Today, I want to show you a game you can play
that will open up your fretboard, show you how break out of playing the same old shapes
you always play and have a bunch of fun doing it. Hi, I’m Luke from becomeabassist.com and
if you want to be way more comfortable with your entire fretboard and an around more versatile
bass player, then you’ll love the exercise in this video. [Video Intro] This is one of my favorite practice games
ever! I actually learned it from an old upright
bass teacher of mine named Brett Hirst, but it works incredibly well on electric for getting
to know your chords and arpeggios as well as just bare bones knowledge of the fretboard. Speaking of which, if you don’t know the
notes on your fretboard yet, this may be a tiny bit tricky for you since we’re trying
to NOT rely on shapes, but don’t worry. I have the perfect resource for you – it’s
called the Ultimate Guide To Learning Your Bass Fretboard and it’s 100% free. Just click the link below this video, fill
out the form on that page and I’ll send it straight to you. Go through it for a while, then come back
to this lesson and it’ll make a ton more sense for you. Right now though, let’s play a game! There’s 3 levels to this exercise I want
to show you. Level 1 looks like this. All we’re going to do is play one octave
of a chord or arpeggio. So let’s say we picked G major as our chord
and if you’re just starting out, just pick a major or minor chord – we’ll get to the
more complex chords later. The notes in a G major chord are G, B and
D, right? So our first step is finding one octave worth
of G major. For our low G, there’s only really one option;
it’s the 3rd fret on the E-string right here. [plays note] There aren’t any other versions
of that note. Our next note, the B, we can play that one
right here [plays note] on the 2nd fret of the A-string, but we also have this option
up here on the 7th fret of the E-string, so let’s keep this one in our back pocket and
come back to it later. Our next note is a D and we have multiple
options for that one as well. We can just play our open D-string, [plays
note] but you can also play that D on the 5th fret of the A-string [plays note] or the
10th fret on the E-string: 3 places to play that one note. This is where things get a bit more interesting
and it’s exactly why I suggest you’re already at least sort of familiar your fretboard
before doing this exercise. Even just with the first 3 notes, we have
tons of different ways to play this. We could go like this with the open D [plays
example] G-B-D. We could use the D on the A-string [example]
We could use the high D. It might not be super practical, but it’s an option. We could use the higher B and open D [example]
Or the higher B and higher D [example] That’s 5 ways of playing these same 3 notes. Things get really cool when we add that high
G and complete the octave because check this out. We have 4 different places we can play this
G. The open G, 5th fret on the D-string, 10th
fret on the A or 15th fret on the E-string. If we already had 5 ways to play the first
3 notes, now we multiply it by the 4 places we can play this G and now we essentially
have 20 ways to play this really basic chord. That’s a lot of options, right!?! If you were really methodical, you could go
through them one by one, but that’s not much of a game is it? So where does the game part come in? Well you’re going to try to go up this chord
one way and come back down a different way and repeat that as many times as you can. It might look something like this. [example] Start with a simple one. Up one way, down another. Let’s go again etc. Do you see how this works? At every stage, you’re trying to figure
out what’s coming next and how you’re going to get back down to the low root or
work your way to the high one. At this stage, there’s no rush; you can
really take your time and be very precise. You’ll notice that some of the combinations
and ways of playing it don’t really make a ton of sense and that’s OK – you don’t
need to actually use these when you’re playing, but by playing this exercise disguised as
a game, you’re really getting to know your fretboard and whatever chord type you’re
choosing. Alright, so that’s Level 1 – a single octave
of whatever chord you’re working on. Level 2, we’re going to extend that to 2
full octaves. This means the number of ways to play the
same 7 pitches goes up exponentially. I haven’t run the numbers, but you end up
with so many different possible combinations and it’s so fun to play your way into these
situations and figure out how to get yourself out of them, so let’s give it a try. If we’re looking to add a 2nd octave to
our G major chord, that means adding these extra notes. This B, this D and this high G [plays notes]
but you can also play those exact same notes here [plays notes] and also up here [plays
notes] Like I said, this is where it gets really fun! Let’s just jump right in and try to play
this G chord a bunch of different ways. [plays examples] That’s pretty cool – you
only end up shifting one time if you use the open G to hide your shift up to the 2nd octave. [plays more examples] If you went through
absolutely all of the different possible combinations, there would be a bunch that wouldn’t make
any practical sense. Things like [plays example] You’d probably never play something like
that in a real song, but just going through a bunch of these and knowing that they’re
within the realm of possibility is exactly the kind of thing that will help you break
out of the same old shapes you always play. You might try playing something you already
know in a different place on the neck and realize it’s way easier and makes a lot
more sense. And like I said, if your chord has its root
note on the A or D-string, then you’ll have even more ways to play everything. For example, let’s say we had a C minor
chord we were working on. You could start down here on the E-string
[plays chord] but we could also start it down here on the A-string [plays chord]. This means you have the option to start on
one string going up, and when you come back down, end up on the other one – like this
[plays] Gives you a lot more options. OK – so Level 1 was 1 octave, Level 2 was
2 octaves. Can you guess what level 3 is going to be? It’s the exercise covering your entire fretboard
– including going BELOW your low root if it’s possible. Let me show you what I mean. Let’s say you wanted to work on the Db major
triad. Our first octave might be here [plays] Db-F-Ab. Our 2nd octave might be here [plays] but when
we get up here, we actually have more notes in the chord above this root. We can also play this F right here [plays]
We’re going beyond the 2 octaves, right? So let’s come down a different way [plays]
and when we get down here to the low root, we
actually have notes underneath this Db that are in the chord – this Ab and this F. So
if we include those, now we have this monster arpeggio that covers our entire fretboard. If you have a 5 or a 6-string bass, you can
extend this exercise even further, and I’d definitely recommend doing this if you’re
switching from a 4 to a 5 or 6-string – it’ll be super helpful. Let’s try a few more with this Db major
chord. [plays examples] I don’t know about you,
but I find this kind of stuff super fun. So that’s the 3 levels of this game and
they can keep you occupied for literally hours. But if you want to get really fancy, here
are a couple of ways to really stretch yourself. #1 – Instead of just going in a straight line
from the lowest to highest notes, try jumping between notes of the chord. That might sound like this. Let’s say we pick E minor for our chord. Instead of just going up E-G-B-E-G-B-E, do
this. [example] E-B-G-E-B-G-E-B-G etc. It almost sounds like a kind of classical
sonata, right? And you can do this with all the chords you’re
working through. It’s going to push you to think differently
and really know your stuff. Way #2 of stretching yourself is to use more
complex chord types. We just talked about major and minor triads,
but if you want an extra challenge, try 4 note chords like major 7, minor 7 or dominant
7 chords. For example Ab major 7 might sound like this
[plays] If you want something really fun, try augmented triads or fully diminished 7
chords. Both of these – wicked fun. By the way, if you need help with how these
chords are constructed or how they’re played, be sure to download my Chords Cheat Sheet
Pack. You’ll get all the crucial information on
every chord on super helpful one page cheat sheets. Just click the little card up here or the
2nd link underneath this video – you can get it totally free. If you want to, you could also add a metronome
to the mix to try and get yourself thinking faster and faster. That could be really cool, but I’d only
recommend that after you’ve been doing this a while and are already pretty comfortable
with it. To recap though, you learned a really fun
exercise that’s kind of disguised as a game and that you could use it to really master
your fretboard and break out of the same old shapes you always play. Level 1 was a single octave, Level 2 spread
to 2 octaves and Level 3 was playing it across the whole fretboard. Plus you got a few different ideas to stretch
yourself even further. Cheers heaps for hanging out – I really appreciate
it. Hopefully I’ll see you in either the fretboard
guide or the Cheat Sheet Pack, or maybe even both! That’d be awesome. I’m Luke from becomeabassist.com and I’ll
catch you soon.