Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Playing Chords

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by MajesticFrog, Mar 19, 2006.


  1. MajesticFrog

    MajesticFrog

    Feb 22, 2006
    NC
    I am trying to learn chords on the bass right now, (guitar style, not arpeggios). I find them almost impossible, and sometimes completely impossible, to finger. For instance, some of the chord positions I have seen require my pinky to stretch like 3 frets which is just insane with the position my hand has to be in. Its hard enough with a more normal hand position.

    Is this normal? Am I doing something wrong?
     
  2. anonymous278347457

    anonymous278347457 Guest

    Feb 12, 2005
    I find chords hard too(unless you mean power chords). If you play them above the 12th fret (an octave higher), it will be easier. becasue the frets are smaller.

    but having said that i still find them hard
     
  3. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    They sound better above the 12 fret too. I find it hard to change chords fast so I don't do it; double stops aren't too hard though.
     
  4. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Using low action and lighter gauge strings helps a lot in making it easier to transition between different chords.

    Here is my list of chord fingering charts if you haven't seen it- I only put down the fingerings that were easiest for me to play, and most don't require much stretching. Remember that it is usually much simpler to leave out the 5th, and it is seldom necessary to play it (unless the chord has a flat 5 or augmented 5). Since the fifth doesn't give much information at all about what chord you're playing (again unless it's sharp or flat), I usually don't play it at all. I've listed chord fingerings played without the fifth on the right side of each page.
    Chord fingering charts
     
  5. MajesticFrog

    MajesticFrog

    Feb 22, 2006
    NC
    Thanks, that should help.


    Above the 12th fret is actually harder for me in lots of cases that 7-9th fret. Just cause then the damn frets are too small and the angle of my hand is wrong for playing chords. My 35" scale bass doesn't help things either!
     
  6. tbone0813

    tbone0813 The faithless say farewell when the road darkens.

    Aug 6, 2005
    Grand Prairie, TX.
    Check out Mike Dimin's Chordal Approach book. I have it, and have learned a lot about chords as well as chord substitution & rehamonization techniques. It's good to know the chords, but your playing will open up even more when you know how to use them to their fullest.
     
  7. +1 on Mike Dimin's "Chordal Approach" book. Excellent resource.:bassist:
     
  8. BMGecko

    BMGecko

    Sep 5, 2002
    Albuquerque, NM
    Mike Dimin's book IS really good, but I've found it to be frustrating. I've found it frustrating in the way that it has opened up new things to me as a bass player, and I'm getting much more real practice time in now since I'm hearing harmony and chord progressions better. Arrgh! His book is GREAT!

    But more on chords...

    I find that playing shords isn't so bad, and you can really increase your chord repetoire by learning the inversions to chords. The inversions seem to sound more "open" to my ears than playing a straight "root-third-five" chord.

    An example of an inversion (if you're unfamilair) is to start with the "normal" C major chord by playing a "C" on the eighth fret of the "E" string, an "E" on the seventh fret of the "A" string, and an "G" on the "D" string. Perhaps this sounds muddy, but wait! You can play it a little differently...

    Play the E and G notes on the same strings, but now play the C on the fifth fret of the "G" string. Sounds different now, doesn't it?

    Now play the G on the 10th fret of the "A" string, the C on the 10th fret of the "D" string, and finally the E on the 9th fret of the "G" string. Sounds different again.

    All three are the same chord, but the character changes dramatically.

    There are other neat things you can do with chords on bass, even in the lower register such as playing an A on the "E" string" an F# on the "D" string, and a c# on the "G" string...

    Messing around with different voicings around the neck, and thinking as vertically as you can, letting your imagination (or even boredom) lead you to different places are starting points that you can use to get your chordal knowledge and vocabulary up to a level where YOU create the language that is already in you, waiting to find its voice in your playing.
     
  9. I love chords. I'm working on a song right now (potentially my first original composition) that is almost completely made up of minor chords. If I ever organize it enough to call it a song, and if I ever get some recording equipment, I'll share with ya.
     
  10. Kheos

    Kheos

    Aug 12, 2002
    Belgium
    I usually just play 1,3,7. If you play it like that, there are allways at least two nice methods: the 3 string and the four string

    for instance, you could play a minor 7 chord by playing

    Code:
    G
    D   X
    AX
    E   X
    
    or like this
    
    
    G X
    D X
    A 
    E X
    
    
    you could play a major 7 chord by playing

    Code:
    G
    D    X
    AX
    E  X
    
    or like this
    
    
    G   X
    D X
    A 
    E X
    
    
    you could play a 7 chord by playing

    Code:
    G
    D  X
    AX
    E  X
    
    or like this
    
    
    G   X
    D   X
    A 
    E X
    
    
     
  11. Depends on the chord. You can always tap the chord with two hands. What chords are you talking about?