Activities Hobbies F Major Scale on Bass Guitar Share PINTEREST Email Print Hobbies Playing Music Contests Couponing Freebies Frugal Living Fine Arts & Crafts Astrology Card Games & Gambling Cars & Motorcycles Learn More By James Porter James Porter James Porter is a freelance writer specializing in bass guitar tutorials who is also the bassist for a band called Locust Street Taxi in Seattle, Washington. Learn about our Editorial Process Updated on 05/11/18 One of the easier and more common major scales is the F major scale. F major is a frequently used key and a good one to get familiar with early on. The key of F major has one flat, so the notes of an F major scale are F, G, A, B♭, C, D and E. All the open strings are notes of the scale, making this key particularly nice on the bass. D minor is the relative minor of F major, meaning that it uses all the same notes (only using D as the starting place). There are other scales that use the same notes as well, the modes of the F major scale. Let's take a look at how to play an F major scale in different hand positions on the fretboard. This would be a good time to look at bass scales and hand positions if you are unfamiliar with them. 01 of 06 First Position The first position of an F major scale can be played a couple of ways. One way is down at the bottom of the fretboard, using the open strings, as shown in the above fretboard diagram. The other is up at the 12th fret. We'll look at that on the next page. Play the first F with your first finger on the first fret on the fourth string. Next, play the G two frets higher using either your third or fourth finger. Since the frets are very widely spaced down here, it is perfectly acceptable to use your fourth finger rather than your third. There are no notes on the fourth fret anyway. Play the open A string, then play the B♭ and C with your first and third/fourth fingers. Next, play the open D string, followed by the E and final F with your second and third/fourth fingers. If you like, you can keep going up the scale to a high B♭. 02 of 06 Other First Position The other way to play in first position is an octave higher up, with your first finger over the 12th fret. Here, you use the fingering normally used for first position of any major scale. Start the scale by playing F and G on the fourth string with your second and fourth fingers. The G could also be played as an open string. Next, play A, B♭ and C on the third string with your first, second and fourth fingers on the third string. After that, move up to the second string and play D, E and F with your first, third and fourth fingers. G, A and B♭ can be played the same way on the first string. 03 of 06 Second Position To play in second position, put your first finger over the third fret. In this position, you can't actually play the scale from low F up to high F. The lowest note you can play is a G, with your first finger on the fourth string. A and B♭ are then played with your third and fourth fingers, or you can play the A as an open string. On the third string, play the C with your first finger and then play the D not with your third finger, but with your fourth. This is so you can shift your hand back one fret smoothly. Alternatively, play the open D string. Now, play the E with your first finger on the second string and the F with your second finger. You can keep going up to a high C. 04 of 06 Third Position Move up to put your first finger over the fifth fret. Now you're in third position. Like second position, you can't play a full scale from F to F. The lowest note you can play is an A, on the fourth string with your first finger. The only place where F can be played is on the third string with your fourth finger. You can go all the way up to a high D with your third finger on the first string. Three of the notes in this position, the A, D and G played with your first finger, can be played as open strings as well. 05 of 06 Fourth Position Get in fourth position by putting your first finger over the seventh fret. To play a scale here, start by playing F on the third string with your second finger. From there, you use the exact same fingerings that you used in first position (the second way of playing first position, from page three). The only difference is that the notes you play are one string higher. You can also play notes of the scale below the first F, going down to a low C. The D down there, as well as the G on the third string, can also be played as an open string instead. 06 of 06 Fifth Position The last position, fifth position, is played with your first finger over the 10th fret. The first F is played with your fourth finger on the fourth string. On the third string, play G, A and B♭ with your first, third and fourth fingers. On the second string, play C and D with your first and fourth fingers, just like in second position (on page four). Now, with your hand back one fret, you can play E and F on the first string with your first and second fingers. You can play the G above that as well. The G on the third string (as well as the D below the first F on the fourth string) can be played using an open string instead of using your first finger.