How to Learn Bass Scales (Become a Better Bassist, Not a Robot)

Don’t become a bass robot - learn bass scales the right way.

If you’re doing the Beginner to Badass course, this lesson would fit after Module 7, where you’ll learn the major scale sans robot costumes. :robot:

One Major Scale Shape (To Rule Them All)

You should definitely know this shape. Before Sauron gets his hands on it. Here it is in C major, where we started in the video:

And it’s the exact same thing wherever you move it on the neck. (starting on the E or A string so you don’t run out of strings) Look, I’ll prove it:

Melodies That Use the Major Scale

Learning melodies helps turn scales into music, plus it’s super fun. Here are a bunch of melodies I wrote out for you to try:

Blackbird (Beatles)
John Williams Themes
I Wanna Be Sedated (Ramones)
Christmas Melodies
More bass melodies from

What’s your favorite bass line that uses the major scale?


Thanks Josh!


Thanks Josh
I am trying to learn all of the major scales this month on the piano and the sax so I will add bass as well now

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The nice thing about the bass is, once you’ve learned the intervals of the Major, minor, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, Locrian, etc, scales, you can play any scale from any root note, anywhere on the fretboard.


The Perfect Kiss


Great vid, @JoshFossgreen. After a 10 day playing hiatus this was the perfect way to remotivate me, and give me something new without jumping back in where I left off.


Thanks, @JoshFossgreen . . . . and ditto what @PeteP said above!

I was starting to drift off and needed some refocusing for my practice. I left you a thumbs up on the Tube as well. :+1:


All of them?
On piano sax and now bass?
In a month?


I am trying
Once you know them on one instrument it is not too much of an ask to play them on another.
I play sax a little so I am ahead of the game on that but I am completely new to piano and bass
Even if I don’t know them all by the end of the month, I will know a lot more than I do now


So I said I was going to use this as my easing back into playing after a break, and so I am, but I just wanted to ask @JoshFossgreen if he has an opinion on John Williams as he seems to have assigned a middle name on the transcription. :wink:


Great video, @JoshFossgreen! However, I had to stop it after the first 30 seconds to deal with the laughing cramps for a second… :grinning:

You know, maybe you could have asked us here in the forum to give it a go with the E/A vamp and come up with our own basslines first, and perhaps included a few short “soundbites” from your students into the video!? Nah, maybe not… :crazy_face:

But, seriously: very well-done video, awesome way to illustrate how learning turns into fun and how “dry” knowledge can turn into great music!

Oh, and please bring back BassBot - he’s so cute!


As I usually do with your YouTube and lessons, I watched this once without my bass, then again with it in hands. Because I knew the early stuff well enough I was playing Bassbot’s version of the major scale as I listened to you, then switched to some improv afterwards. Thoroughly enjoyed the time plucking.


I’m hoping BassBot joins the forum!


BassBot is always with us.

@bassbot quote


:left_speech_bubble: Continuous effort—not strength or intelligence—is the key to unlocking our potential. — Winston Churchill


This video is glorious and has changed the way I teach from now on. Thanks @JoshFossgreen . And, of course, thanks @Bassbot


Hi! To find out what I can do, say @Bassbot display help.


I’ll bite!

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I currently know how to do the following things:

@Bassbot start tutorial

Starts one of the following interactive tutorials: tutorial, advanced tutorial.

@Bassbot roll 2d6

:game_die: 3, 6

@Bassbot quote

:left_speech_bubble: Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you — Princess Diana

@Bassbot fortune

:crystal_ball: You may rely on it


Haha, good eye @PeteP. The man is a legend!

I love that idea! I’ll do that sometime for sure.

He might need a few repairs, he’s held together with a considerable amount of duct tape…

And thanks @Gio!!! :heart: