Bass Chords

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by WordIsBorn79, Dec 12, 2002.

  1. WordIsBorn79


    Jan 10, 2001
    Phoenix, AZ
    Hey guys...I like to play all types of chords on my bass. I know, I know, I'm a bassist, but there's somthing warm and soulful when I play them on my 4 string. Does anyone else play like this? If so, I'd like to hear how you do it, and any tricks of the trade. I mainly use Major, Minor, Power, and Suspended chords, however, I try a ton of others. Get back to me guys. :)

    Van Leibensperger A.K.A. WordIsBorn79
  2. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Check out Mike Dimin's forum(it's in the "Ask The Pros" section of Talk Bass).


    I believe Mike plays his chordal stuff on a 4-string.
    (More challenging that way)
  3. ampeglb100


    Oct 1, 2002
    Portland, OR
  4. WordIsBorn79


    Jan 10, 2001
    Phoenix, AZ
    Good stuff Andy. You got skills, my man.:cool:
  5. Swerve


    Nov 22, 2002
    Portland, Oregon
    I've always played chords on bass, they sound awesome. I never use a pick though just my fingers. Also whenever I slap sometimes I'll "rake" a chord with the back of my fingernails.
  6. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    I chord a little bit-I despise the picked bass sound, so i don't strum, i pluck two or three strings a time, dunno if this is right, I should ask my teacher, lol. I don't know a lot of chords, but I really liek the thick and rich "soulful" sound jsut warms you to tears, lol.:D
  7. WordIsBorn79


    Jan 10, 2001
    Phoenix, AZ
    I usually use my ring, index, and middle fingers, hitting all notes in the chord at once. Also, I use the strumming technique mentioned earlier by one of you guys. I also get better results playing higher up on the neck. Man, how I wish I has a 6 or 7 string. :p
  8. Damn . There I was thinking I was the only person who used chords !.

    I usually strum or tap or cross-pick 'em.
  9. just_a_poser


    Apr 20, 2002
    I use my fingernail to strum usually. Or sometimes I'll slap 2 or 3 strings so the notes sound at the same time. Most of my chord stuff I do on my 6 string, that high c is nice. Never used it in a band setting because well, I don't have a band setting, where I'm playing bass anyway. I don't always think "this is major" or "this is minor", although sometimes I do. But other times I just fret stuff and play it and think, well that sounds cool. Or adjust it to get what I want.
  10. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I love 6th chords....particularly major 6ths. There is Something in that major 6th sound that really speaks to me. Also Half diminished and 9 chords are very nice.
  11. WordIsBorn79


    Jan 10, 2001
    Phoenix, AZ
    I play a 4 string Fender Jazz, and I've learned that I can make a certain guitar chord heavier if I use power chords on the bass! For exaple, say the guitarist hits and inverted B chord on his guitar...I'd play a root-fifth B power chord on the bass (on the A and D strings). Really thickens the tone! A buddy of mine the other day said, "Chords on the bass?! They probably sound too muddy!" However, when I play them, I generally turn off the neck pickup, so only the bridge pick-up is on. This helps, at least on my Jazz bass. Let the bassists who use chords be heard. :p
  12. I play chords a fair amount. The only real trick is to making sure your sound isn't so thick and gooey that you just near a big woooom. well, unless that's what you want! I've noticed that chords sound the best around the middle of the bass. Too high and they get weird and honky, too low and you just don't near the note definition.

    I really like to play chords on my fretless. The blooming mwaaaahh sounds real nice, and I have a sloppy left hand so on fretted bass, chords tend to clank and rattle a lot. On a fretless, it's just the notes.

    A big trick is to pluck simultaneously.. if you're picking, you gotta hit the strings real fast to get the same effect.

    It's also fun to hit chords while tapping, and then move each hand in a different direction. Real odd effect :>
  13. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"

    Thanks jim for the plug.

    I also have an entire book on the subject called The Chordal Approach (what else?)

  14. WordIsBorn79


    Jan 10, 2001
    Phoenix, AZ
    Mike...where can I get this book?
  15. BassAxe


    Jul 22, 2002
    Culpeper, VA
    I got that book, everyone. I had exhausted my ideas for chordal possibilities until I got it. It's quite useful.

    My only critique is that it doesn't explain chord terminology to those who know nothing about chord terminology (like me). If it's explained in Mike's book, I was too theory-dumb to understand it.
    I'm sure that info can be found elsewhere, though.

    I'm really into Celtic music, so I often hit open A, octave A on the D (the drones of bagpipes are usually tuned to A with one baritone and two tenor drones) and various notes on the E and G strings.

    I tend to hook the E string with my thumb while getting the A, D, and G strings with my index, middle, and ring fingers, respectively. Lately I've also been experimenting by spacing my fingers out so I can get tighter notes close to the bridge on some strings while simultaneously getting the fuller muddy notes away from the bridge on other strings.
  16. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
  17. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    Your absolutely right. I (wrongly) made the assumption that those reading the book would already know what a chord was -sorry.

    I am glad, however that you did find it useful. If you bought it from me, via email, you know that I also offer help with any of the concepts and techniques. So if there was something that I was remiss about, I am happy to help further.

  18. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    i use a fair amount of chords, but more often than not i end up reducing them to double stops as unless played solo they are too muddy beneath guitar etc.

    arpeggiated chords are generally cool when you play the chord and let it ring out.

    I too checked out Andy Fortier - Solo Bass on mp3,com... nice clean tone i ilke that. they've got really good direction and some lovley chords too.

    Would it be rude to criticise and say maybe you should give them some more interesting titles?!! ;)
  19. ampeglb100


    Oct 1, 2002
    Portland, OR
    Good stuff Andy. You got skills, my man.

    ...thanks, rock on.

  20. I like to play double stops on the G and D strings, mostly perfect fifths. I love the sound they make....I think what got me hooked was the song Don't Forget Me by the Chili Peppers, and since then I've been experimenting with all sorts of things, predominantly on those two strings.
    Currently, I'm trying to teach myself to play Otherside (Chili Peppers again) solo, sort of hitting the root not on the A or E strings and then playing the melody up high. Thus far it sounds fairly ordinary, but it's coming along, so....yeah.
    That's just me.

    EDIT: Spelling