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Help with a chord progression

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by BulbofPassion, Jun 10, 2012.

  1. BulbofPassion


    Mar 25, 2012
    Savage, MD
    So I'm trying to come up with a bassline for this song the guitarist of the band I'm in gave me and I feel like it should have a more melodic bassline but the progression is B C and then switches up to G F#. The only melodic technique I know is passing and leading tones but I can't really do that here can I? If I make use of more strings I could get from G to F and make it sound alright but, there's nothing in between B and C so I feel like I'm stuck doing the roots which I don't think sounds good in this situation.
    I was doing 2-2-2-4-5-6-3-3-3-5-6-7 on A and then the same thing on E when it switches. That's the best I've come up with using a leading tones type of thing but it doesn't really lead into the other chord.
    I feel terribly nooby but I really am just drawing a blank. My mind is kinda mushy right now. Any suggestions or tips? Or is that line actually alright? I mean it sounds alright I'm just worried it's not like, proper. Or something.
  2. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    Are these all power chords or are there some majors, minors and 7ths stuff happening that you arent telling us?
  3. +1 to the above. Also, is there a melody involved?
  4. BulbofPassion


    Mar 25, 2012
    Savage, MD
    I totally forgot to mention that. They're just power chords.
    I didn't even think about scales until just now. Maybe I can do something with scales
  5. BulbofPassion


    Mar 25, 2012
    Savage, MD
    There is. I'm not really sure how to describe it though. I also think I used the word melodic wrong. I mean like, something that doesn't pause when the guitar does for a short period in between chords and has that leading tone type of sound.
  6. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Instead of thinking in terms of music theory (what chord, scale, etc suits), why not simply forget about the bass for now, and try to hum or sing a suitable bass line. This frees up your brain and lets it run free, so to speak. When you think you have come up with something suitable, then pick up the bass and play it.
  7. BulbofPassion


    Mar 25, 2012
    Savage, MD
    I kind of did a fusion of the two (thinking in theory and humming in my head to the guitar) for the line I have down. I just feel like something is wrong though
  8. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    What is the genre and what is the song about?

    I would write completely different basslines if the song were about dead babies, partying too hard, pain or loss or ...whatever. But I may have some ideas for you.

    How many beats per measure? I noticed your line had 12 notes instead of 16 or 8.... is there anything happening rhythm wise we need to know?

    edit: actually... screw it, I'll just throw these two out there and if you can use something or can adapt it, great.



    If you want any other ideas or want to throw more info at me, shoot me a PM. I love helping with this sort of thing.
  9. It uses power chords, so I would assume its major.

    You have the chords being: " the progression is B C and then switches up to G F#".

    Lets also assume your guitar buddy decided to forgetting about or ignore the C# and G#, that are in the B scale, if this is the case we now have:


    I would not have chosen that progression, but, it would work. The old standby is follow the chords and root on 1, then if you need more, root-5 or R-5-8-5 and see how that goes. As it's power chords you normally forget about the 3's and since you mentioned melodic - if all else fails try B major pentatonic R-2-3-5-6 over the entire progression - find the beat and hang on. If that does not get it then try the chord's major pentatonic notes over each chord. I doubt you having room for that, but, give it a try.

    {Edit} Little more on following the chords. If the chords go out and everyone follows them out it's going to sound OK, so first rule; follow the chords and play notes of the chord, i.e. chord tones. If the person that decided what chords will harmonize the melody, knew his stuff, you'll be OK. Begs the question does your guitar buddy, or the songwritter, "know his stuff"? You were handed a piece of sheet music, your first responsibility is to follow the chords on the sheet music. Which is what you have done, if you think melodic is needed play notes of the scale instead of notes of the chord. Which ones? Can't help with that, beyond what I have already said - would need to see the sheet music.
    Bass Patterns based upon the Major Scale box.
    G|---2---|-------|---3---|---4---| 1st string
    E|-------|---R---|-------|---2---|4th string
  10. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    Try something in B Phrygian and see if that works with the melody.
  11. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    Or G lydian, which would cover the C# as the 5th in the F#. So B phrygian would work for the first two chords, but not the last two and G lydian would work only on the last two. I realize that we're getting away from typical root motion, but that might be just what makes this song sound different, if that's what the OP is looking for.

    On the other hand, if something you're doing sounds wrong, it might be that there is something in the progression that you are missing. For example,

    |Bmin CMaj | GMaj F#-7(5) | would be iii IV I vii in G Major.
  12. BulbofPassion


    Mar 25, 2012
    Savage, MD
    Alright, thanks a lot. This will help. I was very hesitant because I felt like I really should know this and frankly I was embarrassed to ask. Everybody is usually cool here though.
    As far as whether he knows his stuff, Kinda. Not that I know too much myself (obviously) but he just kinda played it on guitar and told me what the chords were, I don't have a sheet. Neither of us know how to do that. As far as the melody goes I'm not sure. I might be able to on this song.
  13. BulbofPassion


    Mar 25, 2012
    Savage, MD
    Thanks everybody else. Having this as reference will help
  14. From what you were saying I got the impression that this was one of those "sound good chord progressions", i.e. something pulled together that sounded good, no theory involved. Which is fine if everyone can follow along.

    Good luck and have fun.
  15. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    When writing lines, forget theory, all theory does is give you part of the information, that information is part of the feel and instinct to play what you hear or see is going on around you.
    Since a song will have rhythm, melody, dynamics, feel, implication, etc theory will not supply this alone.
    Theory is just one part of the imagination process, that mental/physical relationship that allows you to think free rather than relate to learning teaching script, and is the difference between trusting your instincts and ignoring them in favour of acceptance.
    By that I mean trying to make the line more than the song needs, sometimes simple is in front of our eyes and if simple is best trust it and go with it.......you can always build on simple.:)
  16. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Malcom is often spot on, but I disagree. for a few reasons:
    • Just because it's power chords is no reason to assume it's major.
      (plus, power chords favored by metal and its minor/ diminshed root movements.)
    • B to C is a half step, so it cannot be I-ii
    • As malcom noted, the Key of B needs a C# and a G# -so the key of B major is unlikely

    When I see two power chords a half step away form each other I instantly think the V-VI or ii-IIIof a minor key.
    If that were the case, B-C-G-F#would be V-VI-III-ii in E minor.

    So my approach would be Play the root notes on strong beats and riff around in E minor pentatonic to connect them.
    and if the guitarist needs a chorus , tell him the theory would imply something like E minor to A minor :)

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