Bass Notes

Bass guitar notes and their location can be tricky without the necessary information. If you are struggling to get to grips with mastering fretboard then this article is for you. With so many different bass guitar notes it’s easy to feel overwhelmed…

If getting your head round the different notes is giving you problems it’s not your fault. You just haven’t had the correct information yet. Keep reading this article and you will have a much better understanding of the whole thing.

Below is a diagram with the all the bass guitar fretboard notes included. You will see on the far left are the notes of the open strings. These are the names given to the bass guitar strings when you play them without fretting any notes. They are E, A, D and G. The E string is the thickest of your bass strings and the G the thinnest.

Now that we know the names of the open strings there is one more thing that we need to know to full grasp the notes on bass guitar fretboard… the Musical Alphabet.

The musical alphabet on bass guitar is constructed from the first seven letters of the alphabet. After you get to G you start back at A again.

So we have:

A, B, C, D, E, F, G and then A again.

Now the next thing I’m going to share with you might sound complicated but please don’t panic.

In between some of the notes and ‘Sharps’ (Represented by the # symbol) and ‘flats’ (Represented by b symbol)

So if you see a C# it is known as a “C Sharp”
If you see and Db its name is a “D flat”

Ok now don’t let this scare you. You may have heard of these terms before.

Ok, so with the musical alphabet some notes has sharps, some have flats and some don’t.

Here is the musical alphabet in full:

A, A#/Bb, B, C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab, A

As you will see some notes have two names for example an A# is also a Bb. They are the exact name fret on your bass guitar.

Now we need to spend some time getting familiar with the musical alphabet. For this we are going to apply it to our bass guitar.

Ok now pick up your bass and follow along. (Make sure your bass in is tune)

So first play your open A string (The 2nd thickest)

Now if you fret the first fret of the A string with your index finger you have an A#/Bb. Next play the second fret of the A string you have a B, Third fret a C.

Each fret you move down you simply move one step along the musical alphabet. Fourth fret C#/Db, fifth fret D and so on. When you get to A on the Twelfth remember to start over again.

This works on the other three of your bass guitar strings too. You simply start on the name of the open string and each fret down is the next step in the musical alphabet. Just remember when you get to G#/Ab to go back to A again.


Learning the bass guitar notes is something every bass play should do. Just spend a few minutes each day getting to know your bass guitar fretboard notes and it won’t be long until you have them memorized. I hope this has helped.

Here's to your bass playing success!!

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