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question about chords

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by jonathan_matos5, Apr 14, 2006.

  1. ive only been taking lessons for about a month and im definatly still a newbie so dont get mad if this question is dumb.:bag:

    im starting to learn how to play using scales and chords and i need to know how imortant it is when playing a song with a 7th 9th 11th 13th etc chord to hit that particular note whithin the scale:confused: :help:


  2. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    Great question.

    IMHO they are not as important as the first three tone of a chord. It depends on what you are trying to do. If you want to really enforce the chord changes then you should try to keep things more fundemental and focus on the 1 and 5 etc. If you are soloing and have someone playing the chords then those notes (9th, 13th, etc) can really add to your sound.
  3. i dont think ill be playing solos any time soon but im putting an emphasis on jazz in for my lessons that im taking because there is more that a bassist can do in jazz there is currently no sheet music available to me so i have to improvize bass lines

    do i still need to stick to root 3rd 5th or do the other notes now play a larger role
  4. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    There are better qualified bassists here to give this advice, but I'll try.

    You don't need to stick to the 1,3,5, but don't go too far from them untill you are comfortable doing so. There are no set rules for walking a bass line over changes. I might be wrong here, but I just see a 9th as a 2nd, and a 13th as a 6th. I use them, but i'll always have a 1 or 5 in there somewhere, and usually on the first beat of the chord change.

    A good exercise to learn more about this would be to transcribe an easier walking line from a recording. Take a tune that is blues based and has a straight ahead walking line that you can figure out. Also, try to find one that you have a chord chart for. Transcribe the bass line for one time through the progression.

    Now that you've got it down on paper, you need to analyse it. Look at the notes that are being played and compare them to the chord tones. How often do you see the 1,3,and 5? What beat to they fall on? How often do you see 9ths or 13ths, etc.

    I used to do this exercise a lot and found it to be a great way to learn about walking lines, chord tones, and also a good way to train your ear and improve your notation skills.
  5. is there a website i can find more info at one that is specific to walk bass
  6. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    none that i know of but im sure that there is one out there some where good luck to you and remember that there is now easy way to become a great bass player it takes time and hard work periods commas and capital letters at the start of a new sentence also makes things easier
  7. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    7th, 9th, 11th, 13th are non-harmonic tones. They add color to 1,3,5.
  8. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    1 3 5 7 are the most important for bass. 1 3 5 + approach and leading tones are your biggest concern right now. When you get to soloing, that's when you start thinking about the available tensions. Then you can start playing out, which is fun when you don't screw it up.

    And to whoever said that 1 3 5 are the most important notes in a chord, I disagree. The most important notes to me are 3 and 7 (the guide tones), since you can usually infer the root from that context and the 5th really doesn't matter a whole crapload unless it's a b5 chord.
  9. Your questions not dumb. Lol i was gonna ask something similar:(

    I cant really offer u much advice since i suck but ive learned a bit from this thread so ah thanks^^
  10. +1

    I agree, the two most important notes in any scale are the 3rd and 7th. They tell the listener what the quality is and indicate the harmonic motion.
    The 3rd tells us if it’s major or minor. The 7th tells whether the sound should stay where it is or if it wants to move on to a chord of resolution.
  11. I wouldn't quite agree. Without the 1, you can't establish whether the 3 and the 7 *are* in fact the 3 and 7. This is especially relevant for a bass player. You can't in fact always infer the root from the 3 and 7, because you need the root to establish that they are the 3 and 7 in the first place. Case in point: suppose you play a B and an F, which would be the 3 and 7 of a G7. The fact is, without the 1, you don't know whether those two notes are the 3 and b7 of a G7 or the b7 and 3 of a Db7 (with F=E#), or for that matter the 6 and b3 of a Dm6, or the 1 and #11 of an F7#11 ... you get the point.
  12. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    to the original poster, this is a great post about chords. the 1, 3, 5 and 7 are the notes that differentiate different 7th chords. for example, the Major chord is 1, 3, 7. the 5 isn't played because on a bass it just makes the chord cluttered. but with a dimished chord, you play 1, b5 and b7, because the b5 and b7 is what differentiates a dimished chord from the minor and major (also dominant) chords.

    EDIT: please realise that this post is a very GENERAL post with only two examples of chords. chord theory is much deeper than this and is directly related to the modes that the respective root notes belong to. i'm sure your teacher will show you this in due time.
  13. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    You're definitely right if you're talking about just bass. The bass has to be anchored around the root. This is what gives the guitar and piano the freedom to hang mostly around the guide tones and the tensions. That's mostly what I was getting at, that since the bass outlines chord structure and progression (the root being the principle note). But I'm also thinking more about soloing than anything else usually, and the 3 and 7 are definitely the most important places to start working from to my ears.
  14. I understand what you're saying, and IMo you're correct in those terms, but I was trying to look back more to what our OP might need. He's a bass player, he's only been playing a month, and he probably isn't soloing much. I believe in most states you have to take instruction and get a learner's permit before you obtain your bass soloing license and are allowed to solo on bass.;) It's really safer for everyone that way. :bassist:

    So in that context, I think the OP might get confused if he hears that the 1 isn't so important.
  15. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    It is a great question.

    You shouldn't really be thinking in terms of "this is a m7 chord, so I need to hit the root, m3, 5 and m7"

    In most cases you will hit the root. The m3 5 and m7 are there for you to use, and will sound good on strong beats. There are other tones available for you to use, but these will most likely sound better as a passing note.

    In most cases you will be called on to play, if you just play the root, chances someone else is playing the rest of the chord.

    With higher extended chords, such as 11s and 13s, you'll usually be better off sticking to the lower chord tones.
  16. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    I understand where this is coming from, but it doesn't apply as much to us as bassists as it does to, say, a jazz guitarist playing chords. To them, the most important notes to play are the 3 and 7 because we are playing the root for them and the 5th is implied or stated by us.
  17. steveb98

    steveb98 [acct disabled - multiple aliases]

    Mar 15, 2006
    Venice, CA
    Like most things the answer it is all depends. When playing bass lines you will mainly stick to 1, 3 ,5, 7 on the strong beats 1 and 3. Then on weak beats 2 and 4 is where you would put chromatic approach notes or use a color tone 9, 11, 13. When soloing you use chord tones and color tones, but avoid using roots and especially on beat one.

    Most of this has to do with what people's ear perceive as what sounds good. As an experiment try playing color tones on strong beats 1 and 3. I think you will find they don't sound too good. Now do the same and play 1, 3, 5, or 7 on strong beats 1 and 3. Sounds better. Now play any note you want on beats 2 and 4. The ear will accept it in general. For bass lines people like hear basic chord tones on strong beats 1 and 3. On the weak beats they will accepts most notes.

    So I would say as a beginner bass player focus on making bass lines that establish the basic chord quality. 1, 3, 5, 7 and chromatic approach notes on weak beats. As you learn more about scales and how they relate to chords, and start soloing then it's time to work on using color tones 9, 11, 13.
  18. paulraphael


    Apr 13, 2006
    If you heard me play, you'd stop reading what I write.
    It also depends on what kind of music you're playing. A lot of the great advice you've gotten applies more to jazz than to some simpler styles. In some kinds of music, playing the 3rd a lot can sound corny ... a lot of funk players use it mostly as a passing note. In some kinds of rock you can lean on the 1 and the 5 for days and it will sound apropriate.

    One of the best wake up calls I got when learning how to play jazz (a process I never got very far with) was that you don't have to outline every freaking chord. I would read theory about how you have to outline all the chords by walking through the important notes on the strong beats ... but there was no mention about what to do with chords that last half a measure, or a single beat. You would have thought i had tourette's syndrom from some of the noises I made, trying to play all the important notes of a thirteenth chord in two beats at 120 beats per minute. In those cases, think of the chord as a passing chord ... a stepping stone on the way to a more important chord. You might just play one of those notes.
  19. In my original post I should have included of course the root. It was implied.

    I agree. good points taken in this thread. For the beginning bassist stick to the R357 chord notes with emphasis on the strong beats.

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