Horizontal playing is a great way to transition between chords or to switch positions when playing bass. These drills are designed to get some muscle memory into your hands so that you can play horizontally without having to think about it much. They're not terribly complicated, but can go a long way towards making your playing more fluid.
1. Ascending arpeggios
These drills are very simple major and minor arpeggios. As easy as they are, it really helps to have these in your hands, as they can provide a smooth climb up to the next chord you are playing. I like to run through them both a few times before I do any bass playing.
2. Descending arpeggios
I like to do the descending version of these arpeggios separately. I find that doing so has made finding the descending movement faster than combining it with the ascent. Either way, this drill is great for another easy warmup.
3. Double-stop exercise
This is a fun and nice sounding exercise. It's essentially an A-scale harmonization with a drone going. Be sure to keep all of the notes even on this one, especially the two on the A string. It's also a great exercise for your plucking hand, which can build up a lot of strength and endurance in your hands.
These drills will improve your knowledge of the fretboard and help you get some useful patterns into your hands. Like any drill with a decent amount of practice, it'll start to come out into your playing. Give these bass drills a try and see if they help build your chops up.
All tabs created by Matthew Wendler using Power Tab Editor.
Matthew Wendler is a blogger and multi-instrumentalist from New Jersey. He specializes in guitar, bass guitar, and bagpipes, and is passionate about writing both professionally and for enjoyment. His personal blog can be followed on Twitter at @ymiatvmi.