Fretboard Formula Review

Bass Guitar Secrets Lessons

Fretboard Formula

  • Rating:
  • Published By: Bass Guitar Tips, Alex Sampson
  • Website:
  • Pricing: From $127
  • For Skill Levels: Beginner-Advanced
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Review from our sister site, Reprinted with permission.

It can be rather difficult to find good-quality learning products that specifically teach how to play bass guitar online. So we were highly interested when we discovered that Alex Sampson (Bass genius and author of Bass Guitar Secrets or BGS) had recently released a new multimedia bass guitar course called Fretboard Formula. We placed our order for the course as soon as it became available, and were pleasantly surprised with what we found.

The Fretboard Formula contains many learning elements that other bass courses leave out, such as video training, solid musical theory, and audio demonstration tracks. The video element of the course is fairly substantial containing over nine and an half hours worth of instruction.

There are three versions of Fretboard Formula; The Platinum, Gold, and Lite version. I’ll just take moment to explain a few of the differences. While the teaching material is virtually identical, the Lite version comes with electronic copies of the manuals, and the Gold & Platinum have printed workbooks. Gold and Platinum also have better support options (such private email support) and several other valuable bonuses which you can read more about on their site. However, besides being more expensive the Gold & Platinum packages are very limited in their releases. (The next release date is in October of 2009) However, the Lite version is usually always in stock, ships immediately and is a better economical choice for most people.


The Fretboard Formula course arrived in the mail nicely packaged in two cases that each hold 7 CDs/DVDs apiece for a total of 14. All discs are clearly marked so you easily find what you’re looking for. Without bogging you down by going into all the details of the course material which you can read about on their site, here is an outline of what you get with the Fretboard Formula curriculum.

Orange Case – Disc 1: Manipulating Note Equations, Disc 2: Intervallic Mastery, Disc 3: Arpeggio Visualization Revealed, Disc 4: Modal Linkage Concepts, Disc 5: Key Center Location, Disc 6: Hand Position Intelligence, & the Blog Files Bonus Black Disc.

Blue Case – 6 Audio CDs. (Intervallic Mastery/Modal Linkage CD, Arpeggio Visualization CDs 1-4 & Key Center Location CD) & 1 Data CD. The Data CD contains PDF copies of all the needed reference material and manuals which are shown below:

The Fretboard Formula Main Workbook. (The Blue-Grey, content  as follows);

  • All supplementary reference material for DVD discs 1-6.
  • The Modal Mastery Reference Guide (The Red Manual)
  • The Arpeggio Visualization Reference Guide (The Yellow-Green Manual)

The Fretboard Formula Cheat Sheet Report (The Light-Blue Manual), contents as follows;

  • “The Fretboard Formula” Fluency Troubleshooting Chart.
  • Alex’s Personal “Fretboard Formula – Mind Maps”.
  • All DVD menus printed out for convenient reference.
  • Crib sheets and charts for the Blog Files Bonus Disc.

Quick Start Guide

The video component of the course is chock-full of great bass guitar instruction sessions, practical tips and advice, and beginner, mid-and high level theory. On a personal level, I actually learned quite a bit about musical theory than I knew before, which was pretty cool.

On a more technical note the video quality is good, but not exceptional. There was a slight low hum we could hear during some of the sessions, but is probably imperceptible on most systems (our sub woofer was the main culprit).The accompanying audio CD's quality are pretty much flawless quality-wise with chrystal-clear sound.


There are also some bonus features that the Gold and Platinum Fretboard Formula packages come with. Please note that bonuses very well may change in the future and this review may or may not be updated to reflect those changes.

  • First 7 Platinum members get a free 1-on-1 private coaching session.
  • First 25 Gold and Platinum members will receive access to a free webinar.
  • First 100 signups will get the Bass Chopz Accelerator Toolkit. We discovered that this is usually sold separately on Buyer’s Tip: Pssst… As of July 2009 you can download a free trial copy of Bass Chopz at their website.


As mentioned above in the bonus section, several lucky Gold & Platinum members will receive access to valuable 1on1 coaching. However, the majority of Fretboard Formula users can direct customer service queries to Bass Guitar Tip’s private support site which has a convenient live chat support option as well as a support ticket system in place.

Ordering Information

The Fretboard Formula products are currently not available for download and must be shipped. Shipping is approximately another $9.50 anywhere in the US and $18.00 to most international locations.

To reiterate, Fretboard Formula is available in 3 different flavors. There’s the limited Platinum ($197) and Gold ($167) versions and the Lite version ($127). The main differences between the different versions are the bonuses and the support options (the teaching material virtually remains the same). The Gold and Platinum versions are only released every once in a while, whereas you can download the Lite version anytime from their main site. Though the bonuses are good and the support options are great, we think that most people will probably find that the Lite version has the most bang for their buck over the Gold and Platinum versions.

Money-back Guarantee: For Fretboard Formula, BGT employs a 2-part guarantee: First, a standard 90-day guarantee. If dissatisfied, you can choose to return the course for a full refund. While they could have left the guarantee at that and been better than most education product guarantees, they went a step further with an extended guarantee which states you have another 120 days (4 months) to evaluate the course and if you still don’t think it was worth what you paid, Alex will personally send you a cheque for $25 bucks! You can read all the details on their website.


When trying to pick up a new instrument, there’s only so much you can learn from book reading. To learn the bass most effectively you have to both see and hear in the learning process. Finally, there's a course that has the best of both worlds in one multimedia learning package.

Raw beginners may find the learning curve a touch steep with Fretboard Formula, so we recommend you have at least an teensy bit of experience playing a guitar or bass guitar before heading into this course as there are several “level 0” topics not addressed. Alex Sampson is one of the best technical bass guitar teachers I know, but assumes a small level of competency in his students.

If you are looking for a multimedia bass guitar program, Fretboard Formula has got you covered. Our #1 pick for Bass Guitar video lessons.

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Review Summary

One of very few DVD bass guitar courses available on the web, Fretboard Formula is Alex Sampson's newest bass guitar learning program.

Contains many hours of high quality teaching with decent production values. If you're looking for video bass lessons, this might be what you're after.

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