How to Play Bass Guitar Keys

bass guitar keys

A bass guitar plays the same notes as a guitar, but on a lower pitch. Using these keys and some basic scales, you can create bass lines that fit a variety of songs and genres.

In order to learn how to play the bass, you need to know where each note is on the fretboard. You can find this out by looking at the dot pattern below the frets on a bass guitar neck.


Scales are the basis of bass guitar playing and can be played anywhere on the fretboard. There are a number of different scale types, including major and minor pentatonic scales.

In order to play a scale, you must know the intervals between the notes of the scale. These intervals can be whole steps or half steps. Once you learn the intervals, you can practice playing bass guitar scales.

Most scales are comprised of a root note and a number of other notes. For example, the C major scale has the tonic note ‘C’ on the fourth string and its root notes on the first and third strings.

A major scale is the most common type of bass scale and can be played in a variety of ways. One of the most popular ways is to place your finger on the third string’s second fret. This is a common technique because it lets you access the middle and high frets of the bass’ neck.

You can also play a major scale in a descending fashion. Start by playing the third string’s first fret then move your finger down a fret to play the second string’s fourth fret. Then move your finger down a fret to the third string’s fifth fret and repeat.

Whether you’re playing in a rock, blues, or pop style, a basic knowledge of bass scales is important to your music. This is because a basic understanding of the notes in a key will help you create chords and melodies that work well with a specific song’s structure.

Another reason to learn a basic knowledge of bass scales is that it will make your guitar playing more effective. Learning scales will allow you to play in a variety of different finger positions and will also help you develop your finger independence.

In addition, bass guitar scales are great for fills, which is when you play a short sequence of notes that is not part of the main idea of your music. These fills are often used to set up transitions and to add interest when there is a break in your music. However, be careful not to overdo it – you don’t want your bass line to compete with the rest of the band!


There are many different bass guitar chords that can be played. They are based on the same principles as a regular guitar chord, but with a lower pitch. The most common chords include the D major triad, C major triad, and G major triad.

Bass guitar chords are also similar to guitar chords in that they can be moved up and down the neck of the instrument to play chords with different root notes. This is a great way to add variety to your playing and can help you create a more unified sound.

Another good thing about bass guitar chords is that they can be played with any string on the instrument. This is important for solo playing and will help you find your own musical voice when composing songs.

You can also play bass guitar chords in arpeggio form, which is just a fancy term for playing the tones of the chord up and down through multiple octaves. This technique will help you to develop your dexterity and increase your speed.

When playing arpeggios, it is a good idea to mute the strings after each note is plucked so that the low bass tones don’t clash with each other. This will prevent the chord from sounding too muddy and will help it to stand out more clearly.

The key to developing a strong bass line is to choose the right chords for your music. You want to pick a few major and minor chords that will work well together. This will ensure that the overall feel of your bass line is cohesive and will be easy for other musicians to hear.

A common bass guitar voicing is the sus4. This is an unresolved four-note chord that tends to feature a lot in punk and rock music. This is usually followed by a major third to resolve the tension of the chord and give it a more resolved sound.

This is a great chord shape to use when writing songs quickly because it can be used on any number of different notes in the scale. It is also a good idea to move it up and down the neck of the bass so that you can use it in different positions.


Intervals are one of the most important aspects of bass playing. Understanding intervals will make your music sound much more natural and help you communicate your playing to your audience.

Intervals in a major scale can be used to form all sorts of chords and shapes on the fretboard. Having a good understanding of intervals will make learning scales and chords much more intuitive and logical.

For instance, if you play a C major scale on your bass guitar, the second note (the 6th fret) is an interval called a minor 3rd. This is an ascending interval, whereas the root note (the A) is a descending interval.

This is the same for any other intervals you come across, so memorize the names and they will always make sense! You can also use these intervals as names when you transpose or switch keys, so they will come in handy later on.

There are two main types of intervals on the bass: melodic and harmonic. Melodic intervals are those that have a particular sound and are used in scales, solos and lead lines.

These intervals are played one-at-a-time and usually sound better than intervals that are more complicated, like augmented and diminished intervals. To get a feel for how melodic intervals work, think about the melody in your favorite songs – it’s all melodic!

Then, take those same notes and see how they change when you play them in a different order. The m2 and M2 intervals are 2nds, while the m6 is a consonant interval with a dark/bright sound. Practice comparing these intervals to see which one sounds best!

In a bass line, the m6 interval is used a lot. You’ll often hear it in old school RnB, soul and funk songs. It’s also used in some blues styles.

The m7 interval is another consonant interval that has a brighter sound than the m6 interval. You’ll hear this in many keyless songs and even in some minor and dominant seventh chords. This is because m7’s have a’soft’ dissonance, so they sound less unstable than the m6.


The bass guitar fretboard is full of octaves, and learning them will help you play loads of bass lines. They’re also important because they allow you to find notes on the fretboard very quickly and easily.

The easiest way to learn octaves is to pick up a guitar and look at the fretboard. You’ll notice that every note has a single tone encircled within it (the blue and red arrows in the diagram below), which means that the notes are all one octave higher than the note they’re connected to.

This is a really helpful visualisation for beginners as it shows you what you’re playing on your guitar fretboard. Once you’ve mastered these you can move onto learning the whole bass pattern of unisons and octaves as well as the other shapes that are used on your fretboard to create a wide variety of different patterns.

If you’re looking for a pedal that can help you create some cool octave sounds then the JOYO JF-12 Vodoo Octave Fuzz is the way to go. It’s a versatile pedal that can be used in a range of settings and it comes with some great features to boot!

It’s a great pedal to add some extra octave to your sound and it can really beef up the snarl of your bass line. The pedal is very compact and has a number of different options to dial in your desired sound.

Octaves are a great addition to your arsenal of effects as they can really change the feel and vibe of your music. They can also help you to emphasize certain melodies in your song or solo and give them a little bit of added contrast.

Octave pedals are traditionally positioned at the beginning of your effects chain, after the tuner and volume pedal, but before any distortion, overdrive or fuzz. This position ensures that the octave pedal is receiving a clean signal and can track and reproduce notes effectively.

Octave pedals are an essential part of any serious guitarist’s pedalboard and you can’t afford to be without them! However, it’s important to understand how to position them in your signal chain so that you can get the most out of them.