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Chordal Practice suggestions

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Muyy, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. Muyy


    Sep 4, 2009
    Orlando, Fl
    Hey everyone, I have my bass strung E-C because I enjoy the sound and like playing chords with a looper and working on things of that nature. I have been looking through the real book for some songs and have begun comping on things like All Blues and Blue Bossa. Does anyone have some songs that they could recommend that would be good practice for someone just starting out with this style of playing? Also, I have often heard of substitutions but have never got a definitive lesson on how to build those chords and make them sound musical. So if anyone could offer a youtube video or book that helped them with substitutions and comping I would be grateful. Thanks!
  2. G00D+~VIBES


    Nov 21, 2008
    Kansas City
    Autumn Leaves
  3. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    OK lets get substitutions behind us right at first. Chord substitutions - dirt simple:
    Major to minor or minor to major. C to Cm or Cm to C.
    The ii and IV chords are both sub-dominant chords, each wanting to go to a dominant chord so they can sub for each other. The V or vii diminished chord are both dominant chords so they can sub for each other. Use the V if you want to resolve quickly V-I. Use vii if you want to resolve like in a turn-a-round vii-iii-vi-ii-V7-I. Or move somewhere; let the vii-iii-vi take you. There is more, and involves will the substitute chord still harmonize the active melody - BUT for what you are asking I would recommend you not get involved with substitution, or composing a chord progression - thus there is no need for you to go off on a substitution journey or inversions right now, later perhaps. Use chord progressions that other people have already written. Song books usually can be purchased for pennies per song. One hundred songs in a book for $19.95. Jazzbooks.com or Amazon.com are both a good place to start. The Real Book, sixth edition will have most of the old jazz standards in bass clef with chord names shown. Be aware most of the standard notation is for the melody - not the bass line - you compose that as you think best. Google can find a chord chart on most anything.

    Where to find chord progressions? You are already there - any real book that shows the chord progressions - grab a song and build a bass line. Roots first. When that gets old add a 5 for R-5 or R-5-R-5. Need something more put more of the chord tones into your comping bass line. R-3-5-8 is a generic major chord bass line. R-b3-5-8 would be the generic minor chord bass line. Look at the second video I've listed below. The 3rd video goes into detail on how to use the notes of the chord to form your bass line.

    Look for backing tracks that list the chords and see what you can do with that. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2YQz5FuLYg&feature=relmfu OK you now have the chords here is how a bass line under those chords could be played. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqcPaI8tsDo

    Here is a video that goes into a little more detail on how to play THE chord's spelling for your bass line. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeeO44SvWbk

    I let Google find me chord charts all the time. Use these words in your search; guitar chords, "name of the song" the comma and quote marks narrow down the search. I also use; video, with chords, "name of the song" and then use that video as a play-a-long. If you want to get specific; bass cover, "name of the song" has pulled up some interesting videos.

    Have fun.
  4. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    All the Things You Are is a great vehicle for chordal work. I've attached a file of three-note voicings for each type of chord used in that composition. These generally work best above the 9th fret.

    A word or two on substitutions:

    1) the good-old tritone sub for a Dom7 chord: 3 whole steps above the root of the Dom7 is the root of the tritone substitution, also a Dom7 chord. For example the tritone sub for G7 is Db7 (and vice versa due to the symmetrical nature of the scale on either side of the tritone).

    2) Another way to sub for a Dom7 chord is to use a related ii V. For G7, sub Bmin7(b5) E7(b9). So instead of:

    | G7 | CMaj7 | you get

    |Bmin7(b5) E7(b9) | Amin7 | note that Amin is the relative minor to CMajor, so you've sort of gone to a similar place. Also note that Bmin7(b5) is a direct sub for G7 in that the two chord contain the following notes:

    G7: G B D F
    Bmin7(b5): B D F A

    Three notes are in common and the two most important for creating the dominant character of a Dom7 chord are B and F, which, as it so happens, are a tritone away from one another.

    Choices for substitutions are highly dependent upon the melody notes, however. The notes in the melody should be compatible with the chord choices made when subbing.

    Attached Files:

  5. Muyy


    Sep 4, 2009
    Orlando, Fl
    Thanks guys! That was definitely the best explanation I've heard yet. I'll keep working through the Real Book and whatever else I can get my hands on. Back to the shed for some practice. haha