The key of Db major! I can hear you all groaning now. Just remember it is merely a hiccup away from C major, everything is up one fret. I very rarely see this key but it does happen and therefore is helpful being acquainted. The Db major scale includes the first 5 flats in the order of flats, Bb Eb Ab Db and Gb.
Typically this key/scale is found when playing with various different instruments, especially horns, like for instance in theater, big band or orchestra settings. For those of you unfamiliar with horns, most of them are what we call “transposing instruments”. What this means is when the note C is played on a horn it will not sound the same as C on a bass, guitar, piano and various other non transposing instruments. The Alto and Baritone Saxophones for instance which are Eb transposing instruments, have to play an A in order to match your C. Trumpets, Tenor and Soprano Saxophones and Soprano and Bass Clarinets are some examples of Bb instruments and would need to play a D in order to match the concert pitch of C.
I am including tablature to assist in learning the scale. I have been hearing and actually have always heard much debate on tablature, there are many arguments for and against it. The reasons I use it are primarily because I am not sitting there with you and tab can tell you exactly which frets and position I want you to play in. It compensates temporarily for positions you are not familiar with yet. You have to make the choice yourself whether tab is for you or not. Just know that depending on what type of playing situations you want to find yourself in, you could hinder future employment if you cannot read music. Like I said, it’s your decision to make.
The Db Major Scale ascending and descending in 4th position
Playing in 4th position means your first finger plays the notes on all strings on the 4th fret and each finger after that covers the notes one fret up.
Db major scale in 3rds, ascending and descending
Playing the octave to every scale note descending
I like doing the scale this way as I noticed myself becoming used to always thinking in terms of ascending up from the root. I like breaking myself of habits like that.
Sample bass line using the Db scale
This line is similar to the one used in the R&B hit “Used Ta Be My Girl”.
I hope you enjoyed our Spring Training lesson this week. A new scale to add to your bag of tricks.
Enjoy your BASS!!!