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How To Learn Notes On The Bass Guitar 1/3

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hi there mark here from talking based on

net if you're new to this channel then

make sure to check out all the other

video lessons and subscribe to get

updates on new ones I'll release at

least one a week and there's everything

from getting started to advanced music

theory ok so this is going to be the

first of three connected lessons on how

to learn the notes on the bass

fingerboard each lesson will have a

different approach and hopefully by the

end of these lessons you should be a

step closer to getting around the bass

neck so if you talk to players of pretty

much any instrument other than guitar or

bass and you tell them that you don't

know all the notes on the neck they'll

probably look a little bit confused

how can you play when you don't know

what notes that you play well of course

we know that it's quite possible to get

by on bass by learning simple pans and

just playing the kind of visual way

don't feel bad about it there's no shame

in it learning the notes all over the

bass neck is deceptively difficult and

it can seem like a mammoth task

especially when you're self-taught and

you haven't been given any direction in

terms of reading or positional plane and

it's fine if you only want to play for a

bit of fun in your bedroom or in a local

amateur band and you don't really want

to take the bass that seriously but if

you do want to take the instrument

seriously and especially if you've got

aspirations of becoming a professional

and playing professionally then you

definitely need to know the notes on the

neck it's the first step on the road to

learning the instrument properly and it

never ceases to amaze me how even

veteran players can feel uncomfortable

with notes and certain areas of the

fingerboard so first of all let's remind

ourselves of the notes that are

available to us the note names go

through the alphabet from A to G so we

have ABCD efg then it repeats

ABCD efg you can hear those notes as

they ascend on the bass on this a string

here a b c d e f

gee and there

don't worry about where these notes are

for now just understand that the notes

rising pitch is we rise through the

notes of the alphabet and vice versa

now the first notes that we need to look

at ant on the fingerboard at all the

simpler the open strings and they are

from the lowest or thickest string e a D

and G if you have a five string then

you'll probably have a low B string in

which case it would be B e a D and G and

sometimes it can be tuned to e to C

which would make it e a d G and C now I

don't really like using acronyms for

learning the open strings because

there's only four of them it's better to

just memorize them one way to do this is

to just recite the sequence of open

strings to yourself e a d g e a d g over

and over for a while look at the strings

as you do or play them along with

yourself so now here's a little test

we're going to play through the notes

that are on screen one note per bar

these are open string notes in a random

order and I'm going to use a metronome

so play the first note then look ahead

and prefer prepare for the next note

this practice method is going to be used

a lot in these lessons so this is a good

way to try it out with some really

simple material the notes from this

exercise are available in the

accompanying PDF along with a load of

other exercises that were going to be

going through so here's the metronome

I'm will have a 1 bar counting 1 2 3 4 e










a G a a a



if you want to set yourself out a few

more little tests just write out a long

sequence of those note names in a random

order and use this practice method of

one note per bar one way to check

whether you're right is with the tuner

play the note and see what you've just

played that's as long as you're in tune

obviously you can also check with an

online tuner that can play any bass open

string or try a phone or tablet app

tuner as another quick refresher

it's also worth knowing about tones and

semitones these are also called whole

steps and half steps a semitone or

half-step is a musical distance of one

fret so look anywhere on the neck white

this C here at the third fret on the a

string and if we go one fret to the

fourth fret that's one semitone

so from this C here to this c-sharp a

fret higher is the distance of a

semitone if we were to move up two frets

then we would have a tone or a whole

step so C third fret on the a string

move up two frets up to the fifth fret

so that's C to D we have a tone or a

whole step

this applies all over the neck so here

or per fret is a semitone here were

friends semitone up a semitone any frets

distance is a semitone same with the

tongue two frets anywhere G - a C - D B

to C sharp all at all so now let's go

through that musical alphabet again from

A to G and look at the tones and

semitones between the notes we'll go up

the a string so we have a to B that's

done B to C that's a semitone C to D

tone D to e that's a tongue ETF semitte

on F to G

a tone g2a at all you can see this

pattern of pictures on this fret diagram

each note is a torn apart except the B

to C and the e to F which are a semitone

apart you can see the terms and

semitones visually on the neck the B to

C the second and third fret is a

semitone pan and the e to F at the 7th

to the 8th fret is a semitone all the

rest of tones so you can obviously see

that because of these tongue distances

between C and D or DD there should be

another note in the gap between them

that's where sharps and flats come into

play the notes we've looked at so far

without sharps or flats are called

natural notes so we have a a natural a B

natural C natural etc when we raise a

natural notes by semitone we get a sharp

if we drop them by a semitone we get a

flat so let's have a look at the a

natural here 5th fret on the e-string if

we were to raise that by a semitone we

get an a sharp take the a again at the

5th fret drop it by a semitone down one

fret and we get an A flat so 5th fret on

the E string that's an a 6th fret on the

E string a sharp 4th fret on the E

string a flat sharps are shown with a

little hash symbol so a sharp would be

written a with the hash so a hash flats

of their own little symbol which looks

like a little B so a flat would be a and

the flat symbol or a and a lowercase B

so that all seems quite straightforward

but you might have noticed a little


the a sharp here that's 6 spread he's

also a semitone below the be here so

that makes this also a B flat so the 6th

fret here on the E string is both an a

sharp there's the a and a b-flat

don't worry about any of this just

remember that the notes between the

natural notes can either be seen as a

sharp or a flat so this note at the 6th

fret of the e-string can either be an a

sharp or a b-flat this one at the 4th

fret B string can either be an a-flat

origin sharp this know that the 4th fret

of the a-string can be a c-sharp or a D

flat every pitch or fret can have

several note names depending on certain

factors like the key signature if you

want to learn more about the theory side

of all these intervals and nut names

then just go check out the music theory

series of lessons also on the youtube

channel or over at the website talking

bass net and music theory for bass com

so once again just to clarify let's work

up the a string again and this time

we'll look at every fret as we ascend so

we have a a sharp or B flat B C C sharp

or D flat D d sharp or E flat e F F

sharp or G flat G G sharp or a flat

we're back to way again and the pan

release ok so that gives you an idea of

how the note name system works and how

to roughly work out where they are but

of course it would take forever if every

time we needed a note we had to work

through the notes in order on a string

like I need an E flat on the a string ok

a a sharp B C C sharp D d sharp d sharp

zall so an E flat cool B flat

sight-reading would become a real hoof

to that pace so it's obviously better to

memorize the note positions don't worry

about this it's easier than you might

think as I mentioned earlier we're going

to look at three different methods each

of which is going to look at things a

little bit differently every step make

sure you nail the natural notes first

the Sharps and the flats will come as

you improve ok so for the first system

we're going to simply see the fret

markers as a guide if you don't have

fret markers don't worry the next

position method will probably help a

little bit more also check to see if

you've got any little fret markers on

the sides of the neck anything I'll do

the simply as guides

okay so let's have a look at the fret

markers at the third the fifth and the

seventh frets these markers outline many

of the natural notes on the neck so

let's start down here at the third fret

of the e-string this notes a G the next

dot the fifth fret is an A and the next

dot the seventh fret is a B so we've now

got three notes in a row G a and B and

we can remember that simply as the word

gab okay we're not going to move up to

the next marker at the ninth fret

because that's a C sharp and accidental

and we only want the natural notes to

start with so if we move to the next

string the a string and if we look at

these fret markers the third fifth and

seventh we have C here at the third fret

with fifth fret we've got D then the

seventh fret we've got e okay so C D and

E so if we combine those two strings we

now have G a B C D and E so now let's

move up to the next string the D string

and check out the fret markers again

we've got third fret F the fifth fret

marker got G seventh fret marker a and

we can actually go to the ninth fret

marker for another natural note here and

we've got a B so we have n G a B at all

four of those markers so again all

together including the E string and the

E string we have G a B C D E and G a and

B so that's quite a few notes so far but

let's keep going to the g string now if

we ignore the first fret marker here the

third fret because that's a b-flat and

we only want to use the natural notes we

can start of this fifth fret marker

we've got a C 7th fret marker we've got

a d9 3 marker we've got an Eames or seen

the in at the fifth seventh and ninth

fret markers so now altogether from the

G on the E string down here the third

fret we can just

sent through the order of notes just

like the musical alphabet so we have g a

b c d e and g a b c d e ok

so this is just using the fret markers

and it's not a perfect system by any

means because we're neglecting quite a

few important positions but it is a

start so to make the system a little bit

more complete we can include the open E

string down here and the note at the

first fret which is an F some of you may

have fret markers on the first fret

which will make things a little bit

easier but if you don't just treat it as

the odd one out so now we can ascend

from the open string e right up to the

high e here so we've got e f g a b c d e

n g a b c z e ok now I'm not expecting

you to be able to pick these notes out

straight away but you'll now be able to

at least work the notes out from this


so now let's practice them first we'll

just stick to the G a and B on the E

string we'll miss out the y en F for now

the notes are on screen and in the PDF

so hold each note for a bar just as we

did before and we'll play to the

metronome so here's the metronome okay

so 1 2 3 4 G a

b:g a bee


a chain a a

G G B G B G a B G B G B a day

whether you use a metronome tap your

foot or just say the beats aloud try to

see the next note before you play it so

you have time to find the note over time

this is going to become automatic don't

worry about looking at the neck when you

have to look down to play the note just

see the note check where you are back to

the page okay and that's why it's

important to always prepare before you

get to the note so now let's try the a

string so we've got C D and E okay so

with the metronome so one two three four



Dean II day



Dean see

d e d c

d c d e

now let's combine both strings so here

we are with the metronome again

1 2 3 4 G B a b c

bein a see Dan a

not G

a me



a day


D a G B G

a B D G so now let's look at the D

string so we remember we've got 10 G a

and B okay so metronome again 1 2 3 4

and G a B



G a and G and

and babe

and G and


hey gee a bean


a and G and babe

a themed

and and gee gee babe

and a so now we've got the g string so

we have seen D and E ok so with the

metronome 1 2 3 4 C D E






same name

me sing and sing


we sing




a thing

and team

now let's combine the D and the g string

so one two three four G B




ding Jane and Van

and gee

a name

and they sing


you sing

gee so you can see how this method of

practice can work so I'll leave you to

combine the strings and come up with

your own practice routines I've kept the

D and g string separate from the E and a

string simply because of the repetition

of the note names so calling out high E

or low G will become a little bit

confusing don't worry as long as you can

see the notes that's fine once you feel

comfortable with the natural notes of

the fret markers try experimenting with

the notes between them you should be

able to work these notes out on your own

so instead of for speeding you the

material I'll let you try this for

yourself all the information that you

need is in this lesson at some point so

just go over the earlier section on

notes and accidentals if you're unsure

of anything as a quick example if I'm on

the D string and using these fourth fret

markers and I want to find a b-flat I

can just look here for the B and then

just drop down a semitone to the B flat

if I wanted a c-sharp on the g string I

just need to find a C so here we are at

the 5th fret now raise it semitone or

friend to sharpen it so then we have C

sharp just remember that the semitone

between the B and the C and the e and

the F so a B sharp would actually be a C

okay and an e sharp would be an F which

is why you very rarely get B sharps and

E sharps or F flats so as I said earlier

this system of looking at the fret

markers is only to get you started with

looking at the notes on the neck one

real upside to use in the notes we've

just covered is that they cover quite a

lot of ground and move up the neck

instead of across it a lot of the time

we can get trapped in one position on

the neck and this method helps to break

out of that system a little the next

method will actually be restricting as

more by using positions to learn the

notes but it will be the most useful and

comprehensive system and will be the

main focus of the lessons so this lesson

is intended more as a primer and a

preparation preparation for the main

material ok so now you should move on to

lesson 2 in this short series there

should be a link on the screen and in

the info below so I'll see you there