bass chords

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by somethintosay, Aug 23, 2001.

  1. when do u use bass chords? i just mess around with them but is there a specific use for them? and also how do u play them do u pluck them with your two fingers,finger and thumb or strum it?
  2. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    You use bass chords whenever you want to, and it complements the song and the rest of the band.

    You play them using any technique you want - finger-picking, strumming, tapping etc. depending on what sound you want to achieve, and whether it complements the song and the rest of the band.
  3. I usually use a pick to play chords, I just have fun with them, and i'm currently writing a song with them.
  4. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    Since I don't play with a pick I would choose to not use a pick for playing chords or double-stops.

    Also, its quite hard to play something on the E,A and G -strings (ignoring the d-string) without your fingers , using the thumb and other fingers.

    Sometimes I will also form my fingers like im holding a pick and strum the bass.

  5. Fishbrain


    Dec 8, 2000
    England, Liverpool
    Endorsing Artist: Warwick Bass and Amp
    i play them with my thumb, I dont really use them with the band just when i practise on my own. I use them in a few of my jazz songs and at the end of songs, dunno y i just think it sounds good then :D
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Double stops are more common, as full chords on bass just make the whole thing sound muddy.

    So "Watermelon Man" by Headhunters has a double stop bassline and the introduction to Steely Dan's "King of the World" is bass double stops. There are dozens of other recorded examples.

    I tend to do them with thumb and first/second fingers.

    A lot of Joy Division songs also have double stops played with a pick.
  7. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    I tend to use double stops as well. I do sometimes use a 7th chord (R maj 3rd minor 7th) or maj 7th (guess) but around the 12th fret mark to reduce muddiness. I will also rake root 5th octave but whether thats a chord or not...

    If you are interested in using some here some tips.

    A technique I stole from Mark King of all people is to play an open note coupled with a high note. ie open E with the G string fretted at 13th fret. Add in a melody between the changes and thats the bassis of Dune or Dune song (I'm not a level42 fan).

    Another one is to fret the E string at 12 and the G at 13 then move it down to E at 7 and G at 8. Now you have the basis of Walk on the wild side by Lou Reed (Herbie Flowers)(there is also a DB part on the record).

    If the song I am playing is less groove orientated or has a poncy section I might float in some chords or double stops. Another method is to 'bow' these in with the volume knob. Use your little finger and bring the volume up now wiggle it for tremelo whist wiggling your other hand to get vibrato.

    Send the cheque (check) to CS useless tips ltd
  8. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    I use chords a lot. I am primarily a solo bassist (altho I am also a session musician), and do entire tunes with chords. Sort of chord/melody style. I use an array of right hand techniques: flamenco strums, finger picking, slapping, tapping, artificial harmonics, two and three finger plaucking combined with the thumb, funk fingers, e-bow.....
    I use double stops, three and even four note chords in various postions on the neck.
    The key to using chords well is to experiment, develop a chordal vocabulary and then find where they are APPROPRIATE for the tune! Just like slapping or tapping, just because you CAN do it, doesn't neccessarily mean you SHOULD.
    I am currently writing a method book for chordal playing incl. a dictionary of the 600+ chord voicings I have found on the bass guitar.
    Max Valentino
  9. Fishbrain


    Dec 8, 2000
    England, Liverpool
    Endorsing Artist: Warwick Bass and Amp
    ure a clever dude
  10. Wes I AM

    Wes I AM

    May 27, 2000
    Tampa, FL
    could someone explain to me exactly what a double stop is? and where the best place to learn some chords is? besides a teacher which i could not afford at present..
  11. Erlendur Már

    Erlendur Már

    May 24, 2000
    A double stop is basically a 2 note if you play g on the 17th fret on the d string and c# on the 18th fret on the g string at the same time. I don´t really know a better way to explain this..
  12. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Hey Wes, IM me - "MegaAngus" - and I'll explain it to you...along with show you how to play a bunch of Mudvayne songs! :rolleyes: I'm really on top of things.
  13. For God's sake, maybe I'm missing something, but that was really uncalled for.
  14. Wes I AM

    Wes I AM

    May 27, 2000
    Tampa, FL
    huh? am i missing something? was that supposed to be sarcasm? i'm so sorry that i'm not as much of a musical genious as some the guys around here but bass isn't my whole life. i'm 17 in school, with a job, my main pastime is bodybuilding while i enjoy playing bass. so sorry that i dont have the time to study music 24-7. geez.
  15. What's a double stop? I know that at the beginning of Love Will Tear Us Apart the bass plays 7 fret on D and 9th on that a double stop? Explain!!

    Oh hang on....I just noticed the post where it IS explained...I read through them all and still managed to miss it!
  16. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Where's that book now when I need it? :) I'm up to about 240 chords. Got along way to go I guess. :( And those 240 aren't even all memorized yet.....I'm gonna be tested on them on Monday. Uh oh! LOL :eek:

    I'm currently writing a song that uses chords. I'm using a lot of arpeggios and also what really sounds nice is playing the root, 3rd, and octave at the same time, both plucking using my thumb, fore, and middle fingers, and also brushing against the strings with my thumb.
  17. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    Paste, Stephanie and all...
    thanks for the interest in the book. It's really a little over half done...and I have just been either busy or lazy as far a finishing it (let's see, there was the Solo Bass Looping Tour, recording my CD, and the birth of my daughter...I guess BUSY would describe the past 5 mos.).
    I am not sure how to approach all the publishing sides of this and so will probably do it all myself.
    The hard part has been developing a system to churn thru my memory cells and bring out all the different voicings I use....that or rifle thru my files, desk, studio, briefcase, etc. looking at all the scibbles on matchbooks and cocktail napkins...and transferring that to the computer...
    but I am working on it.
    Really, Stephanie, 200+ chords is really good! Most guitar players only know 5 or 6!
    The great thing about studying chords is that it opens you up to a wider knowledge of harmony, which in turn makes you a better bassist. Even if you never play a chord on the bass in a performance/ensemble situation, the power you have from exploring chords makes it possible for you to have a larger palette of notes to choose from, and, note choice along with timing and rhythm is what makes a good bassist.
    So, next you must learn to think like a drummer (no jokes please...some of my best friends are drummers. In fact, I am thinking of buying my daughter a drumset, just in case she doesn't want to be a musician!)
  18. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    When I was trying to teach myself guitar I actually found it easier to learn the chords than I do now on the bass, maybe it's because I memorized the shape and not the notes in the chord. (Now that I'm learning bass I find all these guitar book I used to read horrible! Chord books never told you the notes of the chord! Most everything was tabbed out! etc. etc.) Playing guitar I don't find myself strumming chords much. I like to do a lot of finger-picking and playing arpeggios. LOL.

    Anyway, I find, with the bass, you have to know what notes you're playing to play the chord. Sure, I find there's a certain pattern with each chord, but since you mainly don't play the notes all at once you're focusing on each individual note.


    PS: Max, good luck with the book! And also of course the birth of your child! You should buy her one of those Daisy guitars (Ever hear of those? I think they have basses too.) :)
  19. purple_haze


    Jun 29, 2001
    London Town
    There's a background to chordial work to be found by clicking here.

    Double stops, as mentioned, are two notes played simultaneously. They sometimes take the form of octaves: try hitting an open string, and the note on the 7th fret on the string one higher, e.g.


    for an "octave E".

    Sometimes they take the form of root-fifth combinations. This is more common in the higher fret registers and on the D and G strings.

    I find that double-stops are best played with a pick. (Check out any of Jason Newsted's work with Metallica. Octave E's played with a pick form a major facet of his playing).

    Chords I usually play with a make-shift right hand "claw" using my thumb and first two fingers.

    Their usage is subjective. Octave double stops come in handy when playing under power chords on guitars (again, see: Newsted). Higher double stops and chords are found in some solo work. Victor Wooten has a bass with two extra high strings which he uses almost extensively for chordial work.
  20. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    One of the first things I bought my daughter is a "mini-bass". I found that Samick makes a mini-P bass model. It is a fully functional p-bass copy with good wood and hardware and PUs, but it has only a 24" scale (which is smaller than a guitar!), and of course the body is down sized accordingly. I think they make them for little kids to learn on, but I've actually done some solo shows with this...which really makes the audience wonder about perspective and all. I have it tuned up a fourth (ADGC) and is daughter, Anika, has already played it (at 4 mos. old)...well made sounds on it anyway. I would have to consult Steve Lawson's thread on improv to determine whether or not that constitutes "playing".