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How to Play Scales on the Bass Guitar

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


Playing scales, sometimes at first seems daunting. It seems like material that you don't want to cover. I know it can be boring. But, for me it's a daily ritual. Scales are a way that we can learn different ways around the fingerboard. We can refreshing ourselves on the material. We can. It'll cause us to hear tonality and just keep all the shapes under our fingers that we need. Scales are the building blocks for so much of the music that we play, that once you put yourself in situations that may be uncomfortable, you can always rely on scales to keep notes under your fingers, and make new material possible for you. The important thing about learning scales and practicing scales is making it interesting for you. So, you want to change the fingerings, change the way that you go up the neck and down the neck of the guitar. You might want to change the rhythym that you're playing when you're playing scales. The tempo. All of these things are possible ways to make playing scales every day more interesting than just playing it the same way. In fact, playing it the same every day won't really help you that much, unless you're just going to play a scale exactly like that in a performance, which just doesn't happen that often. So, we want to make playing scales part of learning music, part of a way to refresh ourselves on different combinations of notes, playing all the keys, having everything available to us. If we think of them as building blocks, then we know that we can build everything that we want to build just by learning those structures. Even though I really know all my scales, I can work on tempo, I can work on different fingerings. If it's problems with my left hand, or my right hand, I can use scales to work through any of those issues that I might have, because I already know the scales so I don't have to think about them anymore. So, they become really helpful tools for learning the rest of the music.

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