Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Learn To Read Bass Notes: The Bass Clef

Learning to read notes is not as difficult as you may think; it merely takes repetition of exercises. Reading notes is useful when studying bass riffs and exercises.

Here is the bass clef with the bass notes that are playable on a four string bass guitar or upright bass. The first two notes, low C and low D, are not playable on a four string bass, but I put them in just for theory's sake.

NOTE: Read from the bottom of the staff first. The first space note is A, followed by C, E and G (remember "All Cows Eat Grass").  Read the line notes from bottom to top also; the first line on the staff is G, followed by B, D, F and A ("Good Boys Do Fine Always").


  1. i recently started playing bass for orchestra in middle school but im having a hard time learning the notes and how many finger for that note i know the d scale but thts mainly it...any tips?

  2. There is a series of great books on learning to read notes. There are three books, and they come with CD's to play along to. They are called "Essential Elements 2000" and you can order them from Here's a link for you:

  3. ummm is this the bas guitar staff???

    1. Yes, it is the bass guitar staff, but also the staff for a regular string bass.

    2. I'm in high school year 7 and these books called 'Essential Elements 2000" really helped me. I know that they are also used for violins, violas, cellos and double bass' as my class was selected to play string instruments. I also have heard that they are used for other instruments just not which ones exactly. I recommend the use of these books.

  4. The bass clef page with the notes helped me so much THANK YOU :D

  5. Great Resource Thank you

  6. This helped me out a lot, I appreciate it.

  7. Great Help, Thanks

  8. Always appreciate that you can search for something (like the bass scale) and someone has put that information out there for you.

  9. im playing bass guitar for 40yrs! started on old acoustic guitar at 7 self taught...
    inherited from my beatnick 57.played on studio,live with endless punk/blues rock bands..johnny thunders,uk subs. i can read music..problem...try
    to play while reading! i cant play on top of old smokey!
    my tip i read ,reread..write in my own short hand.*TIP* i started playing bass like
    a 6 string guitar "melody"! Wrong!! BASS IS A RHYTHM INSTRUMENT.
    bassist should be seamless with drummer. BAD DRUMMER COULD DESTROY A BAND! I HAD TO RE-educate myself.."Timing! TIMING! get a metronome...
    LISTEN TO WHO YOUR PLAYING WITH! I know guys that could out riff me ...
    but if playing with a band..they suck! 3 piece, 20 piece ..a unit.
    my suggestion is get your basic technique flawless; every note wrong,buzzing, COST YOU $5.00! learn to use pick & fingers..I suggest begineers use pick: every note must be perfect..UP/DOWN,UP/DOWN!
    PLAYING REAL FAST COMES WITH TIME...practice! FASTER I PLAY THE LIGHTER I PLUCK THE STRINGS! i see begineers,faster song...they start beating,pulling the strings! Aggressive playing is not beating the instrument!
    i use ampeg svts,accu-groove twin stack,david eden valve tech 400watt tube amp,ampeg 70''s monster reworked tube/solid state hybrid.
    learn every note in i call 1rst position.first 4 frets from along with a song thats
    simple. learn your basic bass bottom,dont try
    to copy Flea,Lemmy,Les Claypool!
    MOST IMPORTANT:get a digital tuner..
    i use one..i can tune by ear.."most annoying thing is when guys get on stage & start tuning..the 60s are over!
    Im always open to learn! Steve Stevens showed some of his secrets last year...he learned from another musician.
    *** talent ya born with..has to be groomed!
    If ya dont have an ear for key,timing,beat..
    maybe you should invest time in something
    else.... I suck in sports except boxing...i dont
    play sports! DONT OVER ANALYZE/Complicate! KNOW YOUR AXE &
    ya amp.. I MEAN KNOW WHAT DOES WHAT. start simple; short 30-32" scale bass,
    great small amps with big sound.
    L.A.M.F. MC~Deville

  10. I cant read this and I'm frustrated because my bass teacher does not know how to read music and I'm just stressed out and I need help I'm practically teaching myself but I can't.