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How to Practice Scales on Bass Guitar

Learn how to practice scales on the bass guitar from musician John Sutton in this online guitar lesson from Howcast.


Now I wanna talk you through how to practice the scales that we learned. Scales are one way to talk about tonality, but they're not always the most musical. So, we can use scales to open up our ears, we can use scales to learn the fingerboard of the bass better, and we can use scales to hear harmony and music in different ways. So, you can practice scales by changing the order that you play the notes, or playing the notes in different combinations. If we're taking A major, we can play up 5 notes of the scale, and then, go back down to the 2nd note, and play the next 5 from the 2nd note. Then, go back down to the 3rd note, and play 5 notes from the 3rd note, always on the A major scale. Playing variations like this will get different shapes under your fingers, and help you approach the scale in different ways. Here's another example of how to practice your scales, changing up the note order, and getting different shapes under your fingers. We can practice by what we call playing in 3rds - skipping one note, and then, returning to the note we just skipped, skipping the next note, and returning to the note we just skipped after that. If we're playing an A major, we start on A, skip B to go to C-sharp, and then return to B, skip C sharp and go to D, return to C-sharp, skip D and go to E, and return to D. Keep going up the scale, and it sounds like this. So, those are ways to open up your ears, and open up your hands to different variations, just using the scales that we already learned.

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