Use modes or notes in chords?

Discussion in 'Ask Michael Dimin' started by SpaceRat, Mar 11, 2002.

  1. SpaceRat


    Mar 11, 2002
    London, UK
    I've only recently started playing bass but I have a resonable grasp of basic theory.

    When writing bass lines should I be using notes in the chords or use modes? If I'm using the notes in the chords that are being played then, in rock music where power chords are used a lot, it would mean I have only 2 different notes to play with under that chord? Even for straight major or minor chords I can only play 3 different notes under them which doesn't seem leave much room for creativity, are modes the way to go?

    A lot of people I've spoken to don't recommend using modes for bass but to use a chordal approach instead. Please help I'm really confused! I'm a poor student so I can't afford a teacher :(
  2. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"

    1. Use notes of the chord
    2. Use notes of the scale or mode
    3. Use Chromatic passing tones (connecting notes)

    These are your three options. Creat your bass line using a combination of all three. I have listed these in order of strength (not necessarily priority). Chord tones are the strongest while chromatic passing tones are the weakest. Use these three choices to start building your lines. Hope this helps.