John McCarthy on Being An Intermediate Bass Guitarist

Let’s see if you have what it takes to be called an “Intermediate Level Bassist.” The following list I put together is a not genre specific and there may be a few things that should be added or taken out if you specialize in one specific style of music. I feel that an intermediate level bassist should be playing for at least one year to be able to gain the knowledge and feel needed to be this level. If there are a few things you find you are lacking but you still consider yourself at the level I suggest that you work quickly to attain this knowledge.

Minor pentatonic scales – You should have these memorized and be able to play them across the neck in all keys.

Major & minor Scales – All seven scale positions in all keys and a clear understanding of the relative Major and minor Scale relationship.

Scale Patterns – Be able to play these scales in patterns of 2’s, 3’s and 4’s forwards and backwards

Hammer ons and pull offs – you should be proficient with these techniques and be able to use them within the scales listed above.

Major, minor and Dominant Seventh Chord Arpeggios – you should know three major, three minor and three Dominant Seventh versions.

Slapping and Popping – You do not need to be Freekbass or Flea at this point, but you should have a firm grasp of this technique and be able to execute on all of your strings.

Rhythm Patterns – By now you should be comfortable with eighth note, sixteenth note, Swing eighths and triplet syncopations. Your hand is relaxed and your motions are smooth and articulate.

Key signatures of all 15 keys – You should know the sharps and flats in every key. This will give you the knowledge to start writing songs and creating progressions.

Chord formulas for major, minor, major 7th and minor 7th chords – These formulas can be used on all the 15 keys to learn the notes that make these chords, now you will be able to create your own voicing and fingerings.

The Chromatic scale – The 12 notes that make up all music KNOW THEM COLD! Starting on any note.

Know the names of the notes on the neck – Be able to play any note on the neck and say its name instantly

Songs – you should know how to play at least 10 of your favorite songs.

As you progress and start working on the content on The Rock House website you will be on your way to being an “Advanced Level Bassist!”

Now let’s hear some jamming!!!

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