7 Tips to Learning Your Bass Fretboard

A part of becoming a fantastic bass player is knowing the frets and strings on your instrument. Music theory and the electronics that make up your bass are other parts that are great to learn but knowing your fretboard is crucial.  

I love learning new ways to play my bass and utilizing these ways that I only dreamed of. I hope you take these tips below to use them in your everyday playing.

Tip #1: Standard Tuning – Tuning your bass to standard tuning will show you how playing and listening to the bass was first done. 

 Knowing standard tuning will make it easier to play any genre of music while also keeping true to the sound of the bass. 

Don’t limit yourself to just one tuning. 

Tip #2: Alphabet – The alphabet is your key to learning notes. Now I’m sure you know that the musical alphabet is composed of A – B – C – D – E – F – G. Those are the main notes for you to learn on your bass! Once you know these notes, you can start looking at the sharp and flat ones. 

Tip #3: Half Steps – When looking at your frets, every note vertically on a string is a half step away. Your fretboard is a chromatic scale already made up for you. 

Tip #4: Octaves – Your open string and the 12 fret note are the same! Played only an octave apart, these two notes will help guide you if you are unsure of the other notes on the string.

Tip #5: Dotted Frets – The dotted frets on your bass are good to learn because they will be easy guides along with the octaves as to what your notes are on the board. 

Your dotted frets are the 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th, 15th, 17th, 19th, and 21st frets. 

Tip #6: 5th Note – The 5th note on your fretboard is the open string next door. If you play the 5th fret (A) on the E string the string next to it is an open A string.

This method of learning your frets is also a great way to tune your instrument.  

Tip #7: Perfect 4ths – A perfect fourth is created horizontally across each string.

The G (3) on your E string is a perfect fourth from the C on your A string. 

I hope this helps you on your bass journey to improve how awesome you are on bass. If you would like to learn more about music theory, please check out my e-book and paperback of the No-Nonsense Guide to Music Theory, Scales, and More!

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