Free Lesson Tips

You can learn faster and easier if you do a few simple things. These suggestions are not time-consuming and easily carried out if you schedule time for them in your day on a regular basis. The most important thing to remember about practice is that it’s not the amount of time you spend, but how well you use the time that counts. If you practice several hours a day and simply repeat the same mistakes each time through, you have not practiced effectively.

  • Take the time to read your assignment book. The specific assignments and practice suggestions are intended to assist in practice.
  • When practicing, make sure that the environment is free from distractions and noise. Turn off the TV, etc…
  • Make sure the music is legible and well lit
  • Set aside a specific time each day for your work at the piano and stick to the schedule.
  • Unlike studying for tests or exams, piano practice cannot be crammed in at the last minute or day before the lesson. Plan the time to do practice every day.
  • Don’t try to learn a piece all at once; take it in sections and practice a section until you can do it without mistakes three times through. Then move on to the next section.
  • Remember the value of taking a section slowly, making sure that you play all the notes correctly and that you count through difficult sections. Worry about playing to tempo when you have the notes and the rhythm right.
  • A very valuable way of knowing whether you’ve learned a piece is to learn it well enough that you can play either hand independently starting at any place in the music. When you can do that, you can begin to work on being musical with the piece.
  • Learning a new piece of music is hard work. Reward yourself after a good practice session by playing a familiar and favorite work just for the fun of it. Think of this as the dessert after meal.
  • Above all, don’t simply repeat mistakes. Use practice to work out mistakes, not to reinforce them by continually repeating them. When you repeat mistakes, they are just that much more difficult to get rid of later.
  • Take the suggestions from your teacher seriously. After long years of training and teaching experience, chances are your teacher’s suggestions will prove successful, if followed.
  • If possible, participate in concerts and recitals at your teacher’s studio. So much more can be learned by performing yourself and listening to others perform.
  • Attend as many recitals and concerts as possible. Given the large number of musical organizations sponsoring concerts there is ample opportunity to hear music. The more music that you hear, the more of an idea of the musical concepts you can get.
  • Read biographies of composers, performing artists and conductors. Also, rent movies that are related to the lives of musicians. There are so many wonderful movies and books readily available, that really no one has the excuse not to know more about the composers, their lives and music. If you can’t find the time to read books, classical CD’s and records usually have useful and interesting information about the composer, the musical structure and ideas expressed, and the performers in the recording.
  • Obtain a musical dictionary. The dictionary will give the meaning of the Italian terms (for example, Allegro Vivace & Molto Espressivo, which are used in the score to indicate how the piece of music should be played and how it should sound. You’ll find your playing of the music will improve faster if you understand how the composer meant the music to sound in the first place. Sources (

Please address your specific questions to ABMA piano teachers:,,

Let’s get started with the things you can do to obtain some results as a beginner guitarist.

Tabs are an easy way to learn your favorite songs. Tablature is a way of indicating the positioning of notes and fingering on the guitar fret board

There are 6 tab lines representing 6 strings on the guitar. (The 1st string is the thinnest, and the 6th string is the thickest) They are as follows:

E————————————————————————String 1
B————————————————————————String 2
G————————————————————————String 3
D———————————————————————– String 4
A———————————————————————— String 5
E———————————————————————– String 6

When a number is placed on one of the lines, it indicates the fret location of note for example

E———————————————————————- String 1
B——4————————————————————– String 2
G——————————————————————— String 3
D——————————————————————— String 4
A———————————————————————- String 5
E——————————————————————— String 6

This means to play the 4th Fret on the 2nd string

E———————————————————————– String 1
B———————————————————————– String 2
G———————————————————————– String 3
D———————————————————————– String 4
A——0—————————————————————- String 5
E———————————————————————– String 6

This indicates an open 5th string

E—1——————————————————————- String 1
B—————————8—————————————— String 2
G————–7——————————————————- String 3
D—————————————-2—————————– String 4
A———————————————————————- String 5
E—————————————————————-12— String 6

This indicates:

1st Fret, 1st string then
7th Fret, 3rd string, then
8th Fret, 2nd string, then
2nd Fret, 4th string, then
12th Fret, 6th string.

Other letters & symbols
h – hammer on
p – pull off
b – bend string up
r – release bend
/ – slide up
\ – slide down
v – vibrato (sometimes written as ~)
t – right hand tap
x – play ‘note’ with heavy damping

All numbers in a line one after another means you play the entire chord using all strings

E—3—————————————————————- String 1
B—3—————————————————————- String 2
G—4—————————————————————- String 3
D—5—————————————————————- String 4
A—5—————————————————————- String 5
E—3—————————————————————- String 6

Tabs that have “h” means to do a “Hammer On” from the 7th fret to the 9th fret and again for the 10th fret to the 12th fret

E————————————————————————String 1
B————————————————————————String 2
G————————————————————————String 3
D————————————————————————String 4
A———7h9———–10h12————————————–String 5
E—0–0———-0–0————————————————String 6

Tabs that have “p” means to do a “Pull Off” from the 9th fret to the 7th fret and again for the 12th fret to the 10th fret

E———————————————————————-String 1
B———————————————————————-String 2
G———————————————————————-String 3
D———————————————————————-String 4
A———9p7———–12p10————————————-String 5
E—0–0———-0–0———————————————–String 6

Tabs that have “b” means strike the string 5 on the 7th fret, and then bend the note up so that it sounds the same as the note played on the 9th fret.

E———————————————————————–String 1
B———————————————————————-String 2
G———————————————————————-String 3
D———————————————————————-String 4
A———7b9———–10b12————————————String 5
E———————————————————————-String 6

Tablature legend

h – hammer-on
p – pull-off
b – bend
pb – pre-bend
r – bend release (release immediately if no number after r)
/\ – slide into or out of (from/to “nowhere”)
s – legato slide
S – shift slide
– natural harmonic[n] – artificial harmonic
n(n) – tapped harmonic
~ – vibrato
tr – trill
T – tap
TP – trem. picking
PM – palm muting
\n/ – tremolo bar dip; n = amount to dip
\n – tremolo bar down
n/ – tremolo bar up
/n\ – tremolo bar inverted dip
= – hold bend; also acts as connecting device for hammers/pulls
<> – volume swell (louder/softer)
x – on rhythm slash represents muted slash
o – on rhythm slash represents single note slash

*** Tabs are not proper music notation. Some people think that learning to read music is difficult but its not if introduced in easy and comprehensible way. For information about proper music notation, please address your questions to ABMA guitar teachers:,,,

ARTICULATE. Using your articulators (lips, teeth, tip of the tongue) more specifically to create your words will help you sing better and more easily. So many of us swallow our articulation (meaning farther back in our mouth) and that habit gets in the way of resonance, tone placement and other important singing mechanics. To improve your skill, quickly say the articulator tongue twister five times in a row: “lips, teeth, tip of the tongue. Lips, teeth, etc.” Be sure to really concentrate on exaggerating the movements with the articulators. See where all the action is? That is where you feel the action of articulation when you sing. Keep in mind that you will probably feel like you are moving them in a ridiculous fashion if you are not used to using them actively. Check a mirror, you’ll probably be surprised

BUILD YOUR SONG PERFORMANCE. Think about how a well-constructed roller coaster builds in intensity and suspense throughout the ride. Your song should have the same sort of ups and downs. For the best results, plan the dynamics (volume and intensity) of your singing. Don’t just sing as powerfully as you can from the get go. Figure out the emotional and natural build of the music and sing accordingly. Remember, singing is as much an art form as a skill.

COPE WITH UNEXPECTED SINGING EVENTS and challenge the smart way. Figure out which part of your vocal instrument is out of balance and make an instant adjustment. If you are not sure what actually makes up your “vocal instrument” you would definitely benefit from learning vocal mechanics.

DARE TO TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT. So many singers practice the same song, the same way, over and over and over again. If it didn’t work the first twenty times, why is it going to work the twenty-first? Try altering different aspects of your singing and attempt to find an easier way to accomplish your best sound. For example, increase/decrease articulation, increase/decrease the amount of airflow, increase/decrease diaphragm support, alter tone placement, alter resonance…get the picture?

ENERGY BUT NOT EFFORT. This is one of the most confusing concepts in singing. Energy in the tone is what we want and Effort is something we want to desperately to avoid. Energy is created naturally when our vocal instrument is in balance and our body is involved in the singing process. It feels good. It feels easy. Sometimes it occurs naturally and other times we may have to make adjustments. Effort usually occurs when singers use their throat muscles/membranes and vocal cords improperly to create volume. We should actually feel and see very little happening in our throat area.

FEATHERS. When learning to sing your full range and accomplish the desired one voice (same power with similar tone throughout the whole range) singers often experience cracks and breaks. One way to test this is to practice a siren. Slide on the syllable “he” from the bottom of your range to the top. If you do not experience cracks or breaks, try it on all syllables at all volumes. When you find yourself faced with this challenge, it is the common response to “try harder” or “give more effort” on those notes. This is not the way to solve this issue. What you want to do is to lighten up just a bit on these notes, let them float like a feather instead of trying harder and stomping on them. Understand that most often this is caused because muscles and membranes not having the memory they need to make the transition you require, as quickly as you want it made. Repetition will give them memory, so keep practicing. Lighten up just a bit on those notes and sing through the break. Don’t develop the habit of stopping when you “crack” or it will come back to bite you later.

GET OVER IT and GO FOR IT. Many talented young singers come with a good voice and with work, really shine on their vocal skills…but when it comes to performance they suffer the “I’m afraid I’ll look stupid” syndrome. Why do we do that? We see music videos and concerts every day when artists give us their all, and yet we feel less stupid singing like a statue than we do really going for it? Makes no sense, but this is not a random occurrence. And unfortunately, when you don’t really “perform” the song, you will never be able to give your absolute best performance. Why? Performance involves some sort of emotional connection with the song, when you put the emotion on your face and in your body, you will sing completely differently than the statue, no matter how knowledgeable.

HUMMING. Humming should be easy and sound alive. If you cannot hum well, you are not singing up to your potential. Humming is a good way to determine which part of your vocal instrument is not warmed up or pulling its weight. When you hum you should be able to feel the resonant vibration on the front of your face.

INCREASE YOUR AIR SPEED for high notes and decrease your air speed for lower notes. Each frequency requires a specific air speed to create the absolute best tone. Many singers push too much air, too quickly, while singing low notes in an attempt to make the note louder. All this does is add stress and tension to the tone. Use your ears to tell you when the proper balance is reached. The tone should sound clear and pure before adding stylistic nuances.

JAW TENSION. Most people don’t realize how tense their jaw is…because it feels perfectly natural to them. Be sure to stretch out your face and jaw muscles and even make a specific point to monitor your jaw when singing to be sure it truly is relaxed. If your jaw is tense, you will not receive your best tone and perhaps even have trouble hitting some of the higher tones.

KEEP IT CLEAN. When practicing your vocal skills focus on creating a pure and clear tone first, free of airiness, rasp and other tonal changes added for stylistic purposes. If you cannot create a clear tone full of life and energy, you are not singing up to your potential.

LIFT YOUR DIAPHRAGM. So many singers learn to “belly breath” (breathe into the belly) and therefore tend to think that lifting their diaphragm feels similar to holding in their stomach. You can sing like this, but you are only using half your resources and not making full use of the power provided by the muscles in the back. To get your best breath for singing, you want to fill up your abdomen like an inner tube, you should feel expansion all the way around your body…yes, even in your back. Then to compress the air and support the vocal tone release, you lift the diaphragm muscle straight up from the center of your body. If you are used to the other way, it takes some practice to get the new diaphragm muscle memory, but well worth the effort!

MONEY NOTES MATTER Let’s face it. If you are singing a song with a big money note, let’s be real. You can knock the rest of the song out of the park, but if you miss the money note that’s all your audience will remember. A lot of times singers miss money notes because they are worried about it and if you even think for a moment that it “might not happen” you just increased your odds of it not happening by a great deal. Usually it is only one or two notes of a phrase that reach that “money” potential. When you focus specifically on the note, you compartmentalize it and tell your subconscious to watch out for it. Instead, in practice try concentrating on the phrase. Figure out how to use the phrase to your advantage. Sometimes changing your placement on the note(s) just before your money note can make a huge difference. And of course, during performance…see yourself hitting that note like a pro.

NEVER LET THEM SEE YOU SWEAT. The perception of the audience is the reality. Say that out loud, “the perception of the audience is the reality.” What they think is true, is true. So if you sing with confidence and handle that “creative” phrase you accidentally added like a professional, most of your audience will be convinced that you meant to sing it that way.

ONE VOICE. If you have been around organized singing groups or perhaps even studied training you have probably heard these terms: chest voice, middle voice, head voice and belt voice. Some singers have even had the misfortune of studying under these kinds of principles…unfortunately that usually means they can’t sing very many songs and still sound like one person. When they go up for that higher note in the phrase they end up switching to some hooty, covered, “head voice” sound. We won’t go into the foundation of these terms here, but know that your goal as a singer is to manage the balance of resonance in all cavities so you can sing from low to high with a consistent tone.

PLACEMENT OF YOUR TONE refers to where the tone is centered. Mastering tone placement will make your singing incredibly easy and consistent. Some people are born with the skill of good tone placement and others have to really work at it. To get technical, there is both a horizontal and vertical placement. For example: horizontal placement, the tone can be centered at the front of your mouth, the middle or the back (back never preferred). For example: vertical placement, draw a line from the middle of your chin to the top middle of your head. The higher the note, the higher the placement.

QUIT SINGING THROUGH YOUR NOSE. Nasal tone qualities occur when there is too much resonance in your nasal cavity and not enough sympathetic resonance or overtones being created in other cavities. One quick fix is to simply open your mouth taller.

RESONANCE. Resonance is commonly defined as the “key to your signature voice.” As singers, we are far more interested on how we manipulate it that it’s textbook definition. Resonance is created by the sound wave/frequency you are creating is shaped and amplified by dancing in a resonating cavity (chest, mouth, nasal, sinus). The resonating cavity we have the most control over is the size and shape of our mouth. So play around with the size and shape of the mouth to hear changes in your resonance. With regard to mouth shape, taller is preferred over wider.

SING THE STORY. Singing is acting through song. Why sing the song and not convey the message? Get emotionally involved with the lyrics. Figure out what would make you spontaneously speak the words and sing them conviction.

THINK SING. The most efficient way to learn a song is actually to NOT sing it right away. By listening to a song you can learn what you are supposed to do a lot faster, without creating any bad habits you are only going to have to break later. If you can think sing a song from beginning to end, anticipating every breath and melody nuance, then you are ready to sing. It’s like a playbook for football. Study the play first before jumping in the game. Not successfully “think singing” the song before you actually sing it is like a ball player running around the field with no idea of the play.

UNIFY YOUR VOWELS. You know how you can sing one word on a specific note easily, but another word seems much harder? You could probably use some practice and training on unifying your vowels. The ability to unify your vowels and make them sound as if they come from one instrument, having about the same high and low frequencies and blended with no cracks or breaks is one skill that separates the accomplished singer from an amateur.

VOLUME AND POWER. Volume and power should be gained by using the muscles in the back and abdomen. If you are losing your voice after 4-6 songs or if you hear a lot of “effort” in your tone (it doesn’t float in a pure fashion), then you are probably using your throat.

WISHING. Wishing your voice was pro quality won’t get it there. You’d be surprised what one hour of specific vocal practice five days a week can do. Sorry, this doesn’t usually apply to singing your favorite songs during commute time or singing the same song over and over again in your bedroom. While you may make some improvement this way, making a productive practice vocal plan would be much more efficient and of course, help you make much faster progress.

EXERCISE YOUR VOICE REGULARLY. So many singers shy away from actually doing exercises, claiming they can train and warm up by singing their favorite songs. While some professionals will do this in a pinch, most of them train using exercises and warm up their voice prior to performance the same way. Pros know that warm ups will take you through muscle movements that a song never could. Not only will warm ups tell you where you voice is “not awake”, but using them during training can help you develop necessary muscle memory for difficult passages you encounter later. Today it is easy to accomplish these tasks as there are many vocal exercise CDs available… Here is another quick tip…when you go to sing your song, you should be singing it like you sing the vocal exercises. Most of us will exercise with good placement, support, resonance, etc., but when we add words and our favorite melody all that goes out the window. Work at being consistent.

YOUR STYLE. So many students avoid improving certain mechanical skills because they claim that it is their style. While it is true that certain things a singer does, shape of their mouth, how they pronounce words, etc., contributes to their signature voice… improving how you create your tone will only make your signature voice better. Don’t back away from understanding your voice; learn all you can about your instrument in order to create your best sound.

ZEN. The show must go on! Sometimes we can’t help but let our emotions and personal life circumstances affect our performances. We are human, after all. However, with practice you can learn to clear you head and totally focus on connecting with your song and the appropriate emotions of your selection, instead of whatever else was distracting you. Your body language and expression communicate your focus…but it’s your eyes that communicate your thoughts most of all. Sources (

Please address your questions to ABMA voice teachers:,

If you really want to learn how to play the drums, you ought to have a good reason for doing so. What motivates you? Do you find it hip and trendy to join online drum lessons? Have you always dreamt of playing this instrument but never got the chance to learn how? Or are you at that vulnerable stage when you seem to lose your creativity with music? Whatever your reasons are, only you can identify your goals and make a move to achieve them. Set the plan into motion and move forward by learning and applying the following tips:

1. Get started. Start living the dream. Search for reliable music school, which offer drum lessons at a time frame and rate, which you can afford. Go for the package that works for you.

2. Identify your needs. Look around for a drum kit you can afford. Get advice on the type of drumsticks you will need as a beginner. Find out what other materials you may need.

3. Prepare to use your ears. Learning to play the drums will not only be a physical and mental activity, but it will also be an exercise in using your hearing and listening skills. Hearing is simply the transmission and reception of sound, but listening is the accurate perception of it. While you will be taught the basics of music theory and the techniques of drum playing, you will also learn to enhance your aural skills through ear training. In the end, you will truly have an ear for music.

4. Go through the process. Remember that you will be allowed the luxury of learning drum playing through professional instruction at your own time, and within your own budget. Enjoy the adventure.

5. Study and review. The lessons may be easy to understand and the instructions may be easy to follow, but it takes personal discipline to immerse your self in the study and get deeply involved. Feed you mind with ideas like notes, beats, and measures, and drum it all in. Thirst for more knowledge by reading widely on different styles and genres. Synthesize everything to make your music better.

6. Practice. Theory is useless without application. Watch and learn and then do a lot of hands-on work. Play along with sample tracks provided in DVDs and CDs until you get it right.

7. Stay motivated. Always keep in mind the reasons why you are trying to learn the drums. Surround yourself with people who are supportive and enthusiastic about what you’re into. Bounce back whenever you get waylaid or distracted by other things. Focus on whatever signs of progress you make.

It is by your own standards that you are trying to learn how to play the drums. Compete with the goals you have set, and strive to outdo yourself and improve your music. That would be reason enough. Sources

Please address your specific questions to ABMA drums teachers:,

Even if you do not have a bass guitar yet, you can still start practicing some fundamental skills. Here are the bass guitar lessons for beginners:

Rhythm – A necessary skill for all musicians, rhythm is especially important for a bass guitar player. You can start developing your rhythm right now without a bass guitar. Rhythm is a necessary skill for all musicians, but rhythm is especially important for a bass guitar player. You can start developing your rhythm right now without a bass guitar.

Listening to music is a good way to start developing a sense of rhythm. This sounds simple, but in order to develop a better sense of rhythm you will need to actively listen rather than passively sitting back and enjoying the music. So eliminate all distractions, put on headphones, and turn on a song by a band with a bass guitar. If you do not know what to listen to, try something by U2 or Lynyrd Skynyrd.

As the song plays, focus on the bass guitar. These are usually the low notes strumming along in the background. If you are like most people, you typically pay attention to the vocals and lead guitar, while the other instruments blend in the background. It may be difficult at first, but try to focus only on the bass guitar. In order to actively listen, tap your foot or clap your hands to the beat. This will probably seem strange, and I do not suggest doing it in public unless you want people to look at you and wonder. Try this with several different songs, preferably at least one rock song and one blues song.

Warming up before you play the bass guitar is a great habit to develop. Start by stretching your arms over your head and from side to side. Next, stretch your wrists and hands by holding your arm straight and making circular motions with your hands. First go clockwise, then counter-clockwise. Finally, stretch your fingers by making a fist and then extending your fingers. Do this about four or five times (at least once for every string on your bass guitar).

Even though playing the bass guitar may not seem like an athletic event, it does work many muscles that you are probably not in the habit of using. Repetitive stress injuries are very painful and a serious threat, so stretching and warming up is extremely important. Once you have stretched, pick up your bass guitar and slowly strum the strings a few times. Move your hand on the neck, too. Now you should be ready to start playing.

Posture is important when playing the bass guitar. Most bass guitars weigh at least 9 or 10 lbs., and many are heavier. While this does not sound like a lot of weight, holding a bass guitar for a few hours at a time can make even a strong person tired. The bulk and weight of the instrument can cause a bass guitarist to slouch. This can cause back pain, and it is not a good look for a performer, either. You are likely to get in the habit of standing and holding your bass guitar a certain way, whether or not it is the right way. Make sure that you are conscious of having good posture when you first start playing, and you are likely to continue this habit. A bass guitar player should appear confident and energetic, and maintaining good posture will contribute to this.

Basic Techniques – How to hold the bass guitar, position your fingers, and play the strings. Basic techniques include how to hold the bass guitar, position your fingers, and play the strings. These are some of the most rudimentary skills, but also some of the most important. Using the proper technique will make it easier to play complicated chords and series of notes later on.

Holding the bass guitar properly is important. If you are right-handed, then you should hold the body of the bass guitar in your right hand and the neck in your left hand. If you are left-handed, then place the neck in your right hand and hold the body of the bass guitar in your left hand. Hold the bass guitar at a comfortable level on your chest. Adjust the strap so that the bass guitar stays at this level. You should always use the strap when you play the bass guitar, as it distributes the weight across your shoulders and back, taking some of the pressure off your hands. To make sure that you are holding your bass guitar correctly, look at the strings. The thickest string should be on top and the thinnest string should be on the bottom.

Fretting is holding down the different strings of a bass guitar on the neck. The fret board refers to the wooden board on the neck just under the strings. Fretting is obviously very important, because how you press down on the strings will affect the sound that your bass guitar produces. First, make sure that your hands are clean and that your fingernails are short. Long nails can scratch the fret board and make it difficult to press down on the strings properly. Dirt on the strings can negatively change the sound.

Press down on the strings between the frets rather than directly on top of them. Practice pressing each string, and be sure to use all of your fingers. Most beginners have a tendency to only use their index finger, but in order to develop as a bass guitarist you will need to use all of your fingers. There is a good chance that you will get blisters on your fingers, but don’t worry – this is a natural part of becoming a bass guitarist.

Plucking refers to the strumming action of the fingers over the body of a bass guitar. If you are right-handed, then you will be plucking with your right hand. If you are left-handed, then you will be plucking with your left hand. Some bass guitarists use a pick, but most of them just use their fingers. I recommend not using a pick when you are first beginning. Hold your hand over the strings on the body with the palm facing the strings. Relax your hand. Place your thumb against the body of the bass guitar just above the strings, and use it as an anchor as you move your hand. Move your index finger over the top of one of the strings, press it lightly, and move it towards you a little bit as you let go of it. You will primarily use your middle and index fingers for plucking. Practice plucking each string with your index finger, and then switch to your middle finger.

  • Holding the bass guitar correctly is important. Always wear a strap, and make sure that the thickest string is on top and that you are using the proper hand on the neck.
  • Fretting should be done by cleanly and firmly pressing each string between the frets. Be sure that you are using all of your fingers.
  • Plucking should produce a crisp sound. With your thumb as an anchor, focus mainly on using your index finger and middle finger to pluck the strings.

Notes – A basic lesson in music and how to play notes on the bass guitar. What to do when you are finally ready to play some notes. Notes are the basic building blocks of all music. Knowing the notes and how to play them on the bass guitar is very important. The bass guitar has an “alphabet” of 12 different notes: A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#.

It is important to know the notes and how to play them on your bass guitar. If you have a four-stringed bass guitar, then from top to bottom, the strings correspond to the notes G, D, A, and E. Each note on the scale of A to G# is half a step higher than the one preceding it. On the bass guitar, half a step equals one fret. Every time you move your finger one fret up the neck, the note that you play increases by half a step.

The following diagram shows the notes in relation to each fret on a bass guitar with four strings:


The “#” sign means “sharp.” So the note labeled “C#” is known as “C sharp.” Determine where all these notes are on your bass guitar. While using this diagram as a guide, you may want to slowly play each note and say its name as you play it. This will get you used to where each note is.

You will see on the diagram that the 5th note from the left (or up the neck of the bass guitar) is exactly half a step lower than the 1st note on the string above it. This allows you to play higher notes by moving up one string and down the neck of the bass guitar, rather than going further up the neck. Practice playing each note in ascending and descending order. Remember that if you play a string “open” ( without pressing it down on any of the frets) then it will play the note after which it is named. For example, playing the top string “open” is the note “G.”

  • The notes on a bass guitar are: A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#. Each note is half a step higher than the one before it, which corresponds to one fret higher on the bass guitar.
  • Become familiar with all the notes. Remember that there is no # (sharp) for B and E. Say the names of the notes out loud as you play them slowly.

Scales – How to start playing groups of notes in succession. The next step in practicing after you are familiar with the basic notes on your bass guitar. Scales are series of notes that can be played in a pattern. Playing scales is the next step after you have mastered playing individual notes. Scales provide bass guitarists with a solid framework for understanding the range of notes. Playing scales will help improve the flexibility and strength of your fingers, and enable you to move between notes faster. Playing scales is a good way to develop your knowledge of the notes on the bass guitar. There are three main types of scales that can be played on the bass guitar: chromatic scales, major scales, and minor scales

Chromatic scales are basic scales that include 12 notes. A chromatic scale starts on one note and ends on the same note but an octave higher. To play a chromatic scale, start by playing one string “open.” Then move up half a step and play the next note, and continue until you are back to the note on which you started. For example, you can start a chromatic scale by playing the “E” string open, then pressing down on a fret and playing F, then F#, G, G#, A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, and finally E. Try playing different chromatic scales by starting on each string of your bass guitar

Major scales are a series of 8 notes. Major scales start on one note and end on the same note but one octave higher. They have a bright sound, and are the basic notes on which songs that use major chords are based. Unlike chromatic scales, which only go up in half steps, major scales proceed in a mix of whole and half steps. To play a major scale on a bass guitar with four strings, start on any of the lower notes on your bass guitar. For example, start by playing the “E” string open, then the 2nd fret of the “E” string, next the 4th fret of the “E” string, then the “A” string open, next the 2nd fret of the “A” string, then the 4th fret of the “A” string, next the 1st fret of the “D” string, then the 2nd fret of the “D” string. In this example, you will have started by playing an E note and ended by playing an E note. The pattern for a major scale on the bass guitar is whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half.

Minor scales are a series of 8 notes that increase in the same pattern as major scales, but start and end on different notes. The pattern for a minor scale on the bass guitar is whole, half, whole, whole, half, whole, whole.

  • Playing scales is a good way to practice and develop your knowledge of the notes on the bass guitar.
  • Chromatic scales include all 12 notes and increase in half step intervals.
  • Chromatic scales include all 12 notes and increase in half step intervals.
  • Major scales are a series of 8 notes that increase in a pattern of whole and half step intervals: whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half.
  • Minor scales are a series of 8 notes that increase in a pattern of whole and half step intervals: whole, half, whole, whole, half, whole, whole. Technically, this is the same pattern of whole and half steps that major scales use, but the minor scale starts and ends on a different note so the pattern appears different.

Patterns – An introduction to playing chords and patterns of notes on the bass guitar. Patterns of notes help bass guitarists produce a rich, full sound. Some of the most common patterns that bass guitarists play are known as chords. Chords are combinations of two, three, or four notes played simultaneously. Bass guitarists generally do not play full chords by themselves, but form chords when their notes combine with guitars and other instruments in a band.

For example, if during a song a guitar player is playing a C Major Chord (which contains the notes C, E, and G) then the bass guitarist might play only one of these notes in order to emphasize the sound. A root note is the note on which each chord is built. The root note of a C Major Chord is C. In many songs, the bass guitarist will play only the root note of a chord. The guitar and other instruments in the band will play the other notes of the chord. An octave pattern consists of playing a note on the bass guitar and then playing the same note but one octave higher or lower. To move the 12 half steps that make up an octave on the bass guitar, simply move two frets closer to the body of the bass guitar and down two strings. You can also move two frets up the neck and up two strings. This is a quick way to find a note that is exactly one octave away from the note you are playing. Root and Fifth patterns consist of playing two notes: first a root note and then the fifth note in the scale. To find the fifth note, move two frets closer to the body of the bass guitar and one string lower. Practice moving back and forth between the two notes, playing each once. Root, Fifth, and Sixth patterns consist of playing three notes: first a root note, next the fifth note in the scale, and then the sixth note in the scale. Start practicing this pattern once you have mastered the root and fifth pattern. Sources

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