Bass Guitar for Beginners.pdf
Download Bass Guitar for Beginners.pdf...
Electric Bass Guitar for beginners Learn your instrument, and learn how to play it Sasha Radosavljevic
Copyright 2015 Sasha Radosavljevic
Table of Contents Introduction Reasons why this book is great More about this book
Chapter 1 - General terms Chapter 2 – C –major scale Chapter 3 - POSITIONS Chapter 4 – Before you start Guitar fingerboard (also: fretboard) Chapter 5 – Before you start- exercises for warming up and stretching fingers Chapter 6 – Position one – first position (Phrygian) E Chapter 7 - Position two – second position (Lydian) F Chapter 8 - Position three – third position (Mixolydian) G Chapter 9 - Position four – fourth position (Aeolian) A Chapter 10 - Position five – fifth position (Locrian) B Chapter 11 - Position six – sixth position (Ionian) C Chapter 12 - Position seven – seventh position (Dorian) D Chapter 13 - Position eight – eighth position (Phrygian) E Conclusion
Introduction Hi everyone. Welcome to the first paragraph of my first book. I have spent a lot of time writing it, drawing illustrations, preparing and formatting, and I am proud to announce all that work is finally done. The book is finished, and I hope you will enjoy it. Let me explain to you how I have decided to write this short book. Actually, I call it “short user manual for bass”. I was professional self-taught nighttime musician for over 20 years. I started as member in nightclub band back in year 1989. I still remember how good time we had, and – I remember that we even earned pretty cool amount of money. At that time, we received our payments in cash - and there was a plenty of it . Back in 1995, we had a gig in some high-expensive seaside hotel resort on Adriatic Sea. Hotel had two stages – one – at which my band had engagement, in open garden next to seaside, and another –small one – in hotel’s casino. Two guys with acoustic guitars played there. Actually, one of guys is so far the best guitar player I had the honor to play with, or to listen him playing, big international star-guitarists whom concerts I attended – INCLUDED. Guy played guitar in a way that when he starts – you do not want it to stop ever. Musicians from all over the world are pretty similar – nice people gathered with one common love, hobby, occupation, and / or… whatever… which is called music… you guess, I consider myself a nice person, too. Just have in mind that all musicians “talk” at least two languages – one – mother tongue, and another – international – which is called music – or playing music. Music does not recognize nations, or borders, or politics, or religion. When you are musician – you can easily talk with people all over the world, without using a single word. How wonderful is it? So, my band and these two guys became friends. And this guy –I’ll call him Mr. G. (mister –guitar), who had also huge background in his formal musical education, asked me: “Can you show me how do you actually play your instrument?” – And I showed him. And, he asked me if I would like him to show me some other way of understanding instrument’s fretboard / fingerboard, tonal displacement, fingering and positions, and so on… And I responded: “Why not.” What he basically did is that he changed my selftaught, and wrong way of playing. My fingering and positions I used were not really the best. I was able to read chords and phrases, but this saved me a lot of work later. When I think about that today, I cannot precisely recall how I played instrument before this fine tiny tabular “user manual”. So, if you are on wrong way, as I used to be, or you are beginner, with help of this book you will not lose lot of time on inappropriate learning, and practicing, and my mission with this book will be completely accomplished.
Reasons why this book is great 1-When you read all of this, and go through these exercises, you will be able to go to the next levels of learning your instrument. 2 – If you are self-taught musician, like I was (back in these days we did not have internet, YouTube, Facebook, Google, and so on…), with wrong fingering for example, you will completely change the way of understanding your instrument, notes, fretboard and positions. 3 – If you are just starting to learn how to play your bass guitar, you will have correct fingering, and you will learn correct positions of hand on your instrument; 4 – You will have idea which note you play at any moment at any given position of your hand. So after understanding this short book and practicing, you will be able not to think about “which note should I play now”, “where (and/or) which next note is”, and so on and so on, but rather, you will automatically “know” at any moment where you are. It is similar like driving – you actually do not think all the time where is throttle or brake pedal, or how to switch gears, or what steering wheel does. These activities become hightrained automated operations. You do not think about these – you simply KNOW them.
More about this book Intention of this book is to show you correct fingering and positions on your instrument, and to get you practice. You will learn your instrument fingerboard very well, and, at any time, you will know exactly where your hand is, and where are notes that you want to play. In other words, at any time, you will understand your instrument. Understanding your instrument is main goal of this book, and main goal for me. Also, I hope, if playing your instrument was just hobby for you, and you were close to give it up, you will not quit, but keep on going. And maybe, being a musician will become your next occupation – just like it was my, for 21 years. If I would know that in five years from now, this book of mine, will somehow “produce” new colleague – professional musician, I would already be happy right now, in advance. So – good luck, and don’t give up. I guess, I will repeat this few more times in this book until the end – be patient, do not give up easily. When you get over all of it, actually you will see, it is not that hard at all. In fact, it was quite easy.
Chapter 1 - General terms O.K. – let’s talk about some basic general terms that I will use in this manual: Bass guitar: well, that is your instrument. In this book I will talk about two, let’s say, “types” of bass guitars: four-string guitar (with strings G, D, A, and E), and five-string bass guitar (everything is the same, but it has one more thick string which is low B string). I played five string electric bass guitar most of my professional career as a musician. If you think about purchasing your very first guitar, even if you are on budget, I would suggest you to take five-string guitar into your consideration. If the money is not issue, I recommend you to take look onto Music Man bass guitars, my favorite instruments. From my professional perspective, these are one of the best serial produced guitars on the market. These are excellent for live gigs, and in studio recording as well. Hands are, well, hands. Left one and right one. Right-handed people, use left hand for pressing strings all over the guitar neck, and right hand for plucking/picking the strings, or, what I almost never do, to hold guitar pick for plucking strings. Guitar pick, if you decide to use it – I recommend some really big and hard ones. In rare situations, I use Dunlop 2mm nylon, but as I already said – I rarely use guitar picks. I prefer fingers of my right hand. If you decide to use guitar pick anyway, my advice would be to try different types and sizes, and choose the one you like most. Fingers – in fingering, I’ll mark it with numbers respectively – index finger on your left hand will be marked as number one (1), middle finger is number two (2), ring finger is number three (3), and pinky / little finger is number four (4). The same is for right hand. Most of time, I use index finger, middle finger and third finger (ring finger) for picking strings with. In some rare situations, I use right thumb, for slapping technique for example. But that is not my favorite technique; so honestly, I do not use it much. Strings are steel, or other metal strings on your guitar that produce sound while vibrating. Strings are stretched in between bridge – at the bottom of guitar, and nut at the top of guitar neck. Below strings are pickups which collect the sound and send signal into amplifiers, and guitar neck – with its fingerboard and / or fretboard. We press strings all over the neck (fingerboard) to produce sound. Strings will be marked with their standard respective notes – G (thin), D, A, and E (thick one on four-string electric bass), and low B (on five-string electric bass guitar). *If you did not try five string bass – my advice for you is to give it a try. Actually, it is much easier for playing - you have two octaves at any given position, plus, you have low D note, and all up to low B. From the other hand, sixstring bass– from my point of view, which is being bass player in nightclub band – is not way to go. Six-string bass in my opinion is handy for, I call it, -guitar players that somehow always wanted to play bass – but never got it in good way. I’m kidding, of course, - anyhow, - I am pretty sure that your first instrument will not be 6-string bass, so, if at some point you decide to switch onto 6 string guitar – you will be able to extend positions and fingering in that direction. –You will see, everything is actually easy, logical, and repetitive. Remember these three words easy, logical, and repetitive. I use #.45 and #.40 guitar strings, but most of the time it’s #.45.
Fingerboard or fretboard is plate with brass frets on the front part of your instrument, practically it is guitar’s neck. Illustrations included in this book are parts of fingerboard. Frets are marked with numbers. Open strings are marked with zero (0) fret. It is also called nut. So nut is marked with number zero (0), first fret with number one (1), and so on. Number marks are on the right side of drawing. On the left are notes marked with capital letters in boxes. These markings match notes for the five-string bass guitar. So, it is corresponding note on given fret on fingerboard on low-B string. Positions are referred to positions of left hand on guitar neck. I will explain them in general, and I will explain every position separately. Positions are the main part of this short book. Fingering is referred to the way you use your left hand fingers while playing. Essence is that every finger in every position play / have its own note. Specific note within specific position is played exclusively with certain finger. Not the other one. Please, pay your full attention to this. Do not try using different fingering because at start it looks easier. It is not. You will make a huge mistake. If you are self-taught musician, as I am, there is possibility that you use wrong fingering. If it is the case you will have to invest some extra time to repair this wrong way of playing, just like I did it, but benefits are justifying this investment of your time. You will set your hand and fingering correctly, and at the end, you will be able to play whatever you play in easy (and correct) way. Tempo should be considered as “speed” you play music. I suggest you to use metronome for setting up tempo while practicing. You can use mechanical metronome or electric device, or you can even find one online. When it is set to 120 tempo, it will click 120 times in one minute, which means – one click every half of second. My first hit on Google search for “metronome online” was free website with nice and usable metronome, easy to set, and easy for use. I would suggest you to try that as well, if you do not have some kind of external device. Note could be defined as sound itself. When we play some articulated sound on our instrument, we say that we played (some) note. Also, term note is used for sign in musical notation. On our instrument, we actually play 12 chromatic notes. After all twelve notes, thirteenth note has the same name as the first one. For example, on four string bass guitar, on our E-string, first note (open string), is note E. Also, on 12th fret on E string, we have note E. Difference in between two of these is that note E on 12th fret has exactly double frequency from the first one. We say it is one octave higher. So, if we start from C note, chromatic scale of notes would be: C, C#, D, Eb, E, F, F#, G, Ab, A, Bb, B, and again C. In some countries, there are slight differences in marking – for example, in Germany, note B is marked with H. So, if you have some exercise, or musical writing with “H” marking, it is B note (or chord). And if you have B note in same exercise or song – it is lower B - Bb (B flat). So, just don’t be confused. Bass guitar tuning. Nowadays, almost all musicians have guitar tuner. It is small electric device with analog or digital display. Almost all the models can tune guitars and bass guitars. These are affordable and handy. Especially, modern amplifiers do have
guitar-tuner out – so even when you mute amplifier, for example in pause in between songs on live gig, you still can use tuner, if you notice that your instrument went out from tune. Back in days when I started learning, we had musical tuning fork – metal fork which produces note A (440Hz frequency) when hit, and leaned on instrument resonator box. When first electronic tuners became available on market, these were pretty expensive at that time. Anyhow, standard tuning for four stringed bass is – first string is tuned at note G (G2). Second string is tuned at note D (D2), third note is tuned at note A (A1). Its frequency is 55Hz. Remember the 440Hz frequency? – it is three octave lower – 440/2=220; 220/2=110, and 110/2= 55Hz. And finally, fourth string is tuned at note E (E1). For five string bass guitar, standard tuning is the same, and fifth string is tuned at note B (B0). For so called tenor tuning on five string bass, we have one thin string below G string – C string (C3). For six string bass guitar, we have all six strings starting on C, up to low B. I personally use standard five string bass guitars. (G, D, A, E, B). Physically, we tune bass in following way: tune thin string at tone G. When we press D string at fifth fret, we tune it to sound exactly the same as string G played in open position. Then, we press A string at fifth fret, and tune it until it sounds exactly as open D string. After that, we press E string on fifth fret, and tune it to sound exactly as open A string, and finally, we press B string on fifth fret, until it sounds exactly the same as open string E. So for example, if we still have these old music forks, we tune corresponding string onto these sound, and after that, we use method mentioned above. Also, first hit on “bass guitar tuner online” in Google, takes me on correct directions. So, you should buy yourself tuner, but, also remember this basics on “how to tune bass”. For example, when you have live gig, you can be faced with real problems. You forgot your guitar tuner in studio that you use for practicing. Or tuner run out of battery. Or whatever reason – you will be faced with “no tuner” situation. So – it’s good to know how things work. At that situation, most probably, you will have to tune “manually” (and by your ears) – asking colleague – keyboard player for some assistance. ( you know – “hey Mike – give me A, I have to tune my bass…”). The staff: sometimes you will see some notes on some lines with some bars and so on – net consisting of five lines, and four spaces in between is called the stuff. It is also divided with bar lines, into measures. So, measure is the space in between two vertical bar lines on the staff. We can also use bar lines if we use chord root writing (for example, U2’s big hit from late eighties chord writing is: | D | A | Bm | G | and it is repeating for almost all the song. Remember this chord combination as well - most of modern pop music basically uses this combination – or combination of this combination. Notes might be different, but it is the same ratio in between chords and notes. If it sounds a bit strange now, don’t worry - You will understand it much better later. Clef sign together with sharps (#) and flats (b) indicates key signature. G clef for example is used to show position of note G on the staff, and have one sharp sign on the first top line of the staff.Also in notation we have natural sign ( ♮), but in this book we will not use it. Actually, we won’t use any sharps or flats as well. Just plain c-major scale notes. Time values of notes: are related with time signatures. Numbers next to clef sign, like
fraction are time signature. For example waltz time signature is three quarters ¾. Most of rock and blues songs are in four quarters (4/4) signature. This means that in waltz, we have three beats or three counts for one measure, with quarter note receiving one beat, or count. And for rock or blues we have four beats or counts per measure with quarter note receiving one beat or. I won’t use staff, clef sign, or time signatures and classical notation in this book, but I found it useful to mention. When you master this manual, you’ll have batter clue why. Also when you go to next level of learning – I think this will be useful as well.
Chapter 2 – C –major scale C-major scale is composed from 7 basic notes – C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C, Played in that order, these notes form C-major (Cmaj7) scale. If we play same scale, but starting from some other note, in music theory, these scales are called C-major scale modes. Logically, if we have seven basic tones, also we have seven modes: Ionian – corresponding to Cmaj7 – “major” scale. Notes are: C, D, E, F, G, A, B; Dorian – notes are: D, E, F, G, A, B, C; Phrygian – notes are: E, F, G, A, B, C, D; Lydian – notes are: F, G, A, B, C, D, E; Mixolydian – notes are: G, A, B, C, D, E, F; Aeolian – notes are: A, B, C, D, E, F, G; Locrian – notes are: B, C, D, E, F, G, A.
Chapter 3 - POSITIONS Positions are actually positions of left hand on guitar neck while practicing and playing. Main idea of playing through positions is not to make big moves with whole hand on guitar neck, or trying to find notes randomly, but rather to learn notes and get use to them, and just move fingers. I will explain seven, or I can say eight positions. The last position will be actually reflected first one, but with slightly changed fingering, having in mind that we play “empty” or “open” strings in first position. Every position refers to specified C major mode, or let’s say refers to appropriate note from C-major (Cmaj7) scale. In this book, I will name them by numbers, and notes. Numbers are here instead of other names, so first position will be named “first” because it is the first note within Cmaj7 scale on our guitar – it is note E on four string bass, and note B on five string bass guitar. So first position starts with open strings played (with “zero” fret), second position starts on first fret – from note F with four string, and note C with five string bass, and so on… When I learned positions, I preferred note naming (at that time, I still used four string bass guitars - so first position was E-position, second one F-position and so on…). Having in mind that this book covers both four string, and five string bass guitars, that is the reason that I’ll stick for number-naming rather that note. (For example: I rather call the first position – first position, than E, or B –position, because on five string guitar, when we play the notes on B-string, everything else is completely the same. We can say that B-string basically was addition to four string bass).
Chapter 4 – Before you start Before you start practicing, there are few extremely important things that you should have in your mind – all of the time. Start practicing in slow tempo. Actually, always use tempo that you are able to play exercise smooth, easy, and crisp. If you are not able to, let’s say, repeat some exercise eight times with no single mistake – you should not rise up tempo. Much wiser is rather to slow it down until you can play the exercise easily and smooth, with no mistakes. So keywords are: smooth, easy, crisp. Of course, at the very beginning, you will not be able to play exercise in a way that for example I do it – but do not worry about this at all. Practicing is accumulative process. So even if you do not notice small improvements after any exercise, believe me – there are some. After every single practicing session. In very short time, you will start to notice that your technique is improving. If you have some kind of recording device, such as an iPhone, or android phone, or camera with movie recording option, or whatever, record short clip of yourself when you start practicing, at the very beginning. And make the same clip of the same exercises after two weeks, and after one month, and then compare these clips. You will see improvement instantly. Cool, right? If you are real beginner, and you have just started, this can sound discouraging, but I have good news, it is not. Remember, every big star had hard time at his beginnings. Your idol, if you have one - too. Lot of work and passion is behind every successful musician. Actually, lot of hard work is behind any successful person at any given skill, or occupation, or whatsoever. As a matter of fact, when you drill yourself in direction that you play any given exercise easy, smooth and clean – you will be able to raise tempo quite easily. So important thing at beginning, is just to be patient, and not to give up. And in very short time you will be amazed with results. You will notice that your progress is exponential. At the very beginning, at the very start, it really is a bit hard, but after just short amount of time and effort – progress will be noticeable on daily basis. Just be patient, and don’t rush. Also, when you start practicing, try to pronounce aloud, or if it is a bit easier for you, actually sing the names of notes that you play. Yes, I know that some of you may ask what the difference is. But believe me, pronouncing aloud (or singing), makes a BIG difference. I do not know how to explain it in words. That is beyond my knowledge, but in real life, I noticed that when you pronounce notes aloud, brain just memorize things much better. I guess it is because of repeating: if you “say” notes only by heart, from your memory, without sound, you “repeat” that note only once. And when you pronounce or sing, you repeat it few times – while you actually read it / recall it from your memory, than, think about what will you say or sing, and again you hear it as well when you actually sing it or say it aloud. I noticed one of the reasons why people do not pronounce notes aloud is that they are a bit shy, especially kids. Somehow, they do not feel comfortable with it. Especially for introvert kind of persons. So, if you actually bought this book for your youngsters, please do not laugh on them, but rather offer them your full support with your smile. Smile is good – laughing is not . Again, especially for introverts. Science says
that introvert people actually are more creative than extroverts. So, in short terms, start practice in slow tempo, and pronounce notes aloud, or sing them. Play exercises all the way to the end and back. *For example – for first position, notes we play on four string guitar are: E, F, G, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A, B. When we reach note B on G-string we play backwards – B, A, G, F, E, D, C, B, A, G, F, and E. Of course, this applies on all modes and exercises. Be patient and persistent. Do not give up easily. This is also good practice for your entire life, get yourself tempo that you can sustain, and never give up, and if the sky is your aim, you will reach the sky. Here where I live, we have saying, something like “slow/quiet water moves mountains”. I am not sure if I got the point in translation, but anyhow I decided to leave it here. Also, my recommendation for you is just to fly over this whole book first. You will need just a minutes, not hours, promise. This will help you to remember where to start with your practice for next time. And also, it will help you to get general impression what this book is all about. If images are too small for you, I recommend you to save them onto your computer and print them, or to make sketches with free hand. So, I guess that would be all I wanted to say before you take your guitar, and do some serious business. So, grab your guitar, and get to work! Good luck!
Guitar fingerboard (also: fretboard) Following image show fingerboard of five string bass guitar. Fifth string is low B. If you are using four string bass guitar – simply disregard the left column. Numbers show frets. Zero fret matches “empty” or “open” strings. We also call it “nut” (opposite side from bridge). We do not press anything – just pick the string. Notes with different sign, but the same sound are called enharmonic notes. For example G-sharp is the same note as A-flat (G#=Ab)
Chapter 5 – Before you start- exercises for warming up and stretching fingers I suggest you to warm up fingers and hands before you start practicing scales and positions. These few exercises are also excellent for stretching hands, fingers, tendons and ligaments. You have probably already heard when some famous musicians, and excellent players say they practice for several hours every day. One of things that they actually do is the same as sportiest – they train to achieve and keep good form. When you reach top form, just a week without practicing results with ligaments and tendons shrinking, and decreasing of your playing form. One famous musician said – if I do not practice for one day – I can notice that. If I do not practice for two days – critics will notice that. And if I do not practice for three days – audience starts to notice. Let’s hope this book will be the starter, that one day with all your effort, will bring you into these kind of musicians. I am right-handed person, so, my left hand is on guitar neck, and I use right hand for plucking strings. If you do not feel comfortable with plucking strings with fingers, you can start using guitar prick, but my recommendation is to use fingers, and to use them one after another. So, not 1 1 1 1, 2 2 2 2, but rather 1 2 1 2 1 2 … and so. For example when one note is played on one string (let’s say D-string) and next one is on the string that is located above (A string), right hand will “set itself” in short time – if your tone on D string was played with middle finger, it is logical that note on A string will be played with that finger too, because that finger arrives to string A first. Do not worry about this, as I said, hand will simply “set itself”, and find right positions! At very beginning it is ok just to play one single note, you can press note G on fifth fret on D string – and just try to play in steady tempo. One finger, after another – schematically: G (1), G (2), G (1), G (2)… and so… Remember at very beginning it is hard, but please do not give up just because it is hard. After less than a week you will start to realize it is not so hard – it is easy. Just put the fingers onto fingerboard, and play in tempo that you can hold and play. Do not worry if it seems it is too slow. I will repeat one more time, the most important thing is not to speed things up when it is not time for speeding up. It is allowed to raise tempo when you are able to play exercise nice, smooth and crisp and clean and easy with as less effort as possible. If you rush while you are still not able to speed things up – you are on good track to screw things completely. There is big chance that you will not set your fingering correctly, and later, you will have lot of troubles with it. So, again – please do not rush. Be patient. For all these exercises set metronome on tempo 100, and start. If it is too quick for you, please, slow it down. If it is still too quick – do not be afraid to slow down even more. Remember the good news, when you set thing correctly in slow tempo, you will be able to raise tempo quite easily. Put fingers on whatever position on your guitar, according to the image. I would recommend somewhere on the middle of your fingerboard. If frets are too far for your hand, just put it closer to the bridge where distance in between frets is smaller. Numbers match fingers. Vertical line (bar lines) (|) separates time signature - so play in
fourth – four notes matches one full signature. Repeat every exercise at least eight times. If you are just starting – I guess you will even feel a bit of pain in your hand, but you know how they say – “no pain – no gain”. After a while, when your hands and tendons become stretched and elastic, you can choose whether you want to use this exercises for warming up, or you’ll go to scale exercises straight away. You can move hand up, closer to tuning mechanism – where distance in between frets is a bit longer. Now, you will be able to play at that region of guitar neck. But for start, I do recommend these exercises. It looks simple, which it is, but is also excellent for stretching hands. Stretching exercise No 1. You play: 3 4 3 4 | 1 2 1 2 Stretching exercise No 2. You play: 1 4 1 4 | 2 3 2 3 Stretching exercise No 3. You play: 4 1 4 1 | 3 2 3 2 Stretching exercise No 4. You play: 4 3 4 3 | 2 1 2 1
Stretching exercise No 5. You play: 2 1 2 1 | 4 3 4 3 Stretching exercise No 6. You play: 2 3 2 3 | 1 4 1 4 Stretching exercise No 7. You play: 3 2 3 2 | 4 1 4 1 Stretching exercise No 8. You play: 1 2 1 2 | 3 4 3 4
Stretching exercise No 9. You play: 1 3 1 3 | 2 4 2 4 Stretching exercise No 10. You play: 4 2 4 2 | 3 1 3 1 Stretching exercise No 11. You play: 2 4 2 4 | 1 3 1 3 Stretching exercise No 12. You play: 3 1 3 1 | 4 2 4 2
Chapter 6 – Position one – first position (Phrygian) E I call it also E-position, according to the fact that note E is the first note physically located on four-string bass guitar when you hold it in playing position. It is “open” Estring. It is actually Phrygian mode of C-major scale. But having in mind that I will also use extended scheme for five-string guitar, so the first note is B (Locrian) – because of this intention to cover both, four and five string bass guitars, I will stick just for naming by numbers – so we will call it just “first position”. Notes that you play in this position are: For four string guitar: On E string – play, (open) E, F, and G notes, On A string – play (open) A, B and C notes, On D string – play (open) D, E and F notes, and On G string – play (open) G, A and B notes For five string guitar, you start from low B string, so you extend it in following way: On B string, we play note (open) B, note C using index finger (1), and D with ring finger (3). So, if you use five string bass guitar, this position matches Locrian (B) mode scale. From that point, position, tones, and fingering are the same on both four and five string guitar. Fingering is: on E string – E note plays open string, F – index finger (1), G – ring finger (3), on A string, note A plays open string, B is played with middle finger (2), C – ring finger (3), on D string, D note is played with open string, E – middle finger (2), F – ring finger (3), on G string note G is played with open string, A - index finger (1), B – middle finger (2).
Chapter 7 - Position two – second position (Lydian) F I call it also an F position – F note is the second note within C major scale, which is physically located on four string bass guitar, when you hold it in playing position. If you are on five-string guitar – you can call it C position – first tone on five string bass in this position is note C. But just to remind you, naming is just because we have to name it somehow. Basically, it is still C-major scale – Lydian mode on four-string guitar, and / or C major scale (Ionian) if you are on five string bass guitar. Notes to play in this position are: For four string guitar: On E string – we play notes: F, G, and A, On A string – we play B, C and D notes, On D string – we play E, F and G notes, and finally On G string – we play A, B and C notes. For five string guitar, start from note C, so extend it in following way: On B string, play notes C, D and E. From that point, position, notes, and fingering are the same on both four and five string guitars. Fingering for second position is: on E string – F note is played with index finger (1), G note is played with middle finger (2), and pinky (4) is for note A; On A string: note B is played with index finger (1), C is played with middle finger (2) and note D is played with pinkie (4) On D string: note E is played with index finger (1), and note F with middle finger (2), G note is played with pinky (4) and finally On G string: note A is played with index finger (1), note B is played with ring finger (3), and C note is played with little finger/pinkie (4). Just to check: have you played slowly, and have you sung or pronounced notes aloud?
Chapter 8 - Position three – third position (Mixolydian) G I call it also a G-position. Note G is third note within C-major scale, which is physically located on four string bass guitar. Location is on third fret on E string. If you are on five-string guitar – you can call it D position –first note on five string bass in this position is note D, also located on third fret on B string. Notes that you play in this position are: For four string guitar: On E string – play notes: G, A, and B, On A string – play C, D and E notes, On D string – play F and G notes, and A, and finally On G string – play B, C and D notes. For five string guitar, start from note D, and extend it in following way: On B string, we play notes D, E and F. Note D is played with index finger (1), note E with middle finger (2), and note F with ring finger (3) From that point, position, notes, and fingering are the same on both four and five string guitars. Fingering for third position is: on E string – G note is played with index finger (1), A note is played with middle finger (2), and pinky (4) is for note B; On A string: note C is played with index finger (1), D is played with middle finger (2) and note E is played with pinkie (4) On D string: note F is played with index finger (1), and note G with middle finger (2), and note A is played with pinky (4); On G string: note B is played with index finger (1), note C is played with middle finger (2), and D note is played with little finger/pinky (4). Just to check – have you played slowly, and have you sung all the notes aloud?
Chapter 9 - Position four – fourth position (Aeolian) A I call it also A-position – on four-string guitar, note A is the fourth note within C-major scale. It is located on fifth fret. If you are on five-string guitar – you can call it E-position –first note on five string bass in this position is note E. Also located on fifth fret. Notes that you play in this position are: For four string guitar: On E string – play notes A, B and C, On A string – play D, E and F, On D string – play G, A and B, On G string – play C, D, and E For five string guitar, start from note E, and extend it in following way: On B string, play notes E, F and G. From that point, position, notes, and fingering are the same on both four and five string guitars. Fingering for fourth position is: On E string – Note A – index finger (1), note B middle finger (2), and for C note - ring finger (3); On A string: note D – index finger (1), note E middle finger (2), and for F note ring finger (3); On D string: G – index finger (1), note A middle finger (2), B note – little finger (4); On G string: C note – index finger (1), D note middle finger (2), and E note – little finger (4); For five string guitar, fingering is: E note – index finger (1), F note middle finger (2), and G note pinky (4). This position can also be played with slightly different fingering. You can choose which one you like more, but my advice is to practice both of these, regardless which one is your personal favorite. Position four – fingering II B string: E (1), F (2), G (4); E string: A (1), B (3), C (4); A string: D (1), E (3), F (4);
D string: G (1), A (3); and G string; B (1), C (2), and D (4); And, just to remind you: have you played slowly, and have you sung all the notes aloud?
Chapter 10 - Position five – fifth position (Locrian) B I call it also B-position – on four string guitar, note B is the fifth note within C-major scale. It is located on seventh fret. If you are on five-string guitar – you can call it Fposition – first tone that appears on five string bass in this position is note F. It is located on sixth fret. Notes that you play in this position are: For four string guitar: On E string – play notes B, C and D; On A string – play E, F and G; On D string – play A, B, C; On G string – play D, E, and F; For five string guitar: start from note F, and extend it in following way: On B string, play notes F, G, and A; note F is played with index finger (1), note G with middle finger (2), and note A with little finger (4); From that point, position, notes, and fingering are the same on both four and five string guitars. Fingering for fifth position is: On E string – note B – index finger (1), note C middle finger (2), note D – little finger (4); On A string: note E - index finger (1), note F – middle finger (2), note G – little finger (4); On D string: note A – index finger (1), note B – ring finger (3), note C – little finger (4), and, On G string: note D – index finger (1), note E – ring finger (3), and note F – little finger (4). Just to bother you – have you played slowly, and have you sung all the notes aloud?
Chapter 11 - Position six – sixth position (Ionian) C I call it also C-position – note C is physically sixth note within C major scale which is located on eighth fret at fretboard. If you are on five-string guitar – you can call it G position –first tone on five string bass in this position is note G. It is also located on eighth fret on fingerboard. Notes that you play in this position are: For four string guitar: On E string – play notes C, D and E On A string – play F, G and A, On D string – play B, C and D, On G string – play E, F and G notes. For five string guitar: start from note G, and then extend it in following way: On B string, play notes G, A and B From that point, position, notes, and fingering are the same on both four and five string guitars. Fingering for sixth position is: on E string – note C is played with index finger (1), note D is played with middle finger (2), and note E is played with little finger (4); On A string: note F – index finger (1), note G – middle finger (2), and note A – little finger (4); On D string: note B – index finger (1), note C – middle finger (2), and note D – little finger (4); On G string: note E – index finger (1), note F – middle finger (2), and note G – little finger (4); For five-string guitar: play note G with index finger (1), note A with middle finger (2), and note B with little finger (4); Can you remember the second position? Do you have impression that some things are simply repeating? It’s actually simple and easy, just as I mentioned on the very start of this book. So, be patient, and think while you play. And for the end of chapter …you know… singing or pronouncing notes aloud helps a lot…
Chapter 12 - Position seven – seventh position (Dorian) D I call it also D-position – it starts from note D, which is physically located on tenth fret on four string bass guitar. If you are on five-string guitar – you can call it A-position –first tone on five string bass in this position is note A. It is also located on 10th fret. Notes that you play in this position are: For four string guitar: On E string – play notes D, E, and F; On A string – play G, A and B; On D string – play C, D and E; On G string – play notes F, G, and A. For five string guitar: start from note A, and extend it in following way: On B string, play notes A, B and C. From that point, position, notes, and fingering are the same on both four and five string guitars. Fingering for seventh position is: On E string: note D – index finger (1), note E middle finger (2), and note F ring finger (3); On A string: note G – index finger (1), note A ring finger (3), and note B pinky (4); On D string: note C – index finger (1), note D ring finger (3), and note E pinky (4); On G string: note F – first finger (1), note G ring finger (3), and note A pinky (4). For five string bass guitar, on B string, we play notes: A –index finger (1), B middle finger, and note C with ring finger (3). You guess – you should sing or pronounce notes aloud while you play the exercise.
Chapter 13 - Position eight – eighth position (Phrygian) E Do you remember first position? As you can see, eighth position is completely reflected first position. Only difference is that in first position, first tones on every string were “open” strings – and here you play these notes with index finger on 12th fret. That is why fingering is also slightly changed. From eighth position – all the other positions are completely reflected as previous ones. These are now just moved one octave higher register, but everything remains the same. From real life experience, playing bass on the middle and bottom part of neck is not so common – when you play as a base in band, what bass guitar really is (together with drums, it is band’s real music foundation), it is most likely that you will play your bass somewhere up to fifth position. When you play low notes sound is “fat” and “juicy”. In musical slang we say it is “beefy” sound. When I played solo on bass guitar that was good moment to use parts of neck that are in high registers. So, you are again on E position – that is now the eighth note within C-major scale on guitar when you hold it in playing position. And again, if you are on five-string guitar – you are on B position. Notes that you play in this position are: For four string guitar: On E string – play notes E, F, and G On A string – play notes A, B, and C; On D string – play notes D, E and F; On G string – play notes G, A, and B; For five-string guitar: start from note B, and extend it in following way: On B string, play notes B, C and D; From that point, position, notes, and fingering are the same on both four and five string guitars. Fingering for eighth position is: On E string – note E - index finger (1), note F – middle finger (2), note G – pinky (4); On A string: Note A - index finger (1), note B – ring finger (3), and note C – little finger (4); On D string: note D – index finger (1), note E – ring finger (3), and note F – little finger (4); On G string: note G – index finger (1), note A – middle finger (2), and note B – little finger (4).
For five-string guitar, use this fingering: note B – index finger (1), note C – middle finger, and note D – pinky (4). For eighth position you can also use slightly changed fingering starting on string A as following: note A – index finger (1), note B middle finger (2) and note C – ring finger (3), on D-string, we play note D with index finger (1), note E – middle finger (1), and note F – ring finger (3). Fingering for G-string stays the same. You can choose either one or another or both of these. I use both, because sometime in real playing for audience, one fingering is easier to play, and sometimes it is not. You just master both of these, and hand will always find right way of playing in given circumstances. And of course – just to remind you – it is extremely beneficiary for you to sing the notes aloud while you go through all these exercises.
Conclusion So, that would be all for now. I hope this manual was helpful and also that you did not, and will not give up. When you master all what I was writing about in this short book – you will actually master your instrument fingerboard. You can now consider learning intervals, arpeggios etc… and for sure you will be able to play songs using root notes. Also, you will be able to find my courses with this specific matter online on online teaching platforms. I hope this will help you a lot in your first steps as musician, and I wish you all the best and success in your personal and professional life. Sasha