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Expand Your Bass Fretboard Knowledge with the Pentatonic Scale

Here’s a great exercise aimed at expanding your fretboard knowledge. For this lesson, we’re going to use the five positions of the A minor / C Major pentatonic scale. The pentatonic scale contains five notes, of course, and you can play this from different positions. Learning these patterns will significantly increase your fretboard knowledge.

Here’s how it breaks down, taking the minor pentatonic scale (with the root A) from the lowest note E on a 4-string bass, we have the following positions:

  1. 4th position E (open string)
  2. 5th position G (3rd fret)
  3. 1st position A (5th fret, root position, in the video i start here)
  4. 2nd position C (8th fret)
  5. 3rd position D (10th fret)
  6. 4th position (E, 12th fret)
  7. 5th position (G, 15th fret)
  8. 1st position (A, 17th fret)

On a standard 4-string bass, we run out of room after that.

And if we look at it as the C Major pentatonic scale, we have:

  1. 3rd position E (open string)
  2. 4th position G (3rd fret)
  3. 5th position A (5th fret)
  4. 1st position C (8th fret, root position)
  5. 2nd position D (10th fret)
  6. 3rd position (E, 12th fret)
  7. 4th position (G, 15th fret)
  8. 5th position (A, 17th fret)

Here’s a demo:

Here’s a diagram to help you follow along:
The 5 Positions of the C Major Pentatonic Scale for Bass

For the gear heads out there, I’m playing the Sandberg MarloweDK Signature bass.

Thomas Risell, otherwise known as “MarloweDK”, is a bassist and music educator from Denmark. For more great bass lessons from MarloweDK, visit

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