More basslines with the pentatonic scale

Groove Backpack #10 – Building basslines with the pentatonic scale

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One of the first scales you learn when diving into theory is the pentatonic scale. It is a powerful five note scale that is used in numerous musical styles. But how do you make basslines with the pentatonic scale? In this article I will give you a few examples.

If you want to read more about my philosophy behind writing these basslines, be sure to check out “How to write better basslines: The 4 ingredients“. Also be sure to check out Create your own basslines: Adding to the root notes to evolve your bass line building by learning four different concepts you can apply.

What are the pentatonic scales?

Shapes of the Pentatonic Scales

There are two pentatonic scales which both have their own chord type. You have the minor pentatonic scale, which you play over a minor chord, and you have the major pentatonic scale. Play this scale over a major chord.

I have written a lengthy article about the pentatonic scales. If you are not familliar with them, want to learn what they are, how you can play them and how you can use them in a bassline, check it out. Using the pentatonic scales for great basslines

The groove

If you’ve been following this website for a while, your might realize I have a different bass. This one is an Ibanez Talman shortscale bass. I’ve been playing it for a while now and it is a really fun little shortscale bass. For a bass under 200 dollars the quality is amazing. Check them out on Amazon if you are interested.

The composition and the harmony

If you check out the video, you realize there are two different parts to this composition. We start off with the A section which has two bars of E minor followed by two bars of C major. Notice that I use the E minor pentatonic scale in the first two bars. As soon as the chord switches in the third bar, I start using the C major pentatonic. I play the pentatonic scales above, and below the root. So be sure to figure out how you can extend the pentatonic scales over multiple octaves.

The second part of the composition has three chords every two bars, namely F major, G major and A minor. Note that on the F and G chords I mainly play the root note and the third. On the A chord I use different notes from the minor pentatonic.

Download the transcription and more grooves

If you want to download the whole transcription as a pdf, you can click here.

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I hope you found this article helpful! Let me know in the comments what your thoughts are and if you have any questions or suggestions.

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