Bass Scales

Bass Scales

Bass scales in tab, notation and movable scale diagrams. A complete reference for bass guitarists of all styles and abilities.

Use these scales in your basslines, songwriting, riffs and improvisation.

All of the bass scales on this page are shown in tab with a tonic note of A, and as movable (transposable) scale diagrams.

Note: The tabs don’t necessarily correspond to the diagrams, although they do show the same scale. They’ve been included as a quick way of learning the sound of each scale. The tabs contain open string notes, and can’t be transposed.

By learning the scales using the diagrams, you can move them up and down the bass neck and play them with any root note. Of course, you can also play them in open position, playing open strings instead of the relevant dots..

If any part of this page is unclear, feel free to ask us any questions in the comments section. Enjoy!

The movable shapes are shown in the scale diagrams below the tab. In each diagram, the tonic note is shown as a white circle. All other notes in the scale are shown as black circles.

  • Want this (and more) information at your fingertips? Check out our printable Bass Scales, Chords & Arpeggios Book. This book also features multiple diagrams per scale. You can see sample pages, and download the book, here: Bass Scales Book.
  • Learn to play chords on your bass guitar: visit our Bass Chords page.

Bass Scales

Pentatonic Minor Bass Scale

Bass Scales - A Pentatonic Minor TAB

A Pentatonic Minor Bass TAB

Pentatonic Minor Bass Diagram

Pentatonic Minor Bass Diagram

The pentatonic minor is one of the most commonly used scales in rock and pop music. Use it to compose riffs and bass lines, or in improvisation.

Pentatonic Major Bass Scale

Bass Scales - A Pentatonic Major Bass TAB

A Pentatonic Major Bass TAB

Pentatonic Major Bass Diagram

Pentatonic Major Bass Diagram

The pentatonic major bass scale produces a clear, open sound and is great for use in major chord sequences.

Blues Bass Scales

A Blues Scale Bass TAB

A Blues Scale Bass TAB

Blues Scale Bass Diagram Bass

Blues Scale Bass Diagram Bass

The blues scale, as its name suggests, is often used in blues music. It is also widely used in rock and jazz. Learn where the blues notes fall and accentuate them for maximum effect. (Blues notes are the flattened fifth notes, e.g. the E flats in the A blues scale above.)

Major Scale

A Major Bass TAB

A Major Bass TAB

Major Scale Bass Diagram

Major Scale Bass Diagram

The major scale is one of the first bass scales you should learn. Knowing the intervals between the notes of a major scale is important in understanding all other scales. Once you know the sound it produces and the scale shapes needed to play it in all keys, learn how it can be changed to make other bass scales.

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Natural Minor Bass Scale

A Natural Minor Bass TAB

A Natural Minor Bass TAB

Natural Minor Bass Scale TAB

Natural Minor Bass Scale Diagram

A good scale for using with minor chord sequences. Also called the Aeolian mode.

Harmonic Minor Scale

Bass Scales - Harmonic Minor Scale Bass TAB

Harmonic Minor Scale Bass TAB

Harmonic Minor Scale Bass Diagram

Harmonic Minor Scale Bass Diagram

A scale that gives your playing a ‘classical music’ sound. Incorporate it into your bass playing for variety and for effect.

Dorian Mode Bass Scales

A Dorian Bass TAB

A Dorian Bass TAB

Dorian Scale Bass Diagram

Dorian Scale Bass Diagram

One of the most important modal bass scales, the Dorian modal has a folky sound, and is a useful scale to use with minor seventh chords.

Mixolydian Bass Scales

A Mixolydian Bass TAB

A Mixolydian Bass TAB

Mixolydian Scale Bass Diagram

Mixolydian Scale Bass Diagram

This is a good scale to use over dominant seventh chords.

Phrygian Dominant Bass Scales

A Phrygian Dominant TAB

A Phrygian Dominant TAB

Phrygian Dominant Bass Diagram

Phrygian Dominant Bass Diagram

This is a very atmospheric scale with a distinctive Eastern sound. Can be used to great effect in metal bass lines and solos.

Chromatic Scale

Chromatic Scale Bass Diagram

Chromatic Scale Bass Diagram

This bass scale can be used to create interesting effects and lines. It is also very good for developing left-right hand coordination and as a pre-gig warm up.

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5 thoughts on “Bass Scales

    1. admin Post author

      Hi there,
      Place your fingers on both the black and the open dots. The open dots are part of the scale too.

      Reply

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