to use more than one scale position. The diagram below shows an A Minor with the first root on 4th string.

A minor scale diagram

A Minor scale tablature.

A minor scale tab

The numbers above the tablature are suggested fingerings.

Bass scales in pdf

Scales in all keys for pdf download.
Choose between scales presented with fingerings as tabs or tabs together with standard notation.

Minor scales (tab)

Minor scales (tab + notation)

5-string bass

The 5-string bass is relatively common and there are two standard tunings: BEADG and EADGC.

Major scale in BEADG tuning

The fingerboard diagram below shows a C Major scale for one octave with a three notes per string shape. The scale is movable and can be used for all Major scales.

C Major scale diagram 5-stringed bass

Major scale in EADGC tuning

The fingerboard diagram below shows a C Major scale for one octave with the first root note on 4th string. The scale is movable and can be used for all Major scales.

C Major scale diagram 5-stringed bass

Scales in all 17 keys

The scale categories covered so far are Major, Natural Minor, Melodic Minor, Harmonic Minor, Major Pentatonic and Minor Pentatonic. More categories will be included in coming updates.