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Scales on One String For the Double Bass

In this double bass lesson we are going to look at playing our major and harmonic minor scales on one string of the double bass. As bassist’s we spend a lot of time practicing our scales with a multitude of fingerings across multiple strings.Skipping over the basic step of simply playing the G major scale up and down the G string. This is beneficial in several ways. It helps us physically see the distance of the intervals that make up the scale.  These etudes are also a great work out for our shifting and intonation.  Something all of us double bass players must constantly practice.

 

In this first example we establish the set fingering for the two octave major and minor scale that be applied to all four strings.  I would suggest working on each individual octave at a time before combining the two.

 

Single String major scale for Double Bass in standard music notation

 

Once you are comfortable playing the scale up and down the string and your intonation is fairly good the next step is to add a drone note to the scale.  In this case we will be using the adjacent lower string which will be the fifth of the scale. (Obviously we cannot  do so on the E string)  The great part about this exercise is hearing how the various notes of the scale interact with the drone.  Embrace the tonal dissonance of some of the notes.

 

Single String major scale for Double Bass in standard music notation with Drone Note 

 

Now to take this drone concept a step farther. We will play eighth note patterns alternating between the scale tones and the drone notes. One can gain some great solo ideas from this exercise. 

 

Single String major scale for Double Bass in standard music notation with bowing pattern

 

Finally the last thing I like to do with the drone is turn it into the root note of our scale.  So will start on the 5th note of the scale on the higher string.  Again this a great opportunity to work on our intonation and concept of consonance and dissonance

 Single String major scale for Double Bass in standard music notation starting on 5th scale degree

 

 

I hope these etude’s show you a new way to approach practicing your scales on the double bass.  As always take these ideas into your bass lessons and see if your teacher has even more concepts on how to expand these ideas.  Below is PDF that you can print out of the above etudes 

 

Double_Bass_single_string_scale.pdf

 

Happy Bass Playing!

 

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