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How to Play a Two-Octave Minor Arpeggio on the Bass Guitar

Playing the two-octave minor arpeggio on bass guitar is very similar to the two-octave major arpeggio except, of course, for the chord. You can use this pattern to play a minor arpeggio in any key.

When you shift your left hand to play an arpeggio, you always shift it by two frets. To make this task easy, keep your eyes glued to the index finger of your left hand. By watching this finger, you can measure your shift (always two frets) without having to divert your eyes to the note you’re actually playing. This way, your eyes only have to move two frets, even if you’re playing a note four frets above the previous note.

  1. Review the structure of the two-octave minor scale.

    image0.jpg

    This is the structure of all the two-octave minor arpeggios. Be sure to refer back to this structure while you’re playing. (If you happen to be a lefty, please read “right hand” to mean “left hand,” and vice versa.)

  2. Press the index finger of your left hand down on any note on the E string, the thickest string.

    Strike the string with your right hand to sound the note. This note is your root.

    If you want to play an E minor arpeggio, this first note isn't fretted; just play the open E string.

  3. Shift your left hand two frets toward the bridge along the E string. Press your middle finger (now three frets from the previous note) down on the E string.

    Strike the string with your right hand.

    For the E minor arpeggio, this isn't a shift. Just press the E string at the third fret with your middle finger.

  4. Stay in position and move the index finger of your left hand across to the A string.

    Press down with your index finger and strike the string with your right hand.

  5. Stay in position and move your index finger across to the D string.

    Press down with your index finger and strike the string with your right hand. You’re now one octave above the original starting note from Step 2.

  6. Shift your left hand two frets toward the bridge along the D string (aim with your index finger) and press your middle finger down on the D string.

    Strike the string with your right hand.

  7. Stay in position and move your index finger across to the G string.

    Press down with your index finger and strike the string with your right hand.

  8. Shift your left hand two frets toward the bridge along the G string and press your pinkie down on the G string.

    Strike the string with your right hand. You’re now exactly two octaves above the original starting note.

Simply reverse the order and shift toward the nut of the bass to play this arpeggio in descending order.

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