I`ve been playing 6 string bass for quite a while now, but during live performances with low light, l sometimes find it difficult to find the right notes on the fretboard, esp C on the E string getting mixed up with Bb and D,

I've put a small bit of tape under neck at the correct position on G of the B string, this has helped heaps,

Any more ideas??? Also fret knowledge, Because Ive got a great ear, Im lazy at learning all the notes on my massive fretboard, I play by patterns a lot of the time, Any Ideas on getting my fret knowledge better. Starting on a 6 string with 144 notes is probably a bad idea... Anyway I have what i have and have to deal with it.

  • Do you have fret markers on the fingerboard, either under the strings or on the top edge? What style of music are you most often playing? Nov 13, 2014 at 13:21
  • As a fellow six-string bassist, I have the same problem. I can generally find the right fret (although I'll occasionally have off-by-one errors closer to the nut, since I can't always see the frets) but often, I'll accidentally fret the wrong string or something like that.
    – user1529
    Nov 14, 2014 at 7:39
  • I played a 6 for about year - MM Bongo. Great sounding bass, not hard to play. I finally put it aside because the strings were too close together and my accuracy was constantly compromised. You definitely should not start with a 6. A good 4 is all you really need, and you'll learn you way around the neck much better with a 4, because you'll have to use more positions to get the notes you need, instead of just playing the same positions on a different string.
    – Vector
    Nov 24, 2017 at 2:28

3 Answers 3


Its all about practice, just how some guitarists play their instruments behind their backs, all you have to do is practice memorizing your fretboard without looking. With time you will see that you don't need any lighting, you just need to feel the guitar(bass) in your hand and you will know just where everything is at.


Learning scales and arpeggios is a great way to improve your fretboard knowledge. Try and learn scales and arpeggios all over the fretboard and say out loud the notes as you play them.

Don't worry about playing fast whilst doing this. Taking the time to get this in your head is the key here.


I guess you mean the 8th fret getting mixed up with 6th and 10th. Play standing up whenever you play, and try to hit that 8th fret without looking. After a while, your arm muscle memory will have learned how far to stretch. Eyes then come into play, as they know the target fret is between dots. Do it many times a day - just wear the bass, play 8th fret without looking, take it off again, repeat 10 times at least. You may need to peek at first, but eventually, it'll pay off. Learning all the notes is, for me, a waste, as the guitar works on patterns which are transferable key to key. I doubt whether many players who were stopped in mid stream would tell you what note they were on - our brains, in most cases, don't work that way: 'now I'm playing a C, then an Eb, after which it'll be a Gb and a G'. Do players really think like that ?

  • Cheers Tim, good stuff Nov 7, 2014 at 0:00

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