Diagonal Scale and Arpeggio Patterns

OK, you should know your scales and arpeggios in many patterns if you play bass but during a lesson with Steve Billman, he noted that often you find yourself quickly ascending across the strings and then running up and down the G string. Steve had adapted some ideas that Frank Gambale had about playing diagonally across the fingerboard to ascend or descend and the suggested fingerings gave some interesting places to shift that made me think about the patterns I had gotten into and will hopefully make you think too!

I visited the Los Angeles Music Academy again last summer and found students practising these fingerings in all the bass classes.

Note: the bar lines show you where to switch strings and the numerals show you which left hand fingers to use.

scales 2

scales 1

Arps 2

Arps 1

If you use these materials, please credit the wonderful Steve Billman of LA Music Academy and check out his beautiful bass playing.

Phil and Steve

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One thought on “Diagonal Scale and Arpeggio Patterns

  1. I notice that lots of people visit this site but few click past the first jpeg. Is that because the first gives you all you need or is it that you’d prefer something in tab or fingerboard diagram format.

    The standard notation here is not that hard to read, just the notes and use the left-hand fingers underneath the stave – change string when you reach the bar-line. If enough of you comment that this format is not straightforward enough, I’ll create a fingerboard diagram version but neither tab nor a fingerboard chart give enough detail as to which finger to use and when to shift.

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