7 Patterns You Can Use For Incredible Bass Lines!

The bass is a pattern instrument.

Learn one pattern once and you can transfer it with ease to different parts of the neck. All patterns, if you stop to think about it, are scales or chord tones - the life blood of bass playing!

So this lesson will show you seven really common shapes for bass guitar.

Scroll down for the PDF and the backing track.

Pop Bass Guitar Chord Progression

Here are the chords for this piece of music.

CMaj7/ FMaj7/ CMaj7/ FMaj7

Am7/ Dm7/ Am7/ Em7

FMaj7/ Am7/ FMaj7/ Am7

A5 G5/ F5 / A5 G5/ F5 //

7 Patterns You Can Use For Bass Playing

The PDF is below but here are the patterns and where you can use them.

1. Root - 5th - Major 7th - Octave

r5M78 bass guitar

2. Minor Pentatonic

  • Use this over any minor chord.
Minor Pentatonic Bass Pattern

3. Major Pentatonic

  • Use this over any major chord (including dominant seventh chords).
Major Pentatonic Bass Pattern

4. Root - 5th - b7 - Octave

  • Use this over any minor chord or dominant 7 chord.
r 5 b7 8 bass guitar

5. Root - 5th - Octave

  • Super simple! You can use this on almost anything and it will work on all chords of the piece used for this lesson. It won't work on diminished or augmented chords (those have a b5 and #5 respectively).
r 5 8 bass guitar

6. Root - 5th - 9

  • This is a lovely sounding set of notes you can use most chords. Again, just not diminished, augmented or the iii chord in a major key (that's where the Phrygian mode lies and that contains a b9). Here's a lesson if you want to learn more about intervals.
r 5 9 bass guitar

7. All the pentatonic shapes

  • Don't be put off by this! It's literally only five different notes (hence pentatonic) repeated up and down the neck.
Pentatonic shapes for bass

Memorise these shapes and practise using them over the chord progression and backing track.

Now learn those shapes well and get cracking making some bass lines up! Also, listen out for them out in the wild in your favourite bass lines.

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