Video 2 – Octave Pattern

The Simplest & Easiest Pattern
You Can Use To Spice Up Your Bass Playing

Intro to Bass Theory | Octave Pattern

Video problems? Try it here.

Click Here To Learn More About
Decoding The Bass Guitar

In the last video we learned that we can look at the fretboard in terms of numbers, and of course numbers lend themselves to patterns very well, so therefore we can also look at the fretboard in terms of patterns.

This video shows you the simplest pattern of all – the octave pattern (it’s basically a right angle if you’re a visual learner). You can use it anywhere on the bass fretboard, and you’ll get an octave.

The best part about using an octave to spice up your playing is that you really, absolutely, categorically, cannot go wrong. Think about it – you’re playing exactly the same note!

This is just one of the patterns that I teach in Decoding the Bass Guitar. It is simple, but powerful… and there are many others like it. Even if you already knew this pattern, I guarantee there are things in the full lesson that will be new to you. In the lesson you will learn how to take this concept much, much further, and apply it to different areas of your bass playing.

Questions or Comments? Leave one below.

Click Here To Learn More About
Decoding The Bass Guitar

23 Responses to Video 2 – Octave Pattern
  1. Joe Dean
    June 28, 2010 | 9:37 am

    Jonathan,
    Good video tip. I have that down and have used this occasionally. I was on vacation this past weekend and missed your sale… No problem I still will plan to purchase as I am impressed with your presentation. You seem very comfortable on screen. Please keep up the great work. I am going to try to be more responsive to my email adddrss as I am truly beginning to enjoy visiting your site and emails.
    God Bless,
    Joe Dean

  2. William
    June 29, 2010 | 7:08 pm

    Jonathan (Sorry, last time I called you John):

    Thank you for the simplest explanation of the 2, 2 octave position. As you said, this could be easily used to add some interest to the boredest bass line.

  3. Wayne
    June 30, 2010 | 5:33 pm

    Hey Joe I know about octaves scales chord construction and that’s it. I play the guitar but have a bass and want to help youth at risk which I love doing. I love your style eazy free lean back style of teaching go for it. Hope I can learn fron you.
    Wayne

  4. Ron Towle
    June 30, 2010 | 8:20 pm

    Hi J-I learned this on guitar a long time ago,but you’re right,a great tip for beginners!

  5. Bill Coleman
    July 2, 2010 | 2:25 pm

    cool tip one of the first I learned from a fellow bass player he described it as 2down2over way cool keep em coming

  6. Johnny Brock
    August 7, 2010 | 9:18 pm

    Hey, great tip. I too learned this from the guy who got me started in the beginning, (2-down / 2-over). It helps a lot when trying to learn the notes on the B-string of a 5. One can base the position off of the A-string, (2-up / 2-back). Thanks and keep up the good work. jb

  7. mario preciado
    November 5, 2010 | 7:14 am

    I play for a Baptist Church, base. And I have a few “box”
    configurations, that I can flip select as I’m playing, and keep
    the timing/melody interesting, but I am aware of what beautiful
    hearing can be by listening to the professionals and I know I
    need your approach to getting better. In Dec. I’ll stop being
    a muncher and get things right with you. Thanks for what your
    faith is doing Good, God, Bless You. mario

  8. Matt
    January 10, 2011 | 10:27 pm

    I am a regular guitar player but believe as you mentioned that having an understanding of the bass will help my guitar playing as well. It appears to be working, the theory you have taught me has opened up a lot of ideas and has really changed the way I play.
    This is very valuable information!

  9. Patrick James McKenna
    September 25, 2011 | 10:05 pm

    As an active and experienced bassist, I can so easily recommend your methods, which are easy to follow approach and productive.
    Your material is chock full of usefull information.

    The only possible flaw is that while playing basic riffs off of the major chords, you repeatedly use the index finger for the root and the ring finger for the octave. This could lead the novice bassist to employ such bad practices as refraining from the use of the pinky finger.

    Whether giving an instruction to a student or excahnging ideas with other musicians, I strongly emphasize the importance of proper fingering and the use of all four fingers of the left hand of the right-handed student (and the right hand for the left-handed student).

    One of the most pathetic sights on the music scene is that of a “three-fingered wonder” who thinks that improper technique is an acceptable shortcut to becoming a bassplayer. (I would never refer to such an individual as a “bassist.”)

    • Jonathan
      September 26, 2011 | 7:53 am

      Hi Patrick,

      Yeah, that’s a good point – when playing the major scale the 8 should be played with the pinky. Best practice is of course 1 finger per fret… and on the major scale, root note is on the middle finger.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

  10. ted woodcock
    September 30, 2011 | 2:46 am

    Hi Jonathon,i purchased your bass dvd the other day just to have it,i do not own a bass guitar yet but i am impressed with your style of teaching,i have learned a lot from your one,four,five,and your scale pattern courses,and reasonably priced i might add.What would you suggest for a beginners bass guitar,i love electric(who doesn’t)but i would also like to play some bass.Thanks…

    • Patrick James McKenna
      September 30, 2011 | 8:04 am

      The larger music stores, such as Guitar Center and George’s, have employees who are active professional musicians.
      I suggest that you check out a music store and simply ask to speak with an employee who is a bassist.
      If you are fortunate enough to find a bassist and really knows what he or she is talking about, you’re off for a great start.
      Here’s a warning: a lousy musician, who manages to impress you, could put you on the wrong road, which is littered with failure.
      Good luck!

    • Jonathan
      September 30, 2011 | 10:14 am

      Hey Ted,

      Well I personally lean HEAVILY towards the 5 string, so that’s something you might want to consider if you’re just getting going. You can often save some bucks and get a better quality instrument if you buy used, however downside is you have to have a bit more of an idea what you’re looking at.

      If you’re thinking of going new, then Patrick’s advice is good – talk to the sales guys / musicians and pick their brains, but also beware the guys that play like nuts to impress you on an instrument – its the oldest trick in the guitar sales book :) It ALWAYS sounds different when you get home and plug it in for yourself.

  11. ted woodcock
    September 30, 2011 | 12:07 pm

    Thanks guys,much appreciated…

  12. David Woods
    October 3, 2011 | 10:23 am

    Hi Jonathan, I purchased yourbass Guitar theory course and have to say it has opened up many avenues that were closed to me.
    Easy to understand information.

    Ted; I can recommend Yamaha basses, well built, well balanced good sounds, well priced and will last you for years as they are very playable. Go for it, you’ll love it.

    Many thanks Jonathan.

  13. Edwin Robinson
    October 11, 2011 | 2:10 pm

    Great lessons and information for beginners. The video covering the scale positions is great for those who’ve never stopped to learn about scales/notes and their positions within a given key.

  14. Patrick James McKenna
    October 12, 2011 | 8:36 am

    For those who want to expand their playing skills (regardless of their current playing level), the use of octaves can provide the ticket.
    This can be as simple as picking any run, pattern or scale (i.e., Major, Melodic Minor, Harmonic Minor, etc.), then pick some (not all) of the notes and play those notes an octave higher.
    For example, we’ll start with the C major scale (which we already know):
    C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C
    Now let’s throw in some octaves:
    High C, D, E, F, G, low A and low B (which can be played in the 6th position without any shifting).
    Now let’s get ambitious and break out of our comfort zone.
    C, high D, E, high F, G, high A, B and high C
    or we can try:
    High C, D, E, high F, high G, A, B and C
    The objectives of this sort of practice are: enhanced familiarity with the fretboard, improved fingering dexterity and improved abity to reach across the strings and building strength in the hands.
    Before we become ambitious, make sure that the proper and correct playing techniques are being used.
    After trying this, come up with your own ideas and keep pushing the envelope…
    Have fun and be great!

  15. John Bolton
    December 17, 2011 | 10:41 am

    Well Jonathan, have always Loved the sound and feel of the bass! After doing a couple of yrs worth of research to actually decide what I want, I’ve decided to go with the simple route and start with the 4 string! I’m goona go with an inexpensive stater combo, to get going and get used to it and practice as often as I can, and as I do alot of traveling for work can take it with and if something happens on the road than it won’t kill me! But I will be ordering a few of your dvd’s to have a good path to follow, I’ve never played before and this going to be my Christmas present this year!!

  16. Ken
    January 3, 2012 | 6:04 pm

    Hi Johnathon, I agree using the octave notes have helped me when I was a youg player way back in the seventies. I remember jamming with a few guys (a couple went on to be big names around the world) and using the octaves it gave the lead guitarist a little more room to really go wild. Octives are a great addition to anyones arsonal.

  17. Carl Harlan
    January 19, 2012 | 3:38 pm

    I am a beginner bass player and after listening and watching your Decoding the Bass Guitar video, I am still not clear on how the intervals change after you move on to a new chord with a different root note. Are you still selecting notes from within the original root note (Key) pattern or is there a new pattern based on the new chord root note?

    • Jonathan
      January 19, 2012 | 4:03 pm

      Hi Carl, you can approach it either way. Either you can look at it as creating a whole new scale pattern off the new root – major or minor, depending on the chord, OR you can simply stay within the original scale pattern the whole time. The choice is yours…

  18. Joseph Jacobs
    March 2, 2014 | 1:20 pm

    Hello Jonathan:
    Can you or someone put that G scale pattern for bass in tab or direct me to a picture of the pattern. You know that one pattern that can be used all around the bass neck. You showed it in one of your video clips but I couldn’t catch it quick enough to jot it down to practice it. Help please, someone.

    Thanks Much!!
    Joe

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?