Bass scales in tab, notation and movable scale diagrams. A complete reference for bass guitarists of all styles and levels of experience. Use these scales in your basslines, songwriting, riffs and improvisation.
All of the bass scales included here are shown in tab with a tonic note of A. Play them to get accustomed to their sound, and to hear how they differ from one another.
The scales are also shown in movable scale diagram form. In each diagram, the tonic note is shown as a white circle. All other notes in the scale are shown as black circles.
If you would like to learn more bass scales shapes, check out our Bass Scales, Chords and Arpeggios Book – more info here: Bass Scales, Chords & Arpeggios Book
Pentatonic Minor Bass Scale
The pentatonic minor is one of the most commonly used scales in rock and pop music. Use if to compose riffs and bass lines, or in improvisation.
Pentatonic Major Bass Scale
The pentatonic major bass scale produces a clear, open sound and is great for use in major chord sequences.
Blues Bass Scales
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.)
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.
Natural Minor Bass Scale
A good scale for using with minor chord sequences. Also called the Aeolian mode.
Harmonic Minor Scale
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
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
This is a good scale to use over dominant seventh chords.
Phrygian Dominant Bass Scales
This is a very atmospheric scale with a distinctive Eastern sound. Can be used to great effect in metal bass lines and solos.
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.
Master Your Bass Guitar With Guitar Command
If you want to learn more about bass guitar scales, chords and arpeggios, check out the Guitar Command reference book, available from Amazon and many other bookstores. Sample pages and more info can be found here.