bass notes in guitar chords

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Mamakin34, Mar 22, 2004.

  1. Mamakin34


    Mar 22, 2004
    Just one quick question. How do u know which bass notes (Other then the obvious root notes) can be played with what guitar chords. Is there an easy way to figure this out, or maybe a website that tells you. Thanks
  2. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    you can play ANY note at all under any chord, and some will sound horrible, some will sound great :)

    a lot of it depends on WHEN you play the note... you can nearly always throw in more dissonant notes on the off-beats of a bar than the notes right on the 'one' (i.e. the first beat of the chord) ....

    after the root, the most common bass notes you'll hear under guitar chords are the 3rd (e.g. an 'E' under a C major chord, or an 'F' under D minor) and the fifth (e.g. a 'B' under E major)

    bear in mind that messing with the root can actually CHANGE the chord.. for example if your guitarist is playing a C6 chord... made up of C, E, G, A.... if you play a along with him/her by hammering out a 'C' in the bass, then you're playing a C6 chord... fine... if you drop down and emphasise an 'A' in the bass... all of a sudden, the overall effect is of an A minor chord being played... in this way, the bass has a lot of power (muahahahha..)

    but when you're talking about passing tones.. you can throw in virtually anything and make it stick with the right rhythmic/harmonic resolution... (depends on the musical style to a large extent tho...)
  3. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
  4. You can play any damn note you want from a chord. Example:

    Guitar plays Em chord:


    Notes being played: E B G

    You can play E, B, or G, whichever you want. My favorite chord to play under is a 5th chord, because no tonality is specified, so you can play anything you want.

    Fav chord = E5 :D :bassist:
  5. Although this works, it is only a simple starting point. Check out the threads that FRED POLKA posted links to.