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Bass Clef


All modes, all keys, every note on the neck. GO!


Don't underestimate the difference that playing through this will make to your bass playing and knowledge of the neck.


The goal of this document is to get you to visualise the bass neck in keys, and not in shapes. This will allow you to travel up and down the neck musically, without having to keep wondering which 'shape' you should be playing. If you know the name of the next note then you just need to look for it on the same string or on the next string. Don't bother with a metronome, just take your time to find the next note. Over time you will naturally be able to do this quicker.


I would suggest saying the notes out loud at first and then trying to find them, to make sure you don't get lost. This will eventually become an internal process. I have added how I think about key signatures next to each new key. This can make it easier to get through each exercise as you only need to think of up to 3 things at a time. For example, when playing the modes of D♭ major you just need to keep F and C in your head and all the other notes are flat. So working your way through the alphabet you just say 'flat' after every note that isn't F or C: D♭ E♭ F G♭ A♭ B♭ C D♭.


'Modes' are just the resulting sound of the 'new' scales you get by starting a major scale on its different degrees. This exercise will also help you begin to recognise the 'sound' of the different modes by resolving to the root at each octave.


Over time you will find the most efficient fingerings, but don't worry too much about fingerings at first as the goal is to learn the notes on the neck.


The document has been written for a 4 string bass with 20 frets, but once you have worked out the method you can extend these exercises yourself to basses with more frets, or more strings.


I would recommend trying to vary when you change strings each time you ascend and descend the neck, so you don't always go up and down the same way. This could include for each mode to go up and down the E string, then A string, then D, then G. This means that each mode can be practised 4+ different ways.


Have fun!

The Mother of All Modes Workouts

  • 31 page pdf document. Sheet music only, no tab

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