1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Chord question

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by JDT, Jul 3, 2005.

  1. I'm taking a look at chord construction, and I'm trying to link it to the few chords I can still remember from when I used to play the guitar. Now, a Cmaj chord is made up with C E G. But the way I learnt to play it (powerchord style) you can't hit the open E (lowest one), only C E G C E (from low to high-sounding). But it's a part of the chord, so why can't I just play it?

    I realise this is more guitar related :eek:, but is there some essential piece of theory I'm missing out on? (eg a limitation on the number of times you use a certain note in a chord or something).
  2. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You can play it if you want, but usually chords on guitar sound better if you start with the root note. Plus the interval between C and low E is so distant that it sounds out of place. That's why most people don't play it.
  3. slybass3000

    slybass3000 Banned

    Nov 5, 2004
    In a chord you can play any note you want in the order you want as many times as you want. It is call a VOICING. Some sound better then others. Like Jimmy said it is better to have the root in the bottom unless you are going for an inversion like C/E or C/G.

  4. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    In theory, you can play the "E".

    Reality? Playing the Open "E" will make the band sound worse(i.e muddies up the sound).
    Also, playing the Open "E" really restricts the bass & almost forces the bassist to play nothing but an "E".
    This practice is as bad as a keyboardist pounding out the Root with his Left Hand.

    I used to play with this guitarist; very schooled & technical PLUS good feel, BUT-
    ...sometimes, he would get too exhuberant & by accident(I assume) play/strike the Open "E" on any chord.
    Throw in the fact that he played extremely loud & we, as a band, sounded out of tune('cause I don't like playing Roots all the time).
    Other comments? The bass is too loud...when, in fact, it was his sorry ass! ;)

    Granted, there is a time for LOUD Open "E" string playing.

    What I've found is cool is this-
    The guitarist who is careful with his voicings(like Steve Khan) doesn't need to play ALL the notes available in a chord...3 or 4 notes, played on the D-G-B-E strings, can imply the chord(sorry, Root position chords may have their place...but can be both predictable & boring).
    The bassist, then, has the lower voices covered & mucho freedom.

    Example: On a guitar Barre the notes at the 5th fret, D-G-B-E strimgs only(notes = G-C-E-A)...that looks like Am7, right(A-C-E-G).
    Let the chord sustain & play an "A" on the bass.
    ...now try the same chord with "F" in the bass.

    Hear how the chord changed?
    (Am7 to Fmaj9).
  5. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Just thought of another example-
    We used to cover "My Old School" by The Yellowjackets.

    There is a "G" chord with a "G#" in the bass.
    Now, if I play my "G#" on the "E"-string & the chording instrument(guitar in my case) played a Root position "G" chord. You should be able to tell that may sound like the bass is either out of tune or playing the wrong note.
    (This particular tune was not about dissonance, either!).
  6. slybass3000

    slybass3000 Banned

    Nov 5, 2004
    It is a good way to write or play a diminished chord with a major7.

  7. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    What worked for that G/G#(bass) was this-

    The guitarist played the G on the D-B-E strings(B-D-G notes, respectively) while I played the G# on the E-string.

Share This Page