Pentatonic Displacement for Bass

Pentatonic displacement is a powerful technique that can significantly enhance your phrasing. By understanding and practicing displacements exercises, you will develop greater technical proficiency and creative expression. Incorporate these techniques into your practice routine to explore new musical possibilities.

Pentatonic Scale Used:

  • Modes of the G Major/E Minor Pentatonic: The phrase starts with a G major pentatonic at the 12th fret, descending and following the modes starting from G, D, B, A, G.


  • Definition: Shifting the starting note of the scale pattern to create different rhythms, syncopation and groupings.
  • Purpose:
    • Adds variety and complexity to bass lines.
    • Enhances melodic creativity.
    • Improves technical proficiency and finger independence.

Pentatonic Displacement Video Example

Notes Groupings:

  • Shift the starting point of the scale within the measure. Play the G major pentatonic scale descending, ensuring the starting note of the next mode is the end of the previous phrase.

Rhythmic Displacement:

  • Example: Repeating the starting note twice to shift the scale shape and ending the entire phrase with quarter note triplets using a B minor 7th arpeggio.

Practical Exercise:

  • Displace the G major pentatonic scale (and all its modes) starting from different notes each time and at different beats within the measure.
  • Exercise: Play the G major pentatonic scale starting on the B note (4th fret, G string). Descend using the following sequence: BAGE DBAA (last A is an octave higher) GEDB AGE.

Applying Pentatonic Displacement


  • Use pentatonic displacement to create solos and bass lines that stand out.
  • Experiment with different starting points and rhythms to add variety.
    • Example: Start improvising from the 7th fret of an Emin chord, use the Emin pentatonic and displace the starting note every two beats to create a shifting rhythmic feel.


  • Apply pentatonic displacement techniques when writing bass lines.
  • Create interesting and complex bass parts by displacing scales and altering rhythms.

Practice Tips:

  • Start slow and gradually increase the tempo. These exercises can be challenging if you haven’t done them before. Ensure you have control of the shapes before attempting with a drum loop.
  • Use a metronome to keep time and gradually increase the speed as you become more comfortable with the technique.
  • Record yourself playing and listen back to identify areas for improvement.

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