Play other natural minor scales and some major scales. Just start on different notes. Move all over the fret board as you begin each scale on a new note. Name the scale in your mind as you play. This is a good basic warm up.
Note: often the 6th position note in the major scale is not flatted in some minor scales - that is, while playing along with other musicians' minor chords which do not flat the major 6th.
Play a bunch of minor scales with the unflatted 6th in them. Try to discover a new, comfortable fingering sequence.
These scales seem deceptively simple but, please, fiddle around with them for a while. Even though they vary by only a note or two these particular tiny variations are important. Play each of these scales one after another as fast as you can right now and LISTEN. Hear how different they sound? This is good ear training.
Definition: variation: a transformation of a melody by melodic, harmonic, contrapuntal and/or rhythmic changes.
Definition: contrapuntal: counterpoint - point against point, that is, note against note. Adding one or more parts to a given part. The art of combining melodies.
These two scales, the Major and the Minor, are the most important for you to understand at this time. They are the building blocks of 95 to 98 percent of all the rock music that you will play.
Here's a TAB chart of the A melodic minor scale (the rock minor).
The only difference between the natural minor' scale and the melodic minor' or rock minor' scale is that the 6th position is played with the ring finger in the melodic minor instead of the middle finger as in the natural minor' scale. The 6th position is moved up a fret or a half-step. This may not seem like very much but it changes the flavor' and the entire sound' of the scale. In future Days' you'll also discover that these two scales, although only slightly different, are used in forming quite different chords and harmonies.
Why don't you print out some of the blank TAB forms (TAB FORMS ...or... TAB FORMS II) from the links on the home page in the FORMS section, just below the chapters or Days', and diagram for yourself the other A minor scale, the harmonic minor,' in TAB format. In the blank TAB FORMS diagram you'll find two extra lines above the lines which represent the strings. Use these two extra lines for your own personal notes regarding anything you want to specially remember about the scale or the fingering or the frets. You'll see TAB diagrams all over the place as you begin to read Bass magazines. TAB and scales are ideas that you'll use in different ways all throughout your Bass playing days. It's best to learn every single idea, especially in the earlier chapters or lessons or Days' before moving on to the next Day.'
In order to practice TAB, please write out a TAB diagram for a Bb minor scale (beginning one fret above the A note) and then a C minor scale (beginning three frets above the A note). The Bb (B flat) minor scale will appear quite a bit in the future when you begin to play with other musicians. When I ask you to diagram the Bb minor and C minor scales I mean for Bb and C, EACH of the three different minor scales, the natural minor,' the harmonic minor' and the melodic minor,' a total of six scales. You don't have to play them on your bass unless you feel like it. Just practice the abstract exercise of writing them out on paper.
You might also want to write in the actual names of the notes in a line above the strings. If you play the scales on your bass, try saying the notes to yourself as you go through the fingering/fretting patterns. This will help you familiarize yourself more with your fret board.
Another Fingering Pattern
There's another basic minor scale fingering pattern with which you might want to become familiar. It's the same notes a little higher up the neck but the fretting starts with your first fretting finger instead of your fourth. It's a very useful pattern. Here's the TAB for the A natural minor' and the A melodic minor' scales using this pattern.
When you play the unflatted 6th (F# note) you have to jump your pinky up an extra fret which is a little outside the box' or fingering/fretting pattern. It's good to learn how to make these little jumps here and there because you'll need to do this from time to time. Try using the slide' technique for this jump and the pull off' technique when playing the scale(s) backwards, from high to low. These jumps' will also cause you to keep the pattern in your mind while you are going out of it because you have to return to it in the space of just one note. Good mental training.
TAB writing exercise: using a blank TAB FORMS chart, write out the remaining minor scale, the harmonic minor' using this fingering/fretting pattern.
I don't give you a million scales to practice because that can get boring. I try to show you some basic fingering patterns and also explain concepts. From these you may derive choices of notes to play.
End of day 6.