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13 Chords on a 4-string bass guitar.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Paul Newbury, Sep 17, 2006.

  1. Paul Newbury

    Paul Newbury

    Oct 12, 2003

    Please I would like to know how to play 13 chords (Dom13, Minor13, various types of 13 chords) on a 4-string bass.

    Is it possible to do it on a 4 string bass (somehow) without tapping the 13th?

    Harmonics a possibility? I don't know, please help me.

    Remember, I'm using a 4-string only. :)

    Are 6th chords a substitute for 13 chords on 4-string bass?

    Please reply, :) :)
    Thank you very much for your help,
  2. The most I've ever been able to do is the first four notes of a barre chord, I'm not sure if a 13 chord is alot more than four notes, but if it isn't you could probably an open root, and do the 13 higher up
  3. well, you'll have to compromise, thats for sure. Be aware that in a band situation you're 13 might sound like a 6 anyway when the whole band is playing, because it will sit slap bang in the middle register of the guitar or keyborard chords. But in situations when it will work i guess.

    BUT (thanks, you inspired me to look at this!), you could play the 1, 5, 3, 13 if you use you're thumb, for example, for E

    fret the 1 with you're thumb on the 12 of the E
    fret the 5 with youre index on ther 14 of the A
    and bar the 3 and the 13 with you're pinky on fret 18 of the D and G

    sound really good actually
  4. Its hard to do chords especially on a 4 string the most I do is play around with power chords with their respective diminished and raised thirds . :meh: most people end up pretty impressed.
  5. I dont know, theres quite a few you can do, the only extensions that are hard to get are 13's and we just found a way to play them! You can play full maj7 and 7 chords with ease, and provided you compromise on you're choice of notes (ie, just use the important ones) then 9's, 11's, 6's and sus chords are easy enough too!
  6. Is it always necessary to play all the notes required for the chord? In a band situation, especially with a keyboards or guitarist, all the notes for any particular chord are likely to be covered. So it may not be important say to emphasize the 3rd and 5th's for example in the bass chord. Just the root and the extension etc etc... Jazz pianists will often ommit the root of a chord knowing that the bass will usually ground the chord being played.
  7. thewanderer24


    Apr 29, 2002
    SJ, CA
    basically, you need to decide which tones are important for the sound you are trying to get. You can almost always drop the 5th. That gets you down to 6 tones to choose from.

    It's really up to your taste, preference and context, how you choose to voice it. Of course, arguing with someone else about whether it's really a 13th chord or something else, with the notes you choose, is your problem!!

    I can't say I play a lot of 13th chords on my 4 string, but I do play a lot of chords in some situations.
  8. Thats the only way I can think of, but I find it hard to fret the rest of the chord that way :meh:
  9. I like the chord, but I prefer using a 2 instead of the 3.

    Preferences on chord vs. single-note playing or lines or whatever aside, can't you just stretch and reach it? Obviously you have to be a little further up the fretboard than you might like, but I can hit a four-note 13-chord with the root as low as G.

    As for usefulness, try pedaling on the root and noodling around the 13th. It sounds pretty good and you can hit the other notes without muting the root.