Addicted shapes

I was making a bassline for a cover (just because I was too lazy to learn the actual bassline) and I found myself using the root-fifth-octave shape a lot, like maybe too much. I mean it sounds good, easy to use, and you don’t need to care about the major or minorness of the chord. Perfect for someone without much brain like me. I think the song that influenced me to use this shape so much is Cinderella by Tattoo Colour during the prehook (Tattoo Colour - Cinderella - YouTube) since I spent so much time learning this song.

So after realizing my addiction to this shape, it made me want to know other’s shape addiction too. So, what’s your go-to shapes? Why is that the case? I’m curious.


When my ears get lazy I find myself in the major pentatonic shape.
I have a few different things that make me cringe now when I play them.
It’s tough getting your ear to work and your hands to follow the music instead of the patterns!
This has been a life-long struggle for me.
I love patterns, but when I’m playing patterns instead of music I get real frustrated.


I think it’s common to revert to shapes that work and that you are familiar with. And, really: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

But, I understand where you are coming from and that you want to broaden your palette.

First, my own fallback shape is an extension of yours, the “funk box” (includes your notes and additionally the fourth and the minor seventh) - works with almost all rock, funk etc.

Check out Josh’s video on this here: Beginner Funk Bass Made Simple (Bootsy’s Funk Formula)

And then, a further extension of the funk box is basically using pentatonics over a larger range. Whenever I want to explore a bit more of the fretboard for a fill etc, I use this shape (boxed in in red):

A good way to (slowly) get away from only playing one’s preferred shapes is to copy what others have done and try to incorporate that into your playing. What you will notice in a lot of rock, funk etc is that there is pentatonics everywhere. Still, there are many different pentatonics licks that you can learn and then incorporate.