Here are some basic intervallic shapes based on the construction of the major scale:

As the chart suggests, intervals of a 4th, 5th, or octave in their default state would be referred to as "perfect" intervals, while intervals of a 2nd, 3rd, 6th, or 7th would be considered "major". Notice that a major interval can be lowered twice before becoming a diminished interval. As we delve deeper into intervallic exercises and combinations, these terms will become clearer and more meaningful.

Practice playing these intervals all over the neck, keeping in mind that the most important thing you can do with these is memorize their sounds. Intervallic awareness will make you a much more keen player, because your ears will be trained to recognize the actual "shapes" of the sounds you hear. You will then find it easier to transcribe lines, compose, and improvise more effectively. Have fun!!!

-Adam Nitti heads the bass department at the Atlanta Institute of Music. He has recorded or performed with such players as Victor Wooten, Dave Weckl, Mike Stern, and Peter Erskine, and currently has 2 solo CD releases out on Renaissance Man Records. Adam is also a clinician and endorsee for SWR, Curbow, and D'Addario. Check out his official website at:

email: Adam Nitti

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