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Pentatonics All Over Your Bass



Kevin Guin

Pentatonic scales are a leaner, meaner version of their big brother scales that have more notes and they have a certain built-in advantage that you can easily discover by digging into their secrets. 

All things being equal, when you play scale materials that have less notes you will be covering more ground across the fingerboard with more string crossing and wider intervals. And due to the fact that a prominent first hurdle in playing guitars is learning to cross strings, you get accelerated lessons in traversing your fingerboard real estate when you study pentatonic scales. 

But there is a bright side to the difficulties of getting around your instrument with pentatonics.

When you are covering more ground with fewer notes there is automatically more space between the notes. In other words, the sound is less crowded, less conjunct. It’s a more “open” sound and that in itself is a very noticeable benefit to using pentatonics. 

The purpose of today’s lesson is to introduce a down and dirty, understandable method for doing a deep dive into pentatonic scale materials derived from the major scale – how to slot them out across your fingerboard, how to organize them, and how to ratchet up the difficulty once you are beyond the first couple of steps. 

Many people will have at least a bit of familiarity with the pentatonic topic. However, the questions must be asked: Are you truly playing these materials all over your instrument in all keys? Are you building positions and putting yourself through the paces to start mastering the material in multiple ways? 

The best way to describe your job is the following: 

  • Identify the note names and also the intervals in a pentatonic scale pair, ie, Gm/Bb Major pentatonic. 
  • Sing the notes carefully, taking care to hit the pitch centers as closely as possible
  • Play the rudimentary first position scale pattern.
  • Build all “modal” hand positions from that pentatonic pair from your low string up to the highest, ie, all five positions, using the most accessible fingering first.
  • Play the four-note patterns on 2-strings slowly and deliberately from the lowest position to the highest position and back again (approximately eight positions). 
  • Apply pattern mix-ups and dynamics let the fun begin! 

As always, if you should have any questions, please visit me online at

One observation on fingerboard memorization that I would like to point out are the two-string patterns.

If you first identify the positions of the minor and major pair you will notice that on both sides directly adjacent to them are the smaller “box” patterns. Then as you proceed higher along the fingerboard you will recognize these patterns again: small box, large box, small box, the minor, the major. 

I realize all this talk of the infamous box shapes on the fingerboard isn’t exactly standard terminology but in this case I think it helps to begin the process of memorization. And in each of these cases you can then begin to connect these 2-string shapes with their own vertical, full four-string hand positions to fill things out all across the fingerboard. 

In the video lesson, I introduce two different patterns to begin what I like to call the mix-ups.

First is the basic quadruplet pattern. The second is a simple displacement with a direction change. It is intended to be an introductory challenge, but like I say in the lesson: please don’t take any of these patterns for granted.

Every pattern study has it’s place and to go through the process of slotting it out on your fingerboard you will need a stout heart, completely single-minded attention, and your phone turned off! 

To complete any and all studies in my teaching I always add the dynamic element. Dynamics and accent studies are absolutely critical to bring yourself closer to actually making music. 

In this case if you can play each exercise, each hand position, and  each mix-up with a light touch, full note value, very low and flat dynamics first, and then add in accents for smart musical emphasis you will find that things start to sound like music very quickly. It’s a great feeling of musical creativity to have in hand that second beautiful world of expression that comes with a thorough study of dynamics. 

I truly hope all of you find value in this lesson and that you take a friend along to study these materials and bring yourselves closer to your musical goals by doing so. 

Want 2 Free Online Bass Lessons? Click Below:

Thanks to all for stopping in.


Remember… if you have any questions, you can always contact me online at | View more of my Bass Musician Magazine Lessons | And check out my Try Before You Buy

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BASS LINES: Triads & Inversions Part I



Jaime David Vazquez - Lessons For Bass Guitar

Triads & Inversions Part I

Hello bass players and bass fans! In this issue, we are going to study the triads and their inversions.

It is very important for all bassists to understand and master the triads, but it is even more important to understand their different inversions.

In Part I, we are going to learn what the triad is in fundamental position.

The Formula consists of root, third and fifth.

Degrees of the Triad

Major Triad: 1 – 3 – 5
Minor Triad: 1 – b3 – 5
Diminished Triad: 1 – b3 – b5
Augmented Triad: 1 – 3 – #5

Fig.1 – The C, Cm, Cdim & Caug triads
(Fundamental Position)

BASS LINES: Triads & Inversions Part I
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Bass Edu

Premiere! Bass Playthrough With Foetal Juice’s Bassist Lewis Bridges – From the Album, Grotesque



Premiere! Bass Playthrough With Foetal Juice's Bassist Lewis Bridges - From the Album, Grotesque

Premiere! Bass Playthrough With Foetal Juice’s Bassist Lewis Bridges – From the Album, Grotesque

Bassist Lewis Bridges Shares…

“Gruesome’s sparse intro marks a stark contrast from the intensity of the rest of the album.  The original intention was to keep the bass simple but colourful, however as I worked on it, the lines grew more expressive and the more striking flourishes began to emerge.  The intensity builds into a harmonic minor passage that takes us into the drop — a signature death grind cacophony.  This is where Foetal Juice thrives.  You’re getting a full-on right-hand barrage to in the face to take you into a groove-laden mulch-fest.

I owe my throbbing bass tone to the Darkglass Alpha Omega pedal borrowed from our sound engineer, Chris Fielding (ex-Conan), mixed with the clarity of the tried and true Ampeg SVT CL.

As mentioned earlier, colourful basslines are important, especially in a one-guitar band. Chucking some funny intervals and odd flourishes here and there brings life into the brutality. There’s no point sounding brutal if it’s not gonna be fucking evil too!

Recording this playthrough was hard work. This was not the fault of James Goodwin (Necronautical), who was kindly filming and is ace to work with, but because in true Foetal fashion, we had stinking hangovers — and that jam room was hot!”

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Bass Edu

Bass Lines: The Circle



jaime Vazquez

Bass Lines: The Circle…

Hello bass players and fans of bass! This month we’re going to study “The Circle.”

The Circle of Fourths can also be called “The Circle of Fifths or just The Circle.

Practicing the scales, chords, and ideas in general via the circle has been a common practice routine for jazz musicians and highly recommended.

It is a disciplined way of working through all twelve keys.

Plus, many bass root movements to jazz and pop songs move through sections of the circle.

Fig. 1 – “The Circle”

See you next month for more full bass attack!

#bassmusicianmag, #basslines, #bmmbasslines, #groovemaniac, #thecircle, #thecircleoffourths, #thecircleoffifths,#scales & #chords.

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Bass Edu

Approach Notes – Part 5



James Rosocha

Continuing our lesson of Approach Notes, Part 5…

In continuing with the concept of approach notes being applied to chord tones, this lesson approaches the root, third, fifth, and seventh degree of each arpeggio inversion by incorporating a double chromatic approach from above, and a single chromatic approach from below. 

The first examples approach the root of a G major 7th arpeggio as a double chromatic from above and a single chromatic approach from below -before continuing to the third, fifth, seventh, double chromatic from above/ single from below to the root, continue to the third, fifth, and come back down.

The next example approaches the first inversion of G major 7th arpeggio.

A double chromatic from above/ single from below approaches the third, continue to the fifth, seventh, root, double chromatic from above/ single below to the third, continue up to the fifth and seventh, and back down.

The third example approaches a second inversion of a G major arpeggio.

A double chromatic from above/ single from below approaches the fifth, continue to the 7th, root, 3rd, double chromatic from above/ single from below to the 5th, continue to the 7th, root, and back down. 

This final example approaches a third inversion of a G major 7th arpeggio.

A double chromatic from above and below approaches the 7th, continue to the root, 3rd, 5th, double chromatic from above and below to the 7th, continue to the root, 3rd, and back down.

Be sure to pace yourself with these lessons to avoid burning out.

Being overly ambitious with your practice schedule can lead to unrealistic expectations. Try learning one approach note concept and one chord type a week. Change your practice routine as necessary and tailor it to your needs as a musician. Good luck!

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Bass Edu

BASS LINES – The Blue Notes (Minor Blues Scale)



jaime Vazquez

Hello bass players and bass fans! Happy New Year 2024!

In this issue, we are going to study the blue notes.

In blues, jazz, and rock, a blue note is a note that (for expressive purposes) is sung or played at a slightly different pitch from standard. Typically the alteration is between a quartertone and a semitone, but this varies depending on the musical context.

The blue notes are usually said to be the lowered third(b3), lowered fifth(b5) and lowered seventh(b7) scale degrees. The lowered fifth(b5) is also known as the raised fourth(#4). Though the blues scale has “an inherent minor tonality, it is commonly ‘forced’ over major-key chord changes, resulting in a distinctively dissonant conflict of tonalities”.

Blue notes are used in many blues songs, in jazz, rock and in conventional popular songs with a “blue” feeling.


The A Minor Blues Scale

1 – b3 – 4 – (#4/b5) – 5 – b7

A – C – D – (D#/Eb) – E – Bb

The grades(blue notes):

b3, (#4/b5), b7

C, (D#/Eb), Bb

See you next month for more full bass attack!

#bassmusicianmag, #basslines, #bmmbasslines, #groovemaniac, #thebluenotes, #minorbluesscale & #bluesscale

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