0-9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Bass Lesson — Chord/Scale Theory bass tabs

4.7 / 5 (3x)
  Rate this tab:
(submitted by just3boyz)
This tab illustrates how to apply scales over chords.
This theory is known as Chord/Scale theory.
It's a Jazz Concept I learned in school.
Although it is a jazz concept,
It's a very helpful/practical tool to use in all types of music.
This will help you build both bass lines and solo ideas.

*DISCLAIMER — THIS LESSON IS REALLY REALLY REALLY NERDY!!!*

What we are going to do is look at the intervals that make up a chord.

*If you don't know what intervals are, check out my intervals tab.*

The basic idea is that any scale that has those intervals,
will work over that chord.
for example:

Major Chord = 1,3,5

the major scale has the intervals: 1,3,5
it also has: 2,4,6,7
Think of those other four pitches as colors.
as long as a scale contains those chord tones, (notes in the chord)
the scale will work.

There are many other scales that work over a major chord.
let's look at modes of the major scale.
examples:

Lydian: 1,2,3,#4,5,6,7
Mixolydian: 1,2,3,4,5,6,b7

notice how both scales contain: 1,3,5
if there is nothing more specific than _Major,
then either of those scales will work.

Minor Chord = 1,b3,5

any scale with those intervals will work.
let's look at modes of the major scale.
examples:

Natural Minor (Aeolian) = 1,2,b3,4,5,b6,b7
Dorian = 1,2,b3,4,5,6,b7
Phrygian = 1,b2,b3,4,5,b6,b7

notice how all three scales contain: 1,b3,5
if there is nothing more specific than _Minor,
then any of those scales will work.

So now we have a few options for the two most fundamental chords in music.
However, what happens if a chord is more specific?
Let's look at seventh chords:


Major 7 (1,3,5,7)
as long as you play a scale that has those intervals in them,
then the scale will work.
examples:

Lydian: 1,2,3,#4,5,6,7
Major: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

notice how both scales contain: 1,3,5,7
if there is nothing more specific than _Major 7,
then either of those scales will work.
However, if there were other colors written,
then you would need to be more spcific
example:

_Major 7(#4) = Lydian

(the major scales doesn't have #4)


Minor 7 (1,b3,5,b7)
as long as you play a scale that has those intervals in them,
then the scale will work.
examples:

Natural Minor (Aeolian) = 1,2,b3,4,5,b6,b7
Dorian = 1,2,b3,4,5,6,b7
Phrygian = 1,b2,b3,4,5,b6,b7

notice how all three scales contain: 1,b3,5,b7
if there is nothing more specific than _Minor 7,
then any of those scales will work.
However, if there were other colors written,
then you would need to be more spcific
example:

_Minor 7(2/6) = Dorian

(Aeolian doesn't have 6, and phrygian doesn't have 6 or 2)


Dominant 7 (1,3,5,b7)
Here's where things can get a little funky.
Dominant chords are naturally tense.
because of this you "get away" with alot of notes that don't really "fit."
Here are a couple of cool scales that work over Dominant 7 chords.

Mixolydian = 1,2,3,4,5,6b7
Lydian Dominant = 1,2,3,#4,5,6b7
Phrygian Dominant = 1,b2,3,4,5,b6,b7

notice how all three scales contain: 1,3,5,b7
if there is nothing more specific than _Dominant 7,
then any of those scales will work.
However, if there were other colors written,
then you would need to be more spcific
example:

_Dominant 7(sus4/6) = Mixolydian

(Lydian Dom doesn't have 4, and Phrygian Dom doesn't have 6)




Here is a list of a variaty of scales that can be used.

Modes of the Major Scale:

1) Ionian (Major Scale) = 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2) Dorian = 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7
3) Phrygian = 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
4) Lydian = 1 2 3 #4 5 6 7
5) Mixolydian = 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7
6) Aeolian (Natural Minor) = 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
7) Locrian = 1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7

(I find each of these scales to be very practicle)

Modes of the Melodic Minor Scale:

1) Melodic Minor = 1 2 b3 4 5 6 7
2) Dorian (flat 2) = 1 b2 b3 4 5 6 b7
3) Lydian Augmented = 1 2 3 #4 #5 6 7
4) Lydian Dominant = 1 2 3 #4 5 6 b7
5) Aeolian Dominant = 1 2 3 4 5 b6 b7
6) Locrian (natural 2) = 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
7) Altered Scale = 1 b2 #2 3 b5 b6 b7

(I find Melodic Minor, Lydian Dominant and Altered to be the most practicle)
(The others for very specific chord voicings)

Modes of Harmonic Minor:

1) Harmonic Minor = 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 7
2) Locrian (natural 6) = 1 b2 b3 4 b5 6 b7
3) Ionian (sharp 5) = 1 2 3 4 #5 6 7
4) Dorian (Sharp 4) = 1 2 b3 #4 5 6 b7
5) Phrygian Dominant = 1 b2 3 4 5 b6 b7
6) Lydian (Sharp 2) = 1 #2 3 #4 5 6 7
7) ???????????????? = 1 b2 b3 3 b5 b6 6

(I find harmonic minor and phrygian dominant to be the most practicle)
(The others for very specific chord voicings that are very odd)
(the scales themselves could be cool for riffs though)

Pentatonic Scales:

Major Pentatonic = 1 2 3 5 6
Minor Pentatonic = 1 b3 4 5 b7
Diminished Pentonic = 1 b3 4 b5 b7

Blues Scale: 1 b3 4 #4/b5 b7

Symetrical Scales:

Half Whole = 1 b2 #2 3 #4 5 6 b7
Whole Half = 1 2 b3 4 b5 b6 6 7
Whole Tone = 1 2 3 #4 #5/b6 b7

(There are many other scales, these scales listed here will cover most chords)


Now, I'll list out a variaty of Chords with Scales that work over it.

Major = Major Scale (Ionian)/ Lydian/ Mixolydian/ Major Pentatonic
Major 7 = Major Scale (Ionian)/ Lydian/ Major Pentatonic
Major 6 = Major Scale (Ionian)/ Lydian/ Major Pentatonic
Maj/add 9 = Major Scale (Ionian)/ Lydian/ Major Pentatonic
Major 6/9 = Major Scale (Ionian)/ Lydian/ Major Pentatonic
Maj 7(#11) = Lydian

Minor = Natural Minor (Aeolian)/ Phrygian/ Dorian
Minor 7 = Natural Minor (Aeolian)/ Phrygian/ Dorian
Minor 6/9 = Dorian
Minor 11 = Natural Minor (Aeolian)/ Phrygian/ Dorian
Minor (b6) = Natural Minor (Aeolian)/ Phrygian
Minor (b9) = Phrygian
Min/Maj7 = Melodic Minor/ Harmonic Minor

7 = Mixolydian/ Phrygian Dom / Lydian Dom
7sus4 = Mixolydian
7 (#11) = Lydian Dom
7 (b6/b9) = Phrygian Dom
7#5 = Whole Tone/ Phrygian Dom

Diminised = Locrian/ Whole Half/ Diminished Pentatonic/ Locrian (nat. 6)
Minor7(b5) = Locrian/ Diminished Pentatonic/ Locrian (nat. 6)
Dim7 = Whole Half

Augmented = Whole Tone
Maj 7(#5) = Lydian Augmented

I know this is very dense and really mathy,
but if you can wrap your head around this,
it will make any chord you ever play over managable.

please give me constructive criticism.

—Connor Larkin
Tablature player for this song:

Comments

This is pure gold! Right here! Nothing extra, just pure fun. Beed working on the modes lately, this lesson is just what is needed. Short and full of info. Hats off and thanks again, just3boyz!
thanks dude! i'm glad you found this helpful!

Post a comment