From scales to?

Hi all. I graduated about a month ago and have been enjoying playing along on YouTube bass tabs. I’m also steadily practicing the 5 main scales (major, minor, maj and min pentatonic, blues).
My question is: how do I ‘leverage’ those scales? I don’t know what to do with them. What’s the next step? Practical advice for scale applications is much appreciated.


I am working through the Chord Tones course at talkingbass which is a great next step past scales. He also has an in depth scales course but I have not taken it.

In chord tones the 3rd module dives into the “so what do I do with these things.

I would suspect the scales course is similar. M
They are great courses and a natural next step from here.

I think @PamPurrs may have gone through both and might have more insights.


Yes I did both, but I’m not sure what your question is



Not sure if this will work for you or not but I suggest you take a look at Justin Guitar where he has complete FREE courses but unfortunately they are geared to 6 string guitars. Here is a link:

Here is a YouTube sample from that site that may be of interest to you.

I would also suggest going to Blues Guitar Unleashed. There again this is geared to 6 string guitars. Here is a link:
And a Youtube sample from the site:

And one more for the hell of it from Active Melody:

Keep in mind that the main function of a Bass is to work with the Drummer to keep the beat, timing and rhythm driving forward.
Most of the time, it is not to grab the spotlight and to shred riffs up and down the neck we just stay in the background and look cool :slightly_smiling_face:

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Try learning Around the World by Daft Punk, it may give you some ideas :smiley:

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I did the Scales first, and was 1/2 way thru Chord Tones when I went into the Hospital in Oct 2020. I didn’t play the bass for a couple months, just picking it back up in late Jan 2021.
I have gone back to do some refresher in the Chord tones, but have not yet started back where I left off, due to increasing drama and issues in my life and health.
I have heard, or read, specifically on recently that the correct approach would be to learn Chord Tones first, and then Scales.
In fact, both classes are so similar in structure, and lessons, that they are close to the same class. This is not a bad thing, as it just reinforces what you learned in the last course.
Upon my review of the Chord Tones (to refresh what I learned again after my break in playing) I went back thru certain lessons, that, when I read the title, I thought “Ok, that doesn’t sound all that familiar, better re-do this one”. I found out that I actually retained most everything that I learned, I just needed that refresher or reminder to easily go thru the review.

I am going to finish the Chord tones class in the next 6 weeks, due to Mark cancelling the All Access pass.
I started the First of two (with a scheduled third) Simple Steps to sight reading classes. I am not going to have time to finish that one unfortunately, and you almost need to pay for that class to use the content that comes with the paid tuition. Mainly the Pdf.s. I cheated and screen shot all the lessons, and have a catalog of them, but it will be too much work I think to get thru it before June1.
I might go back and pay for those classes at some time, when I am not broke and am past legal issues, because his approach is a little different then the normal way to teach sight reading (from what he said and from what I have read elsewhere) and it really is SIMPLE. It is very worth the cost, if you can afford it and not go broke.

As far as Chord Tones before Scales, I agree and disagree. If you don’t have much scale background, and don’t know the modes and many of the variations, then I believe it will be EASIER to learn the Chord tones first, as there is a lot less notes to learn and understand as you go thru the course. If you have already learned and understand the basics of the modes, then you can get thru the Scales course first, and then the Chord Tones is almost a simpler, yet fun and worthwhile review of the scales. Of course extending chord tones doesn’t always follow scales in multi octaves, so there is still more to learn from the Chord tones class, but if I had to choose one or the other, I still would have chosen Scales.
If you don’t have a fairly decent understanding of at least the modes, then I would recommend the Chord Tones over the Scales.

And about the question, yes, in module 3 of 3, in each course, there is some focus as to how to use and apply them in your own practice, learning and playing.

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That’s 6 with Major and Minor Blues scales.
And just when you thought there was light at the end of the tunnel only to discover it was a freight train coming straight at you at 100 mph you have the different Modes to consider thrown in. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Scales for Bass are great to help teach you the notes on the fretboard and show you where the different note degrees are in each scale.

Just take it slow and easy. Look at how Josh progresses in Module 1.

You will see a lot of Bass players only playing the Root of each chord and a lot that seem to stick with playing only the Root and Fifth of a scale using just quarter and eighth notes.
It’s all good and there is always something to learn. The whole key is practice.

In my opinion scales are a greater concern to 6 string guitar players because they may be playing solos and should know all of the notes they can use in any given key.


This is the perfect question after learning the scale forms… and it is a way harder question to answer and that’s why all the internet material shows you scale forms… and not what to do with them.

I’m working on a more robust answer… but in the meantime - the way to move forward is to learn bass lines. If you’ve got a good idea of the scales, you should be able to connect the scales to the bass lines you’re learning.
Steal every cool pattern and rhythm that you learn in the bass lines and practice it through your scales.

The other place where this will start working for you is if you start playing with other people and they tell you the chord progression / key they want to jam in and leave it up to you to make the bass line.

Good luck!


Amazing series of responses, and all good advice. Thanks so much, bass mates! I will absorb and move forward.

After the BassBuzz course I actually had been going through StudyBass, just to keep learning. Still, as many of us have strongly hinted to Josh, an Advanced Beginner/Intermediate BassBuzz course would be awesome!

I am getting great joy from playing along on YouTube (key phrase: ‘bass tabs play along’). Favorites so far - though not all mastered:

Shape of You, Ed Sheeran, EuBasss
Piano Man, Billy Joel, Leo Bass Covers
Shape of My Heart, Sting, EuBasss
Money, Pink Floyd, Cover Solutions
Still Got the Blues, Gary Moore, Bass Soul
Money For Nothing, Dire Straits, EU Basss
Love Hurts, Nazareth, Harry - Music & Stuff
Africa, Toto, Cover Solutions
Hey Jude, Beatles, EU Basss
Every Breath You Take, The Police, Roberto Fasciani
Comfortably Numb, Pink Floyd, Marco Sassetti
Sultans of Swing, Dire Straits, YourBassTABS
All my Loving, Beatles, EU Basss
Baba O’riley, The Who, EU Basss



Also, try playing scales musically, with drum tracks and feel the scale and come up with little riffs.

Another site you may want to check out is
It is Damian Erskine’s site. He is also a great player, slightly more Jazz focus, but as you know, the more you know, the more you know, and the better you will be. Plus most principles apply to all styles.
And although I appreciate Jazz, I am far from a Jazz bassist, more Punk and Funk.

His price is $7. per month, $75 per year, and $150 lifetime. Life time includes his two books.
But there is a catch.
If you sign up before May 1st, for either the monthly or yearly plan, as long as you keep your membership current, you can lock that price.
on May 1st, his price is bumping up to $10 per month or $100 per year, and the lifetime is not available after that date. (this is still incredibly reasonable. Damian is a great guy (not taking away from how amazing Josh and Gio are at all, its there are more then 2 great people in the world :wink:)
and he is extremely active in his community (the bass education forum), and very responsive to e-mails (again, as are Josh and Gio), so it is like a 2nd home for me, although the membership and forum are not as active as Bass Buzz, but it is a newer sight.
His books are extremely useful, just like Josh’s books (if you have not yet bought Josh’s books, you can get them on his other website,
It works really well for me to have alternate views on the same subject matter. I would not call Josh or Damian’s books, one better than the other, but they are a perfect compliment to each other IMHO, and work that way for me.
I have had so many Ah-Ha moments in Josh’s Scales book, and the same material is covered in Damian’s books, but he has a couple exercises that incorporate Rhythm to scales, which is great for Rhythm, and mode practice.
He has an accompanying video in the lessons. I have just scratched the surface of his books, but still use Josh’s all the time.
One good / hard thing about Damian’s books is he does not add Tab, so it forces me to use my limited sight reading skills, and can only help me to improve upon it.

I completely beleive, that you can’t have too many resources, as long as they are vetted, and you don’t get stuck with somebody teaching you things that are against all the others, and / or bad habits and techniques.

I use in order, which will change in June, I will explain after the list
1-Bass Buzz / B2B
2-Talking Bass - Cord Tones, Scales & Sight Reading part 1 - beginner.
3-Bass Education - LIfetime membership with 2 books w/video companion to books
4-Study Bass - free lessons

After June 1 -
1 - Bass Buzz
2- Bass Education
3 - Study Bass
4 - Talking Bass - Free only (losing the all access pass, it is not available after June 1)

I also look on Youtube and watch and read other things that people post here and elsewhere.