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Key Signatures & The Four String Exercise

InstructorJohn Falstrom
Publisher: Mel Bay Bass Sessions

John has a B.A. in Music from Governors State University in University Park, Illinois, and he has over 30 years experience teaching students to play the bass guitar. John has used the knowledge he has gained from his experience at teaching literally thousands and thousands of students over the years to put together this book EADG 4 in a format that is concise, easy to follow and gets straight to the point of giving the bassist the tools needed to become a great bassist/musician.

Key Signatures

Here's a circle of fifths chart to help you memorize the order of the major and natural minor scales (keys), and the order of the notes that are sharped or flatted in each major and natural minor scale(key):

Major Scales (Keys) C G D A E B F# C#
Number of Sharps   1 2 3 4 5 6 7
New Sharp   F# C# G# D# A# E# B#
Relative Natural
Minor Scales (Keys)
A- E- B- F#- C#- G#- D#- A#-

Major Scales (Keys) F Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb
Number of Flats 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
New Flat Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb Fb
Relative Natural
Minor Scales (Keys)
D- G- C- F- Bb- Eb- Ab-

(Notice the reverse order of the (new) sharps and flats.)
Note: The dash (-) to the right of each relative natural minor scale (key) is a symbol for minor.

Knowing, playing and memorizing the circle of fifths on your bass guitar is an eventual must. Definitely memorize and play a specific root order for all 15 major scales (keys) and all 15 natural minor scales (keys).

The Four String Exercise

  1. Read and play the exercise chart from left to right.
  2. The Numbers indicate the fingers of your fretboard hand.
  3. Stay in position for each finger exercise.
  4. Start each finger exercise on the E string. With the assigned fingers, play the notes in ascending/descending order on all four strings.
  5. Play each finger exercise in all the positions on your bass. (Start in I position and work up the fretboard chromatically. Example: I position, II position, III position, etc.).
  6. Change-up the rhythms with your picking hand to make these four string exercises sound more musical
Note: Keys in Bold are Open Strings

This Unique finger exercise will improve your concentration along with covering any finger combinations that songs, scales, and chords do not give you.

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