Bass Guitar For Beginners – How to Play Intervals

Bass guitar can bring richness, harmony and melody into music while sharpening rhythmic and listening skills while stimulating creativity and expression.

Bass guitars should be placed so their curved body aligns with the contour of your right thigh, to help ensure a relaxed and comfortable playing posture.


As a bassist, your primary job is to maintain rhythm and enhance the overall sound of a song. This requires mastery over keeping time while being able to improvise when necessary – both skills that scale playing can help develop.

Scales are patterns of notes that repeat themselves, and when learned correctly can give you the power to play melodies or solos on any musical instrument. Learning scales also helps build finger strength and fretboard awareness; whether your dream is to jam with friends, join a band, or pursue bass playing professionally these foundational skills will unlock a professional-level sound.

Step one to creating powerful bass lines is mastering major and minor scales. Each scale consists of one of 12 notes in music, with its own interval pattern; starting from its root note it forms its identity (major, minor or diminished). By memorizing finger positions within any scale – for instance if you know C major you can play it anywhere on the fretboard since its pattern repeats itself!

As with playing any scale, when starting off a scale it is recommended that you start on the lowest string and work your way upwards until reaching your target note. To assist in this endeavor we suggest using a bass guitar tablature chart, a diagram that displays strings horizontally with frets vertically; with blobs that indicate where fingers should be put down for pressing down left-hand fingers (which will change with each fretboard ascend/decend). Blobs with numbers indicate which left-hand fingers you need to press down; as you work your way up the fretboard this order will change accordingly.

Minor pentatonic scale, consisting of five notes, is an easy scale for beginners to start learning as it features only familiar tones. Rock and blues bassists frequently turn to this option when improvising in minor keys – as it prevents clashing notes from cropping up unexpectedly!


Bassists typically employ single-note lines on the bass guitar; however, chords can add much-needed texture and flavor to a song’s structure. This is especially beneficial for bassists seeking to expand upon or add drama with their playing. To incorporate chords into your playing it could simply mean changing up its voicing or borrowing notes from above or below it; having an understanding of intervals (the distance between notes) will enable you to get the best sound possible from your instrument.

To play a chord, place your index finger across the frets on the first string and press down with your thumb and middle fingers to press against its frets. Your right hand should then pluck out any remaining strings – to check you are playing correctly, referring to this diagram will do. Notice how each open circle represents a note in a musical scale and each black dot represents a fret on a bass guitar; accordingly, frets on this diagram have been labeled 1, 2, and 3. Red blobs at the bottom left are representative of the chord’s root note; those at the top right represent its highest note. A basic three-note chord (triad), however, has three notes from any scale – root note, third note and fifth note of any scale being included as root and third notes respectively; 7th chords can become more complex but are commonly used in contemporary music.

Beginner bassists should work toward memorizing a sequence of intervals so they can be quickly and accurately recalled when necessary in your playing. Furthermore, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with their names so they can be referenced when reading chord charts or bass tabs.

Your bass should also come equipped with its nut and neck. A nut is the strip of plastic or metal at the very top that supports and holds in place the strings, while its neck connects it to a fingerboard while providing fret storage – frets being small metal strips divided into segments representing specific notes in a scale or chord scale.


Intervals are one of the key foundational elements in music, serving as tools to categorize sounds and ideas as well as convey them between musicians. They serve as the building blocks of scales, chords and melodies.

As part of your bass guitar education, having a solid understanding of intervals can make memorizing fretboard patterns and riffs faster and reading music much simpler.

Intervals can be defined by two elements – their distance from each other and their value. A half step (or minor second) with its value set to C is considered the smallest interval and forms the foundation of the circle of fifths on your fretboard.

Another vital interval to learn is the perfect fourth, commonly known as ‘Addams Family’ because it contains four notes from a major scale and can be remembered by singing or humming its theme tune. Intervals become embedded into your memory over time and you can apply them to any scale or chord pattern with ease.

Intervals offer another advantage; once recognized they will correspond with specific shapes on the fretboard. This makes them invaluable when trying to figure out how to play bass lines on different strings – for instance if you hear an interval that is a 5th interval it will always appear in its usual spot on the fretboard, regardless of which string you’re playing on.

When it comes to successful bass learning strategies, the key component is consistent practice. Committing time will pay off in no time at all and soon you’ll be on your journey towards becoming a bassist! Remember also to take care of yourself physically as hands and wrists may become sore while beginning; warming up sessions before practicing can make all the difference and help prevent sore muscles that arise when practicing regularly.


As a bassist, rhythm is one of the cornerstones of success. Achieve accurate playing while maintaining confidence with danceable grooves; rhythm also forms the basis of scales and chords to learn on bass; therefore make sure you spend enough time practicing this aspect of your music.

Practice your timing using a metronome or drum machine set at an appropriate tempo for you, whether that means starting slow and increasing difficulty gradually or listening to recordings of basslines that inspire you and trying to play along. Prominent bassists such as Jaco Pastorius of Weezer and Les Claypool of Primus have used this strategy with great success in their music.

Once you’ve learned the fundamentals of bass guitar improvising, it’s time to take your first steps toward improvising on it. While this will require courage and willpower, it will also prove extremely rewarding. Before beginning to improvise however, ensure your instrument is in tune. There are various tuning devices available which allow you to quickly and easily check each string by pressing on its fret then plucking its open counterpart string; an excellent tuner will show you its note displayed clearly on its face while tuning pegs allow fine adjustments as you adjust it as you play along!

Make sure to experiment with various styles of playing when practicing, such as fingerstyle (alternating index and middle fingers), one finger per fret, raking, and slapping. All these techniques will help improve coordination, fluency, accuracy, strength and stamina as well as create a sound that more closely reflects your playing style.

As your practice log evolves, use Yousician to monitor it. This way, you’ll be able to see just how far you have come and be motivated to continue learning bass guitar. With Yousician as your tutor, bass guitar learning becomes simple and enjoyable – listening closely to your progress and providing tailored lesson plans tailored specifically towards helping you reach your goals.