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possibly setting myself up for embarrasment here, but...

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by richardjones89, Jun 13, 2007.


  1. richardjones89

    richardjones89

    Jun 6, 2007
    can you play chords on a bass guitar?

    i know of power chords, but i dont know how they are transcribed to bass because it seems playing more than two strings at once sounds horrible. must be my bad technique. :crying:

    but anyway, how are these chords, if they exsist, structured? are they similar to guitar chords?
     
  2. Foamy

    Foamy

    Jun 26, 2006
    Sac Area
    You can play chords.
    They are not always the same as guitar, but can still be cool. Geddy plays chords, and Tovy Levin plays chords. They are often only 2 notes, not necessarily 3.
     
  3. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    The first section of this solo performance is a really cool example of chords on the bass guitar played with regular fingerstyle.
     
  4. Raum

    Raum

    Jun 13, 2007
    What about just playing guitar chords the same way on a bass? For instance, looking at the guitar tab to a song and playing it how you would on a guitar on a 6 string bass? That's what I've always done, played chords the same on either instrument. Is there a reason why people don't do this much?
     
  5. first...string spacing makes it difficult to do....but on the upper registers you certainly can play chords similar to guitar....

    only problem, is that bass guitar's low notes tend to sound really muddy really fast when you start putting in more than 2 or 3 notes in a chord...

    2 notes (a double-stop) is the most common "chord" structure on a bass, and does quite a bit in most cases to add enough texture to playing...

    I personally don't chord much in my playing, except for the occasional root-third root-fourth and root-fifth stuff to add "thickness" to a line...


    to help bass chords sound cleaner....pluck the notes...this emphasizes the upper harmonics of the string and makes it sound "nicer"
     
  6. jsbachonbass

    jsbachonbass

    May 16, 2006
    Denton, TX
    The perfect chord follows the harmonics of a string ( from low to high:root, octave, 5th,octave, 3rd, 5th, octave). The lower the register, the larger the intervals should be. An example would be playing low G,B,D (1,3,5) together versus playing low G,D, B (1,5,10(3)). First one is muddy as hell.
     
  7. DocBop

    DocBop

    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Todd Johnson does a little with chords on bass. Check this out....

    Todd Johnson solo bass

    Todd has his own forum here in TB and his web site has move videos and such.

    Also check out Mike Dimin another chordal master on bass.

    Mike Dimin

    Mike wrote a cool little book on playing chords on bass.

    For me the best thing about learning to play chords on bass I can pull out my Real Book and loop the chord progression to a tune to practice to. I can check out the sound of chord subsitutions then try use the appropriate scale to imply a different chord in my solo. When jamming with another bass player I can play chords for a chorus so progression get in our ear. Learning the basic chords can be very helpful even if you don't use them on stage.
     
  8. Jonny B

    Jonny B

    Nov 5, 2006
    WI
    I love Stu Hamm. It is always a joy to watch him play. And that's a great DVD.
     
  9. That was excellent! Thanks for the link!
     
  10. Raum

    Raum

    Jun 13, 2007
    String spacing doesn't bother me much, it's just awkward playing them with how hard you have to press down. As far as spacing goes though I can play them fine on either a 4 or 6 string, just chords where one finger frets two strings are tougher on 4 strings but were always feasible for me.

    I noticed that if you play chords with the frets close it often does sound muddy. For instance, playing the 5th fret on the lowest string and 3rd fret on next one up sounds crappy, but reverse it and play the 5th fret on the higher string, making a bigger difference in sounds...works better IMO. Clearly I don't have any understanding of what I'm talking about, this is just what I've noticed messing around with chords. I like them a lot. Something I do a lot is using the 3rd fret 5th fret positioning wherever on the fretboard and hit the low string, then the high string, then slide each up 2 or 3 frets, then repeat that sequence two more times. Has a nifty sound to it.
     
  11. Just once you realise that, for example, the chord shape for d-major on the guitar does not necessarily translate to the chord shape of d-major on a six string bass as it would be tuned differently, unless of course you'd tune your bass an octave lower to guitar tuning.
     
  12. morf

    morf Inactive

    Feb 17, 2006
    Sure, you can play chords, its alot of fun :)
     
  13. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Feb 27, 2021

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