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!  

How to?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by John_Alec_Lives, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. John_Alec_Lives


    Mar 24, 2009
    I want to play a simple song with a friend of mine who plays the acoustic guitar.
    These are the chords he is playing: Am-Em-D-E.

    What am I supposed to play to support his each chord?
    For instance, when he is playing the E chord on his guitar, I am supposed to play the E string on my bass?

    And what about A minor?

    In general, is there this "direct" connection between the chords of the guitar and the single notes of the bass? Or there are differences?

    We are supposed to play tomorrow and I cant find a bass tab for this song so please help me out! And I dont want to look for the correct stuff to play with him while we are together. I want to have it ready by today..

    Thanks in advance :)
  2. Joe Murray

    Joe Murray

    May 14, 2008
    Fairfax, VA
    The quick answer would be to just play the root notes.
  3. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    your primary job as bass player is to outline the basic rhythm and harmony of the piece... this frequently means supplying ROOT NOTES...

    the root note of a chord is the letter it's named after... e.g. the root note of Em is the note 'E'

    so, your starting point is probably to ensure he gets a big strong root note on the first beat of each bar...
  4. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Chords are (technically) 3 notes played at the same time. So, yes, there's a direct connection between the chords and the bass notes. But it's a bit of a process to learn what you need in a day.

    Start with the chord progression. It's |Am|Em|D|E|, right? That's kinda weird but anyway..

    Start with playing an A note for the A minor chord, an E for the E minor, D for the D, and E for the E. Those are the roots of the chord and the most important bass note.

    Then find the fifth. The chords are made up of a root, a third, and a fifth. For Amin those three notes are A, C, and E. For Emin they're E, G, B. For D they're D, F#, and A. and for E they're E, G#, and B. So the next step is to play A and E for the Amin, E and B for the Emin, D and A for the D, and E and B for the E chord.

    After that it's more important to connect the chords to each other by finding notes that will move you from one to the other. Which ones? Well, that depends a lot on the rhythm, the feel, the sound, and the melody. Ain't no one way, ain't no one "best" way either.

    But if you play just the roots and fifths, support the rhythm, and keep good time you'll be fine.

  5. honestjohnny


    Nov 24, 2006
    In the long term, you should invest in some bass instruction books (Bass Guitar for Dummies, is a great resourse despite the name ;-D).

    In the short term, the simplest approach would be to play the roots of each chord. So A-E-D-E in this example. You could stretch a bit and play the third of each chord on the 2 and the fifth on the 3 (just make sure you hit the root when the guitarist initially switches to the next chord), then play the octave (same as the root, but on a higher string or 7 notes from the root). In your example, you could play A-C-E-A, E-G-B-E, D-F#-A-D, E-G#-B-E.
  6. John_Alec_Lives


    Mar 24, 2009
    Thanks guys! :)
    These really answer all my questions :D.
  7. DudeistMonk


    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ
    Check out http://studybass.com it has some really good explanations of some of the things just mentioned, along with tracks and examples.
  8. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Check out the link in my sig. for some info that may apply to you.
  9. ..the chord progression has both E minor AND E major?

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.