G Major Scale on Bass

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G Major Scale

The G major scale is perhaps the first major scale you should learn as a bassist. The key of G major is a very common choice for songs in all genres of music, and it is simple to learn.

The key of G Major has one sharp. The notes of the G major scale are G, A, B, C, D, E and F#. This key is nice on the bass guitar because all of the open strings are part of it, and the first string is the root.

Besides G major, there are other scales that use the same key (these are modes of the G major scale). Most notably, the E minor scale has the same notes, making it the relative minor of G major. When you see one sharp in the key signature for a piece of music, it is probably in either G major or E minor.

This article goes over how to play a G major scale in various places on the fretboard. You may wish to review bass scales and hand positions before reading on.

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G Major Scale - First Position

The first position of a G major scale is with your first finger over the second fret, as shown in the fretboard diagram above. The first G is under your second finger at the third fret on the fourth string. After that, play the A with your fourth finger, or play the open A string instead.

Next, move up to the third string and play the B, C and D using your first, second and fourth fingers. Then, play the E, F# and G on the second string using your first, third and fourth fingers. Like the A, you can choose to play the D or high G using open strings.

You can also keep going up, playing A, B and C on the first string. Below the bottom G, you can reach an F# and play the open E string.

If covering four frets with your fingers is kind of a stretch down here where the frets are widely spaced, you can use your fourth finger on the fourth fret and not use your third finger at all. By using the open strings, you can still play all the same notes (except for the high C).

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G Major Scale - Second Position

Move your hand up to put your first finger over the fifth fret. This is the second position of the G major scale. Unlike first position, you can't actually play a complete scale from G to G here. The only place you can play G is on the second string with your second finger.

You can play up from a low A, under your first finger on the fourth string. The B and C are played with your third and fourth fingers. On the third string, play the D with your first finger and the E with your fourth, even though it is only two frets higher. This lets you smoothly shift your hand back one fret to reach the notes on the next string.

On the second string, your hand is now in place to play the F# on the fourth fret with your first finger, and the G with your second finger. You can use an open string for the G, as well as the D and A lower down. You can keep going up the scale all the way to a high D.

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G Major Scale - Third Position

Place your first finger over the seventh fret to get in third position. Like second position on the previous page, you can't play the full scale here. The lowest note reachable is a B, under your first finger on the fourth string. You can go up to a high E under your third finger on the first string.

Two of the notes, the D on the fourth string and the G on the third string, can be played instead using open strings.

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G Major Scale - Fourth Position

For fourth position, move up so that your first finger is over the ninth fret. Here, you can play a complete G major scale. Start with the G under your second finger on the third string (or with the open G string).

The scale is played in exactly the same way as in first position on page two, only up one string higher. This scale is an octave higher than when played in first position.

G is the highest note you can play in this position, but you can play the F#, E and D down below the first G. That D can be replaced by the open D string.

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G Major Scale - Fifth Position

Finally, we get to fifth position. Move your first finger up to the 12th fret. To play the scale here, start with the G under your fourth finger on the fourth string, or with the open G string. Then, play the A, B and C on the third string using your first, third and fourth fingers.

As with second position (on page three), it is best to play the D and E on the next string with your first and fourth fingers so you can easily shift your hand back one fret. Now, you are in position to play the F# with your first finger and the final G with your second, up on the first string. You can also play the A above that, or the F# and E below the first G.

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Your Citation
Porter, James. "G Major Scale on Bass." ThoughtCo, Feb. 18, 2016, thoughtco.com/g-major-scale-bass-1711832. Porter, James. (2016, February 18). G Major Scale on Bass. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/g-major-scale-bass-1711832 Porter, James. "G Major Scale on Bass." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/g-major-scale-bass-1711832 (accessed November 19, 2017).