Learning the Bass Fretboard by Rocking Out

Here’s a lesson I’d classify as beginner/intermediate level, but the truth is, it is something I think can benefit all of us.

The goal of this lesson is to become comfortable with the entire fretboard, through learning the notes on every fret.

Using a simple Rolling Stones-style rock groove backing track, this lesson focuses in on working our way through all the keys by moving through the circle of fifths. (If you want to explore the circle of fifths more, check out the Wikipedia page on this topic.)

In the first video below, I’m playing along with the backing track to demonstrate how this works, with some commentary about technique and approach throughout.

Each of the chords in the backing track run 4 bars each. The chords (all Major) go as follows:

  • C
  • F
  • Bb/A#
  • Eb/D#
  • Ab/G#
  • Db/C#
  • Gb/F#
  • B
  • E
  • A
  • D
  • G

If you’d like to follow along with the backing track, try this video:

Or you can download the MP3 version of this backing track.

For more great bass lessons from Thomas "MarloweDK" Risell, visit PlayBassNow.com.

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Share your thoughts

  1. Brilliant idea! Thanks!

  2. Great video! He is actually using the circle of 4th. The circle of fifths goes c, g, d….etc.

  3. Every time I hear somebody start talking about circle of fifths/fourths my mind fogs and my eyes glaze over. I know what they are, but, holy jeez, way to muck up a good time…I’m sure this stuff is helpful to some, just not me! lol

  4. Same here, Chad. Modes, too!