Locrian Scale Bass

Is the locrian mode and the locrian mode the same thing?

Indeed, it is the same because we already know that the modes are also scales so we have two names for it.

The locrian mode is the VII grade of the major scale and in this bass lesson we are going to learn its fingering.

The names to refer to it are:

Locrian Mode ✅
locrian scale ✅

This mode or scale is very unstable because it has diminished 5th and therefore has no stability as a tonal center, even so, in this class we will see how to use it correctly.

This scale can be used in a blues perfectly !

How to play Locrian Mode

To play the locrian mode in bass we are going to use 2 fingerings, which are the most practical for this scale.

The first one we will play with fingers 1, perhaps it is the most comfortable because everything falls in the vertical of the hand:

locrian scale for bass guitar

As you can see, this fingering of the locrian scale is totally vertical. Let’s go now to the next one, which is with finger 3:

locrian mode for bass guitar

Where is the Locrian mode formed ?

The Locrian mode is formed on the 7th degree of the scale.

The 7th degree of the major scale is the sensitive scale.

Also, we call sensitive a note that is a semitone from another.

The locrian mode has a dominant function because it contains the tritone of the tonality’s own dominant, to which corresponds the mixolydian mode, for example:

Tonality – Ionic mode – Cmaj7 – C, E, G, B

Dominant – mixolydian mode – G7 – G, B, D, F

Leading-Tone – Locrian mode: Bm7b5 – B, D, F, A

As you can see, G7 and Bm7b5 share the tritone B-F so they are relative chords.

These are the distances generated by the locrian mode:


And these are their intervals:

  • Root
  • 2nd minor
  • 3rd minor
  • perfect 4th
  • 5th diminished
  • Minor 6th
  • 7th minor

1, b2, b3, 4, b5, b6, b7

The locrian scale for piano is achieved by playing all the white keys from the B note.

How to use Locrian mode

The characteristic note of the Locrian mode is the diminished 5th but this is a very unstable interval and therefore this scale does not have much use due to its tonal stability, but….

Yes, we are going to be able to use it on top of a dominant chord, specifically, starting from the 3rd major of this, example:

A7 : A, C#, E, G

We can use above A7, the locrian scale of C#

This is because, as we have said before, they are relative chords and complement each other very well melodically.

So, if we have imagination, look at a BLUES, how we can use this scale continuously alternating it with the others.

Be careful when using the b2 of the locrian scale, because it is the note to avoid:

Note to avoid:
⛔️ 2nd minor ⛔️

And what chords can we play it about?

We are going to be able to use the locrian scale on these chords:

Examples from LA (A)

Diminished chords triad -Amº ✅

Semi-diminued chords, which have 7 minor -Am7b5 ✅

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