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interesting chords for basses with high c?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by J.Wolf, Nov 27, 2017.


  1. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Gear Reviewer - Bass Musician Magazine Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    Looking for some new inspiration of chord voicings. I am stuck in the rut of minor 7th chords and 7 chords, and looking for some resources with fingerings (and tab ideally) with some chordal exercises and ideas. Anyone have any suggestions?
     
  2. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    Here is a technique/exercise I picked up from reading Jimmy Herrings columns in Guitar Player and from Allan Holdsworths instructional video (if you are going to steal steal from the best). Write out a scale diagram and chose a scale tone on each string that you want to play.

    C/S,
    Rev J
     
    theguy316, 77stingray and csc2048b like this.
  3. Yeah, if you know your fretboard, and enough theory to spell chords, it’s not difficult to find 3 chord notes on adjacent strings, within 4 frets of each other.

    If you don’t know your fretboard, I encourage any bassist to learn it.

    If you don’t know theory, learn how to spell major, minor, and suspended triads, 6, and 7 chords, plus suspended and diminished.

    The next step is learning common progressions, so you know how to do I-IV-V, I-vi-IV, and so on.
     
    jfh2112 likes this.
  4. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Gear Reviewer - Bass Musician Magazine Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    Thanks.
     
  5. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Gear Reviewer - Bass Musician Magazine Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    Anyone else have specific chord resources for 5 or 6 string, 4 note chords specifically? Thanks
     
  6. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Gear Reviewer - Bass Musician Magazine Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    same here. I recently was trying to pick out the chords on his "Day Tripper" and was having a tough time figuring out whats what in those 4 note chord structures. I have his book on order, and am looking forward to checking it out. In the meantime, any youtube lesson with "advanced" bass chording would be great. Something like this, but that actually goes into the chords and explains them a little more.

     
    jebmd likes this.
  7. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Dallas
    If fingerings are what you are after
    You could always google image search "5 string bass guitar chord chart"

    EDIT:
    <deleted image because It was not for 5 string bass - see post # 15 below>

    But it's like being handed a dictionary and asked to compose poetry.

    Better to work backwards:
    find a song or chord progression you like
    identify the chord tones
    figure out how to play them on your bass
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
  8. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Gear Reviewer - Bass Musician Magazine Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    thank you, this is helpful.
     
  9. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    The chords, in and of themselves are way less cool than using them in the context of a song or chord progression. Using inversions and/or chord substitutions that lend themselves to cool voice leading. Also look at the melodic notes and upper structure of the chord (b9, #9, 13, etc) to add richness and uniqueness to the voicing.
     
  10. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Gear Reviewer - Bass Musician Magazine Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    thanks Mike. I guess that what I'm driving at, is looking for cooler voicings for familiar opportunities. Like if I see a F7, what options work instead of the tired three note chord I have been wearing a hole in. I also hear other guys using tensions in really hip ways, and am looking for ways to spice up familiar chordal patterns that I am used to.
     
  11. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    You know I've been doing this a long time and so I hear exactly what you're saying. Personally, as I investigated voice leading, primarily, it pushed me into new voicings. Many of them omitting the root. In context of a chord progression, rootless chords make more sense than just on their own. For example if I was voicing a ii-V-I in D Major, I might voice the E-7: E, G, D to the A7: E, G, C# to a D6 or DM7. The A7 is voiced more like be a C# diminished (therefore an E dim, G dim, Bb dim). Of course you can also substitute and Eb7 for the A7. There's tons of permutations. Or how about using a #9 chord voiced A, C#, G, C? That sounds really hip.
     
  12. bfields

    bfields

    Apr 9, 2015
    Except those are all for standard 6-string EAGBE tuning, unless I'm misreading the charts somehow.

    I've yet to wear a hole in my 3-note F7 voicings, personally. (Eight of them--open and closed versions for each inversion.)
     
  13. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Dallas
    you are correct! My fault for not scrutinizing. Thanks, google!
     
    bfields likes this.
  14. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Dallas
    surprisingly googling this was not as simple as I thought.
    There are plenty of hits for 4 string or guitar chords but very few 5 string chord charts.
    I did find this interesting web app that lets you select a chord and display the resulting diagram
    There is a similar web app at study bass
    and of course plenty of material for sale on amazon

    I am generally an advocate learning what is needed to create your own chart.
    The only book or chart I ever purchased for bass was a simple set of diagrams for the 12 intervals.
    after that, I grabbed the graph paper and made my own charts for scales and arpeggios.
    It really is not so difficult to learn the underlying structure of chord tones and figure out the fingerings yourself.
    As the bass is a symmetrical instrument, the shapes of intervals/scales/chords are easily movable.
    So you can worry more about shapes and less about note names. (But you do need to be able to 'spell' those chords!)
    Working it out for yourself solidifies the shapes in your mind much better than rote memorization of a chart.

    Weather the chordal ideas are useful or musical is more a matter of context or composition.
    That's where finding and deconstructing songs you like comes in.
     
    J.Wolf likes this.
  15. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    <<<<<<<
     
  16. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Gear Reviewer - Bass Musician Magazine Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    thanks for this info everyone
     
  17. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    Okay, so it sounds like you're not really looking for fingering charts or even bass-specific techniques; you're looking for some advanced music theory to allow you to understand chord substitutions, upper-structure triads, tensions/alterations, and other ways to access a richer harmonic vocabulary.

    I've found that the best resources for that sort of info are definitely not bass-centric. You can learn vastly more about harmony if you study harmony away from the instrument -- or at least away from the bass; having a piano nearby has often been a godsend for me -- and then once you've gotten your head wrapped around the concept then go and figure out how to apply it to the bass. Which at that point you shouldn't need a book or a video for (so long as you know your way around the fingerboard and understand the fundamentals of intervals & chord construction).

    Andy Jaffe wrote some excellent instructional books on advanced jazz harmony. Don Sebesky's arranging treatise is also a goldmine of chord voicings (though it's more geared towards writing for a multi-instrument ensemble than about harmonic theory per se). If you want to take a decidedly non-jazz approach to harmony, Paul Hindemuth's "A Concentrated Course In Traditional Harmony", Arnold Schoenberg’s “Theory of Harmony (Harmonielehre)”, Joseph Strauss' "Introduction To Post-Tonal Theory" and John Rahn's "Basic Atonal Theory" will give you a vast vocabulary of harmonic ideas & techniques to consider the next time you want to find an alternativee to a tired three-note F7.
     
  18. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    One of my teachers back at Berklee. Great stuff
     
  19. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Dallas
    I think "shell chord" voicings are a strong foundation for exploring ways to voice and connect jazz chords.

    the basic concept is to spell a 4 note chord using only 1, 3, and 7 (dropping the 5th)
    Sometimes even the root is left out - assuming the bass player will play it :)
    The 3rd and 7th are the core functional tones describing the chord quality
    3rd telling us minor vs major , 7th stable vs resolving.

    If you build your chord progression starting with the shell voicing, you will find that as you move around the circle of fourths/fifths you get very smooth, step wise motion as the 3rd of one chord moves the 7th of the next chord , similarly the 7th of one chord moves to the 3rd of the next. From there you add in the root and the melody note, and /or other extensions as your experience and taste dictate.


    This example is for guitar, but you ought to be able to figure out a bass fingering.
     
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