Hi guys,

I am at 81 lesson, but I feel I am missing something regarding scales. I can play minor/major/pentatonic, but I dont know what is a right starting point/fret. For example If I wanna play Fminor should I start from 1st fret E string or 8th fret A string, etc.

The similar problem with reading notes without tabs with exact fretting. For example, I can see I should play C, D, C, C, E. But which C I should pick to start on my fretboard? :smiley:

Thx for your help.


Either or both, or any others on the fretboard.
Actually best to try them all to get used to playing in that area.
of course, some spots you cannot easily run a scale in the same way (F at E1 for example needs a different fingering as there are no notes past the open string.
Scales can start with various fingers (1,2 & 4) and head in different directions at first to accomplish this but some spots can only use 1 of the above vs. all three).


You can either start on the 3rd of the A string or the 8th of the E string. They are both similar tone, however the one on the E string has a bit of a deeper resonance. Also, if you play a C arpeggio from the E string, you lose the ability to play the 5th below (G), unless you have a 5 string.
Some people find it more comfortable to play in that part of the fretboard. It’s up to you.


As @John_E said

Pick the one which you like the sound of and seems to fit the best to you.

And @John_E other statements about running out of notes if you want to play Major and Minor scales together is a major consideration with where to start but keep in mind that the main function of the Bass, along with the drummer, is to keep the rhythm driving forward and not to concentrate on solos and shredding. Leave that to the guitar players .

There is a lot of valuable information in the @John_E post.
Read and reread it.

Welcome to the forum and do not hesitate to ask questions.
There is NO such thing as a stupid question here.
Good luck with your musical journey.


Great thing I recently learned about scales is not not look at them as finger patterns but as formula, which makes you able to play them vertically, horizontally and diagonally (Diagon Alley) over fingerboard.

So the formula would be R-T-T-ST-T-T-T-ST for major scale. Where R = Root, T = Tone, ST = SemiTone.

So how to practically apply it, start on Root, Tone is 2nd fret from it and SemiTone is first fret, if your are for example trying to play on one string.
So Root, then move to 2nd fret from it two times, then 1st fret and etc.

Just something to think about.

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These are called intervals.
Each fret movement represents a semi-tone whether sharp moving up the fingerboard or flat moving down.

For the minor scales the intervals are: R T ST T T ST W W

Not sure I agree with you here because if you chart out a scale on a fingerboard diagram it is hard not to see a pattern and if you decide to move up an octave that same pattern just repeats itself starting at the next occurrence of the same Root note of the scale.

Gotta love theory.


Yes, I see your point but what if you start scale on D or G string? Finger pattern desnt help much there, does it?

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well, it’s a NEW pattern for sure, but still a pattern. there are many proponents for learning patterns, Josh is one of them. many that say you need to learn the notes and the intervals and forget the patterns. i think at the end of the day you should probably know both.


this is the way



As @itsratso and @howard said it is best to know both the formulas and patterns.

I find formulas more useful when constructing chords and chord inversions.