As with other music instruments, I have a strong belief that bass guitar players should start learning music theory with both the major and minor scales. Be sure to backtrack a bit if you missed our earlier article on bass guitar major scales.
In this lesson, we are going to take a look at minor scales on bass guitar and show you the basic concepts behind it.
Before we proceed further, we need to address the existence of 3 types of minor scales. They are namely: the natural minor, harmonic minor and melodic minor.
The harmonic and melodic minor are variations of the natural minor and are used in certain styles of music. However, we are going to focus only on the natural minor scale in this article.
When compared to the major scale which sounds happy, the minor scale is sad, frail and delicate sounding. You can usually identify this in popular songs on radio. When you hear a sad love song, chances are, it is written in the minor key.
Whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step
Using this formula, let’s create two basic minor scales; A, and B.
First, let’s start with A minor. Starting at the tonic, we need to move a whole step up which brings us to B (A#, B). Next, we need to move a further half step, which brings us to C (C). Now two whole steps bring us to D and E (C#, D and D#, E). Now a half step to bring us to F (F), a whole step to bring us to G (F#, G) and a whole step to bring us back to A (G#, A).
B minor: B, C#, D, E, F#, G, A
B, C# (C, C#), D (D), E (D#, E), F# (F, F#), G (G), A (G#,A)
Now that you know how to create the basic bass guitar scales, the next step is to learn them. When you feel comfortable, try transcribing the rest of minor scales.
Watch this video to recap the stuff that you learnt about major and minor scales so far.
With the knowledge of both major and minor scales, you have taken your first baby steps in understanding music theory. Of course, there are countless variations of different scales and modes on bass guitar. My advice is, until you have mastered the major and minor scales, stay away from them. You will find it much easier to tackle advanced bass scales once you build a strong foundation of the basics. Good luck!
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