Major scale on open strings.

Hi everyone, and welcome back to our second technique lesson on the major scale. In the previous lesson we learned how to play the C major scale using different fingerings. This time we will focus on open string key signatures. But first, what is and open string? Simply said, the four notes that ring freely, without touching any note on the fretboard. On the electric bass, these four notes are E, A, D and G. 


In this lesson we will focus on the major scales involving open strings, for a total number of seven. But, why seven and not four scales? We know that there are four major scales starting from one of the open strings, therefore E major, A major, D major, G major. The other three key signatures, even if not starting from one of the previous four notes, still require the use of open strings, so I included them as well in this lesson. 


These are the major scales starting from one of the first frets on the E, A and D string, therefore F major, Bb major and Eb major. As for the Ab on the G string, we can use the same fingering already seen in the previous lesson, major scale on one string.


Without further ado, let’s get started, using our fretboard table. Remember that, besides the highlighted notes, you will find a number from 1 to 4, representing the finger you want to use to play that note, number 1 being the index, 2 the middle, 3 the ring and 4 the pinky. 


This first table will show you how to play the E major scale, starting from the open E.

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Next, we’ll play A major, starting from the open A.

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Following here D major, starting from the open D.

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Next G major, starting from the open G.

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The next three major scales, even if not starting from one of the open strings, involve the use of open strings. In the next one, F major scale, we will use the open strings for the A and D notes. 

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Following here the Bb major scale: the notes D and G are played on open string. 

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And lastly, Eb major scale, where we will play G open.

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A piece of advice: be patient when practicing, and keep in mind that no one can internalize the previous fingerings overnight. Give yourself time! Here are three simple points to consider: 

  • study one scale per day, practicing until you feel confident with that fingering; 

  • play the descending scales just by reversing the ascending major that you just played; 

  • start at a slow tempo (60 bpm) and progressively increase.


Thank you for reading and happy practice! 

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