Best (iPhone) app to learn scales, modes and shapes

One cool thing about playing bass is that you can use visual aids (shapes) that can be moved all over the fretboard and thus be applied to different keys. Doing the same thing on, e.g., a saxophone is much more “messy” and a bigger pain in the behind to learn.

Still, to learn these shapes for the many different scales and modes, I was wondering whether there was a good app for that, which you could recommend?

I guess I could draw it all out on paper, but with an app it could be so much easier and more flexible to change the starting fret, limit the shape to one octave (or expand it vertically or horizontally, and depending on whether you play 4-, 5-, or -string bass), and perhaps have the software do quizzes to check your progress…

Anyway, love to hear from you who have tested some apps out there and find out which one you’d recommend!


I don’t know of anything like this, I’m curious too! My approach when I was first learning was just to stare at the bass for hours and hours (while playing) and burn it into my brain. :fire::brain:

MAJOR EDIT: Of course, saves the day again with this free exercise -

You can customize from “Guitar” to “Bass” with the gear in the top right, change what part of the neck is available, which scales, etc. I just played with it a bit, and it seems that it will mess with the shapes a fair amount, i.e. you can’t pick which scale shapes it’ll use, only the scale. It might show you a G major scale that runs all on the G string (which would require shifting to play).


Thanks, @JoshFossgreen! That webpage looks like a great resource for learning about chords and intervals - it’s not quite what I had in mind at first, but it is a good place to refresh your basic music theory, and probably pick up a lot of new knowledge on the way.

I found some webpages that show shapes for some scales, but I guess I was wondering whether there was an app that had everything neatly collected and organized in one place. Of course, in the long run, it should be about burning that knowledge into one’s brain, but all the help we can get from modern tools is appreciated :grin:

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I doubt there’s any one place that has exactly what you’re looking for, with the ability to customize scale shapes in particular. You could throw together some flashcards or something maybe?

Yeah, that is what I was afraid of… I am almost tempted to pick up coding to create such an app myself (can’t be much harder than learning the bass, ha)! I have, however, indeed begun to put something like flashcards together and will share in good time for feedback and input from the forum!

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You might want to look at Selah Chords:

Bass isn’t on the list, but you can just create the tuning yourself.

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Thanks for your input, @jlundell - much appreciated. Yes, it looks as if this app can do part of what I was looking for, namely showing different possible fingerings for almost all conceivable chords. As for another important aspect - the shapes for the most important scales - maybe I should indeed prepare some flashcards myself, as @JoshFossgreen suggested.

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