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Bass Chords

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by bcoomes, Feb 6, 2014.

  1. bcoomes

    bcoomes Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2014
    Louisville, KY
    Opinions on 2 note bass chords? I often play a note with a fifth thrown in to beef up a particular part (I play with a pick). I think it works because we only have one guitar player and he plays a lot of single note stuff with ample feedback. We're a noisy, mathy, post hardcore kind of thing.
  2. I'm glad you brought up the topic. I'm in a one guitar band and usually don't play chords but now you've got me thinking I'll have to give your fifth note chord thing a try.
  3. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    It's great. Do it as needed.
  4. spanndrew


    Oct 14, 2013
    Atlanta, Ga
    If it's working keep it up.
  5. bcoomes

    bcoomes Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2014
    Louisville, KY
    I always loved Lou Barlow's playing on early Dinosaur Jr. stuff. A lot of people thought he played bass like a guitar, but who cares if it sounds good.
  6. I had an engineer at a well respected studio (gold records on the wall and all) tell me that I shouldn't play chords on albums because from an engineering standpoint it creates problems in getting all the frequencies to play nice. I played chords on that album and had no problems and no complaints from him. So IDK... I've been playing them forever and I really like the way they thicken a part up.

    Chord on.
  7. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Aug 11, 2012
    Upstate NY, USA
    It works just fine fingerstyle too. :) I usually pluck the lower note with my index finger and the higher one simultaneously with my middle finger.
  8. matthewbrown

    matthewbrown Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Harwich, MA, USA
    Using false harmonics on the upper notes can avoid muddy voicings. A little chorus can help on that, too.
  9. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Actually, two notes can only imply a chord.
  10. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    Good to see this finally mentioned. A root and a 5th, a root and a 3rd or 10th, etc. are not chords, they are double stops. It takes three different tones to define a chord.

    In any case, if you voice them in such a way as to minimize muddiness (such as a root and 10th, or root/5th up the neck a bit - same with 3rd/root in first inversion), they shouldn't cause too much sonic disturbance, if you will.
  11. morgansterne

    morgansterne Geek U.S.A.

    Oct 25, 2011
    Cleveland Ohio
    I used to do this quite a bit in a trio during guitar solos. You can pluck the higher note closer to the bridge using pinky or third finger. If you use your thumb, then your first two fingers can play higher notes and again the higher notes can be close to the bridge to help prevent muddiness. Come to think of it I used to do this also in a 3 piece cover band during the guitar solo on "working man."
    I play in a five piece these days and there's not any need for me to do this kind of thing anymore.
  12. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Aug 11, 2012
    Upstate NY, USA
    While you guys are technically correct in terms of classical music theory, in the rock world a double stop is commonly called a "power chord". You can argue that this is wrong, but it seems like a lot of semantics to me.
  13. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    Is it semantics to suggest that misnomers such as that be corrected in a technical forum regarding music?
  14. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK

    We're not musicians mate, we're bass players.
  15. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I like to throw in a 3rd where it'll work.
  16. Congratulations, you have discovered the "power chord," the fundamental building block of rock music vocabulary! :)
  17. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Aug 11, 2012
    Upstate NY, USA
    My point is that it's only a misnomer in the context of classical theory.

    The origins of classical music were upper class and white. The origins of rock were working class and racially mixed. While I'm not accusing you of anything, I think that viewed in this light, the insistence that rock musicians use the same terminology as classical musicians takes on some uncomfortable connotations.

    I like you FretlessMainly, and I'm not trying to pick a fight with you, and I probably won't post anything else about this, because I don't want this thread to degenerate into an absurd argument with a guy I respect. But for the reasons stated above, I will continue to proudly use terms like "power chord", because I'm a rocker, and I'm proud of that tradition.
  18. "Power chord" is an academically correct term for a root-5th diad.
  19. Qlanq


    Jul 9, 2007
    Always done this. Really handy behind guitar solos but useful in their own right in some situations.
  20. I play harmonies and chords quite a bit. In rock, and also in more jazz oriented gigs. You can really add some sparkle with something as simple as a 10th.