Warm-Up Excercises To Learn The Fretboard

A few excercises I do to help learn neck, up and down.

Ultimate Guitar
As with my first lesson, my excercise is a hybrid of what I've found on the internet, as well as of my own invention. Realizing to become a better player, not to mention an "accomplished" player, I needed to learn all the notes on my instrument, top to bottom. With a 20 fret/4 string bass, that can be a lot of notes! One excercise I adapted is a hybrid of the "Note Finder." I begin with the open "E", and locate all the other "E's" on all strings. I then move to "F," and continue through "D." As you play each note, I think it helps if you say aloud the note. Also, repeat the process back down the neck to the starting note. The original excercise also called for finding all chromatic notes. You can, of course, do this, too. However, I felt if I learned where all the natural notes are, surely I could find a #'d or b'd note.; ) Another excercise I came up with involves using the moveable major scale pattern. If you aren't familiar with it, here it is:
G -2--4-5---
D -2-3--5---
A ---3--5---
E ----------
This is the "C Major" scale, and where I begin. This is the only major scale with all natural notes (i.e., no sharps/flats). Play the scale up and down, and say aloud each note. From there, I play the "D Major" scale, and say the notes, up and down. (To play the D major scale, simply slide the pattern up the neck (2 frets) and begin on the "D" (3rd string, 5th fret. Hence the name, "moveable pattern.") I play up to the "F Major" scale (starting on the 3rd string), and then drop the pattern to the 4th string for "G" through "C." I don't spend a ton of time on these, but I do use them a combination warm-up/learning tool. If you're familiar with the various scale modes, for variation, you can do the same excercise with different modes. If you aren't familiar with modes, congratulate yourself because by learning the above pattern, you just learned one of the seven...the Ionian Mode! The thing I like about these excercises, as opposed to simply playing chromatically up the string, is that you not only learn the notes, but you learn where they are relative to each other. Hope this helps!

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    Hi , yes sir I can dig it. Except I got a thousand questions. For instance. When you move the major scale to D. It has sharps and flats in it. Now were getting into the circle of fifths. Also it does me no good to practice a 5,6,or 7, note pattern in one spot.I need to know the Major scale all the way up and down the neck.Now were talking possitions? So as a warmup you are either way past me or this isnt a warmup at all.Its music theory. Which now brings us to Modes.What good is a mode.At one time I knew all 7.It did me no good whatsoever,as no one ever said what the heck good there sposed to be for.lol. Now scales I can dig it but modes?Im lost. ok well Im not trying to critisize.Believe me.But this just looks like a can of worms to me.Makes me want to go back to the drawing board so to speak.Anyway thanks and apreciate the contribution.
    I'm a pianist who must learn to double on bass for a future gig. I've had a single lesson from the bassist who set me up on my bass guitar and just one lesson showed me fingering is just as important on bass as it is on piano.
    Far more useful to help yourself learn where the notes are in my opinion is to play not using tab but using standard notation or chord sheets. Start at the bottom of the neck, take a chord sheet for a SONG YOU DON'T ALREADY KNOW HOW TO PLAY and improvise along. Don't worry if you don't know chords or scales, they will come later - you can improvise simply by playing the root notes and choosing an appropriate rhythm. This should get you used to finding the root notes of chords at the bottom of the neck. Then move it up. Try the same exercise, but playing only notes that are between the 7th fret and the 12th fret. This is far more useful way (and FUN) way to get familiar with the notes on the fretboard - you're forced to find the notes while playing a song. Once you're familiar with most of the notes, chords and how to play the major scale from many positions, then you can get niggly with the circle of fifths and stuff.
    Wow...I didn't realize there were this many comments on this! To finger a major scale, use your middle finger on the root...and yes, you'll have to use your pinky. In the diagram, place your middle finger on the C (3rd fret, A string) and use one finger-per-fret. Since I wrote this, I've drastically increased my warm-up routine...it now takes me about an hour. In addition to stretching, I now play about 240 scales to warm-up. I still start at C, and work backwards around the Circle of 5ths. I play all 7 modes, arpeggios, and throw in the Major/Minor Pentatonic and Blues Scales...each scale at 2 positions on the neck. (Then, I start to actually practice...) Having said all that, this particular excercise was written with a total beginner in mind. In my opinion, learning major/minor scale patterns, as well as arpeggios, does a TON of good to help learn the finger board and help ingrain the patterns.