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Ear Training for Bassists

Ear Training for Bassists

Ear Training for Bassists…

When we talk about ear training, most people shudder and rename it ear straining however, it doesn’t have to be that way!

I am in the process of writing a book about “Ear Training For Bassists” and here is an excerpt from that book.


When we look at intervals, we usually think in terms of how each interval relates to a scale, be it Major or Minor. So C to E is a Major 3rd, C to G is a Perfect 5th and so on but do you ever think about where else in a particular scale are other Major 3rds or Perfect 5ths?

In the key of C; F to A is a Major 3rd as well as G to B. D to A is a Perfect 5th, E to B is a Perfect 5th, F to C is a Perfect 5th, G to D is a Perfect 5th, and A to E is a Perfect 5th.

A great way to start is to isolate each interval and listen to its sound.

Below is a list of all ascending intervals in the Key of C. I have added songs that begin with the interval chosen. If you are unfamiliar with the song, go to YouTube and you will be able to find all of them.

  • Minor 2nds: 3-4, 7-8 (Theme from Jaws)
  • Major 2nds: 1-2,  2-3, 4-5, 5-6, 6-7 (Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer)
  • Minor 3rds:  2-4, 3-5, 6-8, 7-9 (Smoke on the Water)
  • Major 3rds:  1-3, 4-6, 5,7  (When The Saints Go Marching In)
  • Perfect 4ths: 1-4, 2-5, 3-6 5-8 6-9 7-10 (Here Comes the Bride)
  • Tritone: 4-7, 7-11 (Theme from the Twilight Zone)
  • Perfect 5ths: 1-5, 2-6 37 4-8  (Star Wars)
  • Minor 6ths: 3-8 6-11, 7-12 (Black Orpheus)
  • Major 6ths: 1-6, 2-7, 4-9, 5-10 (Take the A Train)
  • Minor 7ths: 2-8, 3-9, 5-11, 6-12, 7-13 (Somewhere from West Side Story)
  • Major 7ths: 1-7, 4-10 (Bali Ha’i)

In the next column, we will tackle these intervals descending.

If you are interested in studying online, visit my website The Bass Guitar Channel and contact me for further information.

David C Gross has been a bassist for a lot of people, and is also the author of 14 bass instructional bass books, 3 instructional videos and has a band named Theorcolus. You can contact him online at:


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