Add Spice With The Octave Pattern

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Decoding The Bass Guitar

In the last video we learned that we can look at the fretboard in terms of numbers, and of course numbers lend themselves to patterns very well, so therefore we can also look at the fretboard in terms of patterns.

This video shows you the simplest pattern of all – the octave pattern (it’s basically a right angle if you’re a visual learner). You can use it anywhere on the bass fretboard, and you’ll get an octave.

The best part about using an octave to spice up your playing is that you really, absolutely, categorically, cannot go wrong. Think about it – you’re playing exactly the same note!

This is just one of the simplest patterns that I teach in Decoding the Bass Guitar. It is simple, but powerful… and there are many others like it. Even if you already knew this pattern, I guarantee there are things in the full lesson that will be new to you. In the lesson you will learn how to take this concept much, much further, and apply it to different areas of your bass playing.

Questions or Comments? Leave one below.

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Decoding The Bass Guitar

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Joe Dean
Joe Dean
14 years ago

Jonathan,
Good video tip. I have that down and have used this occasionally. I was on vacation this past weekend and missed your sale… No problem I still will plan to purchase as I am impressed with your presentation. You seem very comfortable on screen. Please keep up the great work. I am going to try to be more responsive to my email adddrss as I am truly beginning to enjoy visiting your site and emails.
God Bless,
Joe Dean

William
William
14 years ago

Jonathan (Sorry, last time I called you John):

Thank you for the simplest explanation of the 2, 2 octave position. As you said, this could be easily used to add some interest to the boredest bass line.

Wayne
Wayne
14 years ago

Hey Joe I know about octaves scales chord construction and that’s it. I play the guitar but have a bass and want to help youth at risk which I love doing. I love your style eazy free lean back style of teaching go for it. Hope I can learn fron you.
Wayne

Ron Towle
Ron Towle
14 years ago

Hi J-I learned this on guitar a long time ago,but you’re right,a great tip for beginners!

Bill Coleman
Bill Coleman
14 years ago

cool tip one of the first I learned from a fellow bass player he described it as 2down2over way cool keep em coming

Johnny Brock
13 years ago

Hey, great tip. I too learned this from the guy who got me started in the beginning, (2-down / 2-over). It helps a lot when trying to learn the notes on the B-string of a 5. One can base the position off of the A-string, (2-up / 2-back). Thanks and keep up the good work. jb

mario preciado
13 years ago

I play for a Baptist Church, base. And I have a few “box”
configurations, that I can flip select as I’m playing, and keep
the timing/melody interesting, but I am aware of what beautiful
hearing can be by listening to the professionals and I know I
need your approach to getting better. In Dec. I’ll stop being
a muncher and get things right with you. Thanks for what your
faith is doing Good, God, Bless You. mario

Matt
Matt
13 years ago

I am a regular guitar player but believe as you mentioned that having an understanding of the bass will help my guitar playing as well. It appears to be working, the theory you have taught me has opened up a lot of ideas and has really changed the way I play.
This is very valuable information!

Patrick James McKenna
Patrick James McKenna
12 years ago

As an active and experienced bassist, I can so easily recommend your methods, which are easy to follow approach and productive.
Your material is chock full of usefull information.

The only possible flaw is that while playing basic riffs off of the major chords, you repeatedly use the index finger for the root and the ring finger for the octave. This could lead the novice bassist to employ such bad practices as refraining from the use of the pinky finger.

Whether giving an instruction to a student or excahnging ideas with other musicians, I strongly emphasize the importance of proper fingering and the use of all four fingers of the left hand of the right-handed student (and the right hand for the left-handed student).

One of the most pathetic sights on the music scene is that of a “three-fingered wonder” who thinks that improper technique is an acceptable shortcut to becoming a bassplayer. (I would never refer to such an individual as a “bassist.”)

ted woodcock
ted woodcock
12 years ago

Hi Jonathon,i purchased your bass dvd the other day just to have it,i do not own a bass guitar yet but i am impressed with your style of teaching,i have learned a lot from your one,four,five,and your scale pattern courses,and reasonably priced i might add.What would you suggest for a beginners bass guitar,i love electric(who doesn’t)but i would also like to play some bass.Thanks…

Patrick James McKenna
Patrick James McKenna
12 years ago
Reply to  ted woodcock

The larger music stores, such as Guitar Center and George’s, have employees who are active professional musicians.
I suggest that you check out a music store and simply ask to speak with an employee who is a bassist.
If you are fortunate enough to find a bassist and really knows what he or she is talking about, you’re off for a great start.
Here’s a warning: a lousy musician, who manages to impress you, could put you on the wrong road, which is littered with failure.
Good luck!

ted woodcock
ted woodcock
12 years ago

Thanks guys,much appreciated…

David Woods
David Woods
12 years ago

Hi Jonathan, I purchased yourbass Guitar theory course and have to say it has opened up many avenues that were closed to me.
Easy to understand information.

Ted; I can recommend Yamaha basses, well built, well balanced good sounds, well priced and will last you for years as they are very playable. Go for it, you’ll love it.

Many thanks Jonathan.

Edwin Robinson
Edwin Robinson
12 years ago

Great lessons and information for beginners. The video covering the scale positions is great for those who’ve never stopped to learn about scales/notes and their positions within a given key.

Patrick James McKenna
Patrick James McKenna
12 years ago

For those who want to expand their playing skills (regardless of their current playing level), the use of octaves can provide the ticket.
This can be as simple as picking any run, pattern or scale (i.e., Major, Melodic Minor, Harmonic Minor, etc.), then pick some (not all) of the notes and play those notes an octave higher.
For example, we’ll start with the C major scale (which we already know):
C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C
Now let’s throw in some octaves:
High C, D, E, F, G, low A and low B (which can be played in the 6th position without any shifting).
Now let’s get ambitious and break out of our comfort zone.
C, high D, E, high F, G, high A, B and high C
or we can try:
High C, D, E, high F, high G, A, B and C
The objectives of this sort of practice are: enhanced familiarity with the fretboard, improved fingering dexterity and improved abity to reach across the strings and building strength in the hands.
Before we become ambitious, make sure that the proper and correct playing techniques are being used.
After trying this, come up with your own ideas and keep pushing the envelope…
Have fun and be great!

John Bolton
John Bolton
12 years ago

Well Jonathan, have always Loved the sound and feel of the bass! After doing a couple of yrs worth of research to actually decide what I want, I’ve decided to go with the simple route and start with the 4 string! I’m goona go with an inexpensive stater combo, to get going and get used to it and practice as often as I can, and as I do alot of traveling for work can take it with and if something happens on the road than it won’t kill me! But I will be ordering a few of your dvd’s to have a good path to follow, I’ve never played before and this going to be my Christmas present this year!!

Ken
Ken
12 years ago

Hi Johnathon, I agree using the octave notes have helped me when I was a youg player way back in the seventies. I remember jamming with a few guys (a couple went on to be big names around the world) and using the octaves it gave the lead guitarist a little more room to really go wild. Octives are a great addition to anyones arsonal.

Carl Harlan
Carl Harlan
12 years ago

I am a beginner bass player and after listening and watching your Decoding the Bass Guitar video, I am still not clear on how the intervals change after you move on to a new chord with a different root note. Are you still selecting notes from within the original root note (Key) pattern or is there a new pattern based on the new chord root note?

rick
rick
9 years ago

yep awesome tip mate its one iv already been shown but thanks for interest in sharing it with me

Tom Giordano
9 years ago

Yes, I purchased the Decoding The Bass Guitar lesson last week and have incorporated several several new techniques into my playing. Keep sharing your gift. Thank you. Tom

kenneth oconnor
kenneth oconnor
8 years ago

The sound wont play………help?

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