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Bass chords/scales help

Discussion in 'Ask David Overthrow' started by tyadams2006, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. tyadams2006


    Jan 2, 2012
    Hi, I have recently come across a website that has helped me to expand my bass playing with bass chords (Major triad, Major 7th, Dom 7th, Minor triad, Minor 7th, Deminished triad, Deminished 7th, minor 7th flat 5). Up until then I mostly played scales and always had a hard time playing the bass and coming up with good solid lines. I learn most of my playing through tablatures but I just feel like that isn't helping me enough or giving me confidence to go on my own in a sense. However, since learning about the chords I feel a bit better with my playing but not sure exactly where chords fit in with scales and vice versa and kinda confused on how chords fit in with the bass cause you don't play them like you do with guitars (You play the notes of a chord on bass individually (similar to a scale) not together like on a guitar). My thought is that chords are for use if your keeping a rhythm pattern to hold down the song just as they would for guitar. The scales are there for when you go into soloing mode. Am I right? Wrong? Tips?

    lastly, I play mostly heavy metal/hard rock/rock/some blues and any other tips that could really help me to improve on being able to come up with bass lines on my own and be able to play like Cliff Burton, Jason Newstead, Geezer Butler, Duff Mckagan, Steffan Lessard, Gene Simmons, Rex Brown, Glen Hughes, ect would really help me. I don't really want to do any slap bass just basic rocking bass that all the pros play.

  2. hublocker


    May 17, 2007
    Sounds like you should post this question on the "General instruction" forum.

    It also seems like you have tried to run without learning to walk first.

    For starters, do you know how a chord is made from particular notes of the scale?
  3. tyadams2006


    Jan 2, 2012
    I will post this in the general instruction forum. Thanks. And yes I do tend to run before I walk. I like to think of it as I like to dive into my playing and just try anything. I like to learn backwards rather than the correct way which is forward. I do know that the Chords are based around scales as everything in music is based around scales. But as far as being made from particular notes of a scale, that I really didn't pay much attention to. But I do know a few scales and the chords. I'm like a lot of musicians in bands. I don't pay much attention to the details of what I am playing. I just play stuff that feels natural and sounds good. Anyways thanks for the response!
  4. zradguy


    May 2, 2011
    Boulder, CO
    I play with chords or at least parts of chords pretty frequently. I tend to use the root of a chord and play whatever the "flavor tone" is that I want to pick out, like a major 7. Just two or sometimes three notes is all the bass will really handle in my opinion, since too many low tones can get muddy fast.

    Notes of a chord are based on notes of a scale, but not necessarily based on the key of the song that you're playing.

    As a bass player I think it's fun to study the feelings that different positions of a scale evoke. The 6th of a major scale is pretty fun. Those different positions can lead the song in new directions and help the audience anticipate what's going to come. Putting these tones into chords can be really cool, and you can also invert the chords to change the feeling. For instance play the root of a chord an octave higher, and put the flavor tone down low. Theory-wise this works for the most part, and can also create a different feel.

    Hope that gives you some ideas : )
  5. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    First advice, find yourself a good local teacher, that will make this all much easier. Right now don't try to focus on what chords work in what scales, that will come next. Right now learn the intervals that actually construct chords. Such as a Major chord consists of the the root, the fifth (perfect), and the third (Chord quality) There are several variations on that chord, such as add9, sus4, Maj7. There are not infinite possibilities, there are major, minor, diminished, and augmented and various ways you can modify them. Learn your intervals, such as minor 2nd, major 2nd, minor 3rd, major 3rd, Pefect 4th, Augmented 4th/Dimished 5th, etc.

    I'd highly recommend you pick up the Bass Guitar Grimoire, has a lot of info on scales, not as much on the chordal end but it'll teach you intervals as well

    I hope that helps.
  6. I see a few have responded to this. Chords are the most important tones as they will outline the chords sound and chord progression of a tune. Scales tones, when used judiciously, can add a lot of interest to a line. Scale tones pretty much connect chord tones. A lot of young players tend to not put in the time to study chords (harmony) and run up and down scales, not really playing the chord changes.

    I recommend finding a good resource and/or a good teacher to learn about chords (harmony) and discover the importance of playing chord tones and playing the chord sound. After you can do that, learn about chord scale relationships as each quality of chord will have several scale choices with which you can use to add a lot of interest to your bass lines.

    There are many resources you can use. My "Electric Bass Method Complete" will get into detail about learning chords, chord scales, chord scale relationships, and how to utilize all of these in creating bass lines in the real world and in any genre of music.
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    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Feb 25, 2021

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