Bass Lesson – Left Hand Exercise


Here are the different patterns you can play through:

1234  1243  1324  1342  1423  1432

2134  2143  2314  2341  2413  2431

3124  3142  3214  3241  3412  3421

4123  4132  4213  4231  4312  4321

Feel free to memorize the patterns or look at it while you’re playing. Remember, this can be frustrating, so don’t go crazy with it at first.

You’ll also want to start slow and higher up on the neck. This makes a great warm-up for your left hand, if played properly.

And don’t forget to keep track of your progress with a metronome!

You’ll find this exercise, along with some other really great stuff, in Bass Playing Techniques by Alexis Sklarevski. It’s a good place to start if you’re serious about getting your technique solid.




  1. how your string are set cause i have an Ibanez 5string to but i’m not sure but i think i’m standardly set B-E-A-D-G i have an Ibanez BTB 575 blue moon color?

  2. Mathieu

    Yes, B-E-A-D-G is the standard tuning for a 5-string bass.

    That’s how I usually have mine tuned, but when I play with Opus Dai I have it tuned B-D-G-C-F (down-tuned a whole step, but I keep the B-string the same).

  3. Nice!Tune like this you keep a bigger string right?

  4. I use the same gauge strings as when I tune standard. It’s not ideal, but I use my Music Man for all my gigs. I go between standard tuning and the whole-step down tuning that I use for Opus Dai.

    It’s tough for me to read music when my bass is tuned differently. 😉

    The gauge is .130 for my B string.

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