How do I read this?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Brock385, Feb 18, 2001.

  1. Brock385


    Nov 5, 2000
    click here

    I'm talking about hte charts, btw.
    How would one go about reading it?
    What do all the things mean? (the R's, 3's, 5's)

  2. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Those are chords. The position of the string and fret to be played is shown. The R stands for Root which is the first note of the chord. The 3 is for the major third interval of the chord which is the third note in the scale from which the chord is extracted. The 5 is for the fifth interval (perfect fifth) and is the second most played interval in bass guitar after the root note. The 8 is the eighth interval often called the octave which is really the same note as the root note, but one octave higher.

    Those are from the C major chord.

    Here is the C major scale and the names of the intervals in that scale. The C major scale has no sharps or flats. The intervals with the * are the ones demonstrated on the chord charts you linked us to.

    C= root*
    D= major second
    E= major third*
    F= perfect fourth
    G= perfect fifth*
    A= major sixth
    B= major seventh
    C= octave*

    The root, major third, perfect fifth and octave are very useful intervals for a new bass player to learn because they are so often played in major chords.

    If you still aren't sure what is meant, please ask again and somneone here will be able to explain it.

    jason oldsted
  3. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I checked further. There are a couple other things you should know there that will help you. The numbers are scale degrees...what I explained above. But there is a box above that you can click that will give you the note names instead of the degrees. That is a good feature too. But knowing the degrees helps you, because you can play any major chord if you know the degrees that chord has within it.

    There is a box you can click that changes the chord from C to any other chord you wish to click, such as G, E , A, B flat, etc.

    There is also a box called "Inversions". It has the choices, 0, 1, 2, 3, etc. What this means is that the scale degrees of the chord are not always played in numerical order...ex: R, 3, 5, 8. It could be played in another inversion, with, say, the fifth first, then the third, then the root or another arrangement of the intervals.

    This is an excellent tool Active Bass offers beginners or anyone who has been playing awhile but wishes to improve their understanding of chord structure.

    jason oldsted
  4. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    One more box. It is called "Quality". It chooses the type of chord, major, minor, augmented, diminished and others. If you choose C minor (or any minor), for example, you will see a b3. That means flat third or minor third (either name is used.) That means it is the third degree dropped one fret lower than the major third. It is important, because it gives the minor "sound" to a chord. Also, you never want to play a minor third if the chord is major, nor do you want to play a major third, id the chord is minor.

    As a beginner, you will do well to learn to play both major and minor chords.

    Now I'm done. Honest.

    jason newsted