# fifths ?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by seville8, Jan 22, 2001.

1. ### seville8

Sep 8, 2000
Virginia
I am trying to learn some good theory..I know that in playing bass that you play the arpeggios (which is the 3 notes of the chord)..so can someone define for me fifths or the fifth note if the chord is built on 3 notes?...any help would be appreciated..Thanks

2. ### TurockSupporting Member

Apr 30, 2000
Melnibone
A three note G chord... G is the root, B is the 3rd, and D is the 5th. D chord... D is the root, F# is the 3rd and A is the 5th. Try fingering the G chord like this, middle finger on root (G), index finger on 3rd (B), pinky on 5th (D). Try fingering the D chord the same way. Do you see the pattern? If so, you can move this pattern anywhere on the neck. Hope this will help you.

3. ### seville8

Sep 8, 2000
Virginia
I have been playing for a few years and have always played by ear or hit and miss I should say.. so I am trying to learn to read proficiently and understand music theory and you guys here have been extremely valuable!

4. ### TurockSupporting Member

Apr 30, 2000
Melnibone
Anytime dude.
That example was for a major chord. To make it minor, just move the 3rd back a half step (B flat instead of B for the G example).

5. ### gruffpuppy

Aug 15, 2000
now invert them
playing up the neck in G
go G, B, D,
B, D, G,
D, G, B, and so on until you get to the 12th fret on the G string.
once you get this down try adding the maj. 7th and then run thru the same drill
the maj. seventh of G would be F#

Turock is definetly right, all these patterns on bass are movable.

6. ### Gard

Mar 31, 2000
Greensboro, NC, USA
It's also useful to understand WHY the notes are referred to as they are in chord construction.

The root or 1 is obvious, but 3rd and 5th may not be to some people. The way to understand this is to relate the notes to scale numbers or what are more correctly called scale degrees. Using the example of a G chord here we go:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (8)
G A B C D E F# (G)

That is a G major scale, and if you take the root or 1, the 3rd and the 5th of that scale, you've made a major triad. As gruffpuppy pointed out, flatting the 3rd would make it a G minor triad. This gets helpful when you start to look at chords that have more notes in them than simple triads.

But first, it's good to have a solid grip on your triads. Using the major scale you can create "formulas" for all the triad types:

Major:
R 3 5
G B D

Minor:
R b3 5
G Bb D

Diminished:
R b3 b5
G Bb Db

Augmented:
R 3 #5
G B D#

I'd recommend finding some simple one octave (R 3 5 8) patterns for these chord types, and practicing them a bit. Get the shapes comfortable under your hand, and also even more importantly get your ear familiar with the sound of each of them. As Turock pointed out, the shapes are "transposable", once you get a fingering for one key (say G), you can then just move it around to get all the other 12 keys of that chord.

Once you get that down, take it further as gruff suggested, and find the inversions (just starting the chord from a note other than the root, but don't worry with that just yet). THEN mess with more extended versions of them. Once you get comfy with that, let me know, and I'll show you how 7th chords work .

7. ### seville8

Sep 8, 2000
Virginia
Thanks for the help Gard...learning all the theory behind playing sure helps in understanding how to constuct a good bassline BUT at the same time it can be overwhelming !

8. ### Gard

Mar 31, 2000
Greensboro, NC, USA
Say-bee-ya -

Well, look at learning this stuff like a big steak. If you try to swallow that whole 20oz porterhouse in one bite, it's pretty overwhelming. I'd say almost impossible . On the other hand, if you take a knife and cut it down to more manageable bites, it's not that difficult to finish off.

That analogy transfers to learning theory fairly well. Don't try to grasp the entire picture at once, just learn small "bites" until you get the whole steak in your belly. And don't be in too much of a hurry, I've been working on my porterhouse for 20 years + now, and I'm nowhere near being done eating.

Make "baby-steps" through the whole process. Learn the one octave arpeggio (chords one note at a time) shapes in "root position" (the root as the lowest note) for the major chords. You should try to learn 2 or 3 alternative fingerings. Then practice them for a week (more or less, depending on your own pace and understanding), playing them in all 12 keys. After you are comfortable with them, add the next "family" of triads, minor - mix and serve the same way. Continue until you've gone through the 4 different triads. It will take a while, but you'll really know them then, and it will make the next step easier. Then we'll talk about inversions, extensions, etc, etc, so on, so forth.

9. ### BoplicitySupporting Member

Gard, your answers are always so complete and well explained that it is hard to add anything, but I just discovered that the February Bass Player magazine, on pages 98 and 99 (Doghouse 101 by Rich Appleman, head of the Berklee bass department) has a fifths workshop with explanation and some exercizes which might be helpful to the original poster.

Appleman says something I didn't know, but probably should have guessed. The fifth is the second most played interval in bass lines after the root.

jason oldsted