This is a public version of the members-only Jazz Bass with John Patitucci, at ArtistWorks. Functionality is limited, but CLICK HERE for full access if you’re ready to take your playing to the next level.

These lessons are available only to members of Jazz Bass with John Patitucci.
Join Now

Beginner Upright Bass
Intermediate Upright Bass
Advanced Upright Bass
Music Theory
Beginner Electric Bass
Intermediate Electric Bass
Advanced Electric Bass
30 Day Challenge
«Prev of Next»

Jazz Bass Lessons: Major Scales in Closed Positions

Lesson Video Exchanges () submit video Submit a Video Lesson Study Materials () This lesson calls for a video submission
Study Materials
information below
Lesson Specific Downloads
Play Along Tracks
Backing Tracks +
Written Materials +

+Beginner Upright Bass

+Intermediate Upright Bass

+Advanced Upright Bass

+Beginner Electric Bass

+Intermediate Electric Bass

+Advanced Electric Bass

Additional Materials +
resource information below Close
Collaborations for
resource information below Close
Submit a video for   
Jazz Bass

This video lesson is available only to members of
Jazz Bass with John Patitucci.

Join Now

information below Close
Course Description

This page contains a transcription of a video lesson from Jazz Bass with John Patitucci. This is only a preview of what you get when you take Jazz Bass Lessons at ArtistWorks. The transcription is only one of the valuable tools we provide our online members. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

CLICK HERE for full access.
Now, I'd like to talk
about major scales in a closed position.
This is great because we are able
to take one fingering and
play a whole bunch of scales
with the same fingering.
So we don't have to keep
learning new fingerings.
This closed position, we'll start on B,
cause on the A string B.
When we named our positions from
the G string, this is A position.
And we started on B on the A string.
And we're gonna use the first finger.
We're gonna go
on B,
four on C sharp.
Now see there's a little bit of a,
there's a slight shift
So that's B, C-sharp, a little slide for
that D-sharp, and
then use one on E, four on F-sharp,
one on G-sharp,
one on A-sharp, and one on B.
Now let's go up a half step
and do the same thing.
That's one, four, one,
one, four, one, two, four.
So that's C with one, let's check these.
Remember to check
with open strings
See I was very careful to check each
time I could with an open string.
So that's one on C, four on D,
one on E, one on F, four on G,
one on E, two on B, and four on C.
Now you have a fingering
that will work for B, C,
D-flat, D, E-flat, E.
I'm gonna show you, as we get up the neck,
we move up the neck a little bit more,
the notes get closer together.
And it's also around E, I would say.
[SOUND] You can also
sometimes use an alternate
fingering a little bit for this.
[SOUND] It's a slight change on one of the
notes that you might find useful as well,
and easy.
It's almost like up here you can almost
finger it like an electric bass.
And those get closer together.
So we have for the E major scale,
we have two, four or one, four.
Say one, four,
then one,
then you can use two.
So that's one on E natural,
two on F-sharp.
G-sharp is one,
you can try the A with two.
Four on B.
C-sharp, one.
D-sharp, two.
Four on E.
So, once you get up here, you can use that
same fingering for F and F-sharp, as well.
The notes get a little closer together.
So remember, do it really slowly and make
sure that you have your hand lined up.
In fact, I'm gonna do a slight
review now starting from
Remember we went up to D natural before
in our positions on the G string.
So we had C position, which is C
D-flat and C
Just to show you how
they get closer together.
Now C sharp position.
Is C-sharp, D, E-flat or D-sharp.
And D, D position, D,
E-flat, E natural.
It's important that you have this whole
whole step, here from D to E,
broken up into these little
three notes that are half steps.
And they have to be equal.
So we slide up to E-flat position now.
We have E-flat, E natural.
And there's F.
See how my hand's a little closer together
now than it was before, isn't it?
And it's also,
if you wanna let the bass fall back to you
a little bit as we go up the instrument,
so that if you get comfortable, make sure
you're standing with both feet planted.
Now, here's E position.
Make sure that F-sharp
doesn't get too flat or sharp.
That's a better F-sharp.
Make sure sometimes,
you don't use any vibrato when you're
doing these scales, so
you make sure you hit the note dead on.
Then you go up to F position.
So you make
sure that F is
not too sharp.
It's easy to be sharp.
Makes a nice little tune.
Now the last one before thumb position,
we're not gonna do thumb position
just yet, is F-sharp position.
You could do it like this
One an F-sharp
Open D
G natural with your second
finger you play open A and then
Open E with a G-sharp to tune it up
Little progression.
So that shows you
the positions with the way
I like to name them.
I just name them by the letter.
There are other methods.
You have the traditional methods.
If you studied classical music, we have
some Mandel or Francois Rabbath method.
Everybody has their own way of doing it.
I like to keep them simple, and
just do it by the letter name, instead
of confusing numbers and everything.
And then we'll do the thumb
position a different way as well.
We've done that closed fingering,
all the way up the neck.
And I believe we showed you the E.
And the fingering.
Then we could do one, four.
One, two, four.
One, three, four.
And F was the same.
Now, the last ones
I'm gonna show you are G.
The G scale up here.
That you can do one, three.
One, two, three.
One, two.
One, two, three.
So you have, one, three.
One, two, three.
One, two, three.
You can also do that for A flat.
Make sure that we
don't get too high on that.
And make sure our hand is.
See, I'm trying to keep a straight
line and don't have the thing laying
on the instrument, and
don't break the blood flow of your wrist.
So, a little caution
about using this tight
of position for the G and the A flat.
Sometimes what I'll do for sound.
That's the other thing I
really wanna impress upon you.
When you think about fingerings,
you have to choose the fingering that
gives you the appropriate sound you're
going for, in the particular passage.
Sometimes close positions are good for
fast things.
Because they allow us to go
across the bass like this
as opposed to, way up and
down, like vertically.
So, we're going like this.
That's okay.
When you play higher up a string,
it gets a little darker sounding and
if you're playing quickly,
that's all right?
But, if you have to play
something that's slow moving,
you don't wanna be in this position
where the bass is a little bit tighter.
There's a little more tension and some
basses, they really choke off in here.
So these are, I'm just showing this G and
the A flat fingering to be thorough.
A lot of times, to tell you the truth,
I will go a different way for sound.
I'll try to lengthen
the string as much as I can.
In other words I might play that G scale,
here listen to the difference
in sound if I do this.
It's got a sound.
If I do it this way though,
if I do it here.
It's more open sounding,
because we have a longer string length.
So for now, I think that's enough to know.
Practice, your scales with that
closed fingering and get comfortable.
And get picky with
yourself when you do it.
Sometimes turn on the tuner,
and see where you go.
You'll find out your
tendencies with notes.
Sometimes people play the note
that we call the leading tone,
the 7th note right before the octave,
like if we do D.
Sometimes we play that too high,
we've gotta watch it.
Sometimes it's too flat.
Observe that,
by sometimes playing your scales
into a tuner, it'll help you.
Okay, so now you should have that
closed position fingering together.
You start on the B, you go C,
you go all the way up chromatically.
To F sharp and then at G.
You go to that smaller fingering
with the one, three, one, two,
three, one, two, three.
And then you'll have a really good basis,
your closed position majors all the way
up until you hit thumb position.
So now, I'd like to roll
through these in sequence, so
you get the feeling of the flow of them,
and what the fingers look like and
sound like, and again,
try not to use vibrato.