Bass Emporium Lesson #7: Two Octave Scales – All Over The Place
by Ed Friedland
February was a short month, so I suppose you might need a few more days to master the previous lesson—so, how about knocking it out this weekend? Two octave major scales in all keys, all through the fingerboard? Piece of cake.
The next logical step in the process is to take the major scale and look at it “full range”. To my way of thinking, that means you pick a key (how about C major?), determine the lowest note on your bass from that key (E on a 4 string bass), and then the highest note (D on a 19 fret neck, E on a 21 fret neck, F on 22 fret neck and G on a 24 fret neck). The next step is to play the C major scale starting on your lowest available note (E) and playing it all the way up to the highest note (whatever your bass allows). And of course, the goal is to find as many ways to traverse this great distance as you can.
While you’re doing this, keep track of a few things:
• The specific note names are critically important.
• You must know what scale degree (number) you are playing at all times.
• Know the solfege syllable of each note from the key you are playing (Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti, Do).
Sure, it’s a lot to think about, but what else are you doing with all that spare brain power you’ve got besides collecting dust? Use it or lose it I say, and if you’ve already lost it—this will help restore it. I guarantee that studying music will make you smarter—it balances out the effects of living like a musician!
Example 1 shows you the full range C major scale on a 4-string bass with 20 frets. It goes across the fingerboard in open position, and then climbs up the neck. Sure, there is a lot of shifting here, but it’s good to know how to do this.
Example 2 uses the old bounce-off-an-open-string-to-jump-to-a-higher-position trick—in this case the A string. You can see how elegant and efficient this technique is.
Example 3 bounces off the D string.
Example 4 ounces off the G string.
There are many other possible fingerings for this exercise, get to work finding them!
Ed Friedland is a renowned Bassist, Educator and Author. He has authored over 15 books and DVDs and has played with the likes of Joe Beck, Larry Coryell, Robben Ford, Paul Horn, Clay Jenkins, Mike Metheny, Bud Shank, Lew Tabackin & Michal Urbaniak to name just a few. Ed is also currently teaching at Bass Emporium in Austin, Texas. Check out the Ed Friedland website for full information about him at http://www.edfriedland.com/.