Bass Clef Notes: 5 Tricks on How To Read ‘Em!

F Clef
Note the F shape

What is Bass Clef?

The Bass Clef is drawn on a staff that is made of five lines and four spaces, each of these spaces and lines indicates a different pitch. There are many different clefs, and the Bass Clef is the lowest of them… so the notes on its staff are the notes with lower pitches.

So of course the instruments you will see playing on Bass Clef will be lower-medium pitch instruments like Cello, Bass, Bassoon, Trombone and the Left Hand of the Piano. The Bass Clef is also called the F Clef, because its pitches are centered around F. Notice how the Clef’s symbol actually makes the shape of an F and that the two dots of the symbol are around the F note.

What are the Bass Clef Notes?

bass clef notes
Wow that’s a lot of notes!

The Bass Clef Notes are the same as any other 12 tone western scales notes. A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. There are also the flats and sharps, but what you probably really wanted to know, is how do you memorize which note is where?

How Do You Remember All These Notes?

Now that you’ve crammed all those notes into your head how do you memorize them? Easy, we are going to use a Pneumonic! It will make memorization easy!

The Spaces


All Cows Eat Grass! It’s that easy. However, this pneumonic is a bit boring, and I’ve found that the crazier the pneumonic the easier it is to memorize it! So here are some options to memorize the bass clef notes:

All Children Eat Gremlins
Anybody Can Earn Gold
Alan Chews Ear Gum

Take the next twenty seconds to come up with a personal one. If you make it will be easier to memorize as well!

The Lines

bass clef notes pneumonic

Green Buses Drive Fast Always! It’s just as easy for the lines, however, this pneumonic is COMPLETELY BLAND. And as I said, the crazier the pneumonic the easier it is to memorize it! So here are some options:

Goblins Beat Drums For Aliens
George Beatboxes Dutifully For Anacondas
Gunk Busting Dunk Flusting Areas

Ok, the last one makes no sense don’t use that one. But I encourage you to make up your own, to make it more memorable!

Advanced Memorization

Ok, now when everyone first learns bass clef they use a pneumonic. But Jeez is that slow when you want to figure out what a note is in real-time. Picture this:

A guy stops playing the piano after every note, and goes “Goblins Beat Drums For Ali- ah yes it’s an A I have to play next OK”

Now there’s nothing wrong with this. Eventually, you will memorize where all of the bass clef notes are by heart, but here’s a trick if you don’t have much time to practice.

The Bass Clef Lighthouse

Introducing the Lighouse

Ok so the above looks like random 4 notes, But it’s not! The first note I will bring your attention to is the note on the line within the staff. Notice how the Bass Clef sign has two dots above and below this line. That’s because the Bas Clef is also the F Clef! And guess what note that is: It’s an F! So that’s one-note you won’t forget.

Now the other note above it is Middle C and unless you’re going into the fourth position on the E string of a Cello you don’t have to worry much about what comes next. The notes below them are another F and another C. And now you probably see where this is going…

The Pattern

The second F is the space right under the staff, and the first F is the line straddled by the F clef sign, these are two easily memorized positions, and the C’s relationship is that of a fifth, so:

For the lower F, you know the C is the second space away, it’s as easy as looking two spaces above

For the higher F your know the C is the second line away, so both of these notes have a pattern that you can memorize which is much easier than anything rote

Within 5 minutes you’ll have an F and a C memorized, and that means the rest of the notes around them are within quick reach, the maximum distance is 2 notes away! This might be a little harder to understand but it’s a great way to quickly memorize bass clef notes.

Why Does Bass Clef Exist?

Bass clef and its notes exist to cover the commonly used lower pitches of an orchestra, piano e.t.c. Notice that the Piano is centered around C and that F is a fifth below C and G is a fifth above C. The Bass Clef is the F Clef, and the Treble Clef is the G clef. Both of these clefs come together to be centered around middle C!

You could say the Bass Clef’s creation is arbitrary and you’d be correct! But so is having twelve tones, and the basis of all of our instruments, so now you know that humanity made the bass Clef up as we were going along! I hope you enjoyed this article.

Mark D.

Mark D.

Hi, I'm Mark. I've been playing instruments since I was just a little kid. I've played cello and piano for a few years, and recently picked up guitar. I've produced bad music. I also run this blog where I share interesting things I've learned. I hope you Enjoy my posts!

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