Introduction to and Exploration of the G Major Scale.

Posted on September 13, 2010


Time for the next installment on major scales!. Last week I talked about the major scale pattern and covered a few different C Major scale positions on the neck. This week I am going to move on to the G major scale. It will follow the same major scale pattern but will start on G.
 The major scale pattern again is W W H W W W H. The W stands for whole step which is 2 half steps or 2 frets. The H stands for half step which is 1 fret.Now, starting on the note G, let us find the notes of the G major scale.

G (whole step) A (whole step) B (half step) C (whole step) D (whole step) E (whole step) F# (f sharp)

(half step) G

G A B C D E F# G

The next step is to find and play these notes on your bass. Start with the G on the 3rd fret of your E string. If you are comfortable with the fret names then use that knowledge to find the notes. I am going to go over the notes and their location for anyone who is not yet familiar with them.

G is on the 3rd fret of E and A is on the 5th fret.

Play B on the 2nd fret of the A string and C on the 3rd.

D is located on the 5th fret of the A string.

E is found on the 2nd fret of the D string and F# on the 4th.

We will end with the octave G on the 5th fret of D.


Feel free to use the patterns from last weeks C major scale exercises. All of the patterns except for number 3 can be used with this G major scale along with the fingerings as well. Playing this scale, you should hear that it has the same quality/sound as last weeks C major scale.


One thing I have found to be easier with the G major scale is to play 2 octaves. Below is a tablature of the G major scale in 2 octaves. The numbers underneath represent the fingering.






      2    4   1    2    4   1    1    2    4    1    2    4    1    3    4




I am going to use the scale now to aid in introducing you to intervals. Intervals are simply just the number names assigned to each degree of the scale.For example “A’, the second note of the scale would be 2. The root will be called the root and the 8th note I will refer to as the octave (8ve).

The reason I find this to be so valuable is because I hear so many notes in music being referred to by their interval name. I have been in playing situations where I hear the notes and chords completely being called as the interval. Someone may say, “Hey, that chord has a b7” or “Where’s that #9?” “Why aren’t you on the 4 chord?” For we Bassists it is especially helpful to know these, this is what we play all the time. R 5 8ve, R 3 5 etc…… 

Here is the scale again, this time I will put the intervals underneath.

G  A  B  C  D  E  F#  G 

R  2  3  4  5  6  7   8ve

(8ve is the shortened version of the word octave)

Practice these few examples to get yourself comfortable.

1) R 5 8ve

2) R 3 5 8ve

3) R 3 5 6 8ve

4) R 3 5 6 8ve 6 5 3

5) R 2 3 5 6 8ve

Play this to the rhythm of “My Girl” by the Temptations and see what happens.

This by the way is also known as the Pentatonic Major scale. Remember it if you can. If you can not, do not fret (sorry-bad joke) I will be talking about these kinds of scales in a future article.

By now you are probably comfortable with this idea. I am going to write out an entire song using only intervals.

R R 5 5 6 6 5 4 4 3 3 2 2 R

Ha ha just kidding

Here is the real song:

5 R 2 3 4 5 R R

6 4 5 6 7 8ve R R

4 5 4 3 2 3

4 3 2 R (low) 7 (2nd fret E string)

R 2 3 R 3 2

I am not going to tell you the name, I want to see if you recognize it. 🙂

In Bass line construction we get to use chord tones, scale tones, approach notes, A lot of notes! Learning the major scales will aid you in choosing these notes along with the wonderful guidance of your ears and intuition of course.

Learning the intervals will be so helpful as well. Someday you will hear or may have heard already about b13’s and double b7’s, #4’s and b2’s. Once you have the major intervals down it will be so much easier to adjust your notes to being something outside of the straight interval.

Another bonus to intervals I have found , it is much easier transposing (moving to a different scale/key) when I think in terms of intervals. Next week I will elaborate more on intervals and introduce you to the D major scale.

Have a great week and enjoy your BASS!


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