I'm a beginner on both piano and bass and having some weird issue when trying to play scales. I was playing A flat major pentatonic on the piano but when I tried that on the bass it sounds wrong but E major scale sounds the same with the piano. The root note on the piano is E flat but on the bass E as a root note gives me same sound.

Piano notes: g#,a#, c, d#, f#

Bass: e, f#, a, b, c#

Am I just not hearing it right? Also if the root note of song doesn't start with same key as the scale do you still call the key of the song with the starting key of the scale? (Sorry if I'm not making sense)

closed as unclear what you're asking by Carl Witthoft, Tim H, user45266, David Bowling, Richard Mar 20 at 22:13

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    If it's Ab maj.pent., the notes will actually be Ab Bb C Eb F. If you want the notes in E, they're E F# G# B C#. The start note of a song isn't always the indication of what its key is. Maybe the bass needs tuning to the piano? – Tim Mar 18 at 8:18
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    The root note on the piano is E flat but on the bass E as a root note gives me same sound. what do you mean? Is your bass right tuned? or what? – Albrecht Hügli Mar 18 at 12:36
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    Except for the difference in tone, the notes should sound the same on piano and bass. Can you confirm your bass is tuned to your piano? You said you're a beginner - can you tune the bass? Next confirm the string/frets you are playing on the bass. – Michael Curtis Mar 18 at 16:41

are you sure your bass is in correct pitch?

look up some bass scale images or tabs. This will help you find out what you're doing wrong:

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I would say that Ab pentatonic was Ab, Bb, C, Eb, F, and Ab - a subset of Ab major. It is very odd to talk of an Ab flat scale and then refer to a set of notes that do not even contain Ab.

It is a habit that I have seen fairly often with guitarists but rarely elsewhere to only ever talk of sharps e.g. always refer to the note between A and B as A# rather than Bb. If you move into the theory of music, you will find this habit an even greater problem. For example, if you say that the F major scale contains A# then it will be considered wrong even though it contains Bb.

Back to your problem. Your set of bass notes do not even overlap your piano notes at all. In fact, they are a semitone away from the piano notes. I would expect Eb on the piano with E on the bass to sound pretty bad. The simplest explanation is that one or the other instrument is out of tune. If both sound okay individually then they may be in tune with themselves but one or the other (or both) is not in concert pitch. It is a bit more likely that the guitar is out but it could be the piano. How do you tune the bass? If it is with a tuner then that points to the piano. If the piano sounds okay by itself and you want to play the guitar with it then tune to the guitar to the piano not the tuner. It is not so easy to change the piano so accept when it says that Eb is and match the guitar to that.

Consider getting your piano tuned. For quite a while, my piano was relatively in tune but consistently a semitone flat. Since I don't have perfect pitch, I could live with this for piano solo music. It also worked with voice. It worked with guitars provided that they were tuned to the piano. It was an issue with some instruments such as the clarinet and saxophone.

Finally, it is very common that a tune does not start on the key note. Many tunes in C major start on G. It is more common, but still not certain, that they end on the key note. Determining the key requires a bit more theory and, for some tunes, there may be no definitive answer.

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    good answer - my opinion also that the piano is probably out. you can easily check this by tuning the bass with an app or E-Tuner. – bigbadmouse Mar 19 at 12:00

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