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what note can I use in the chords?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by b.a.s.s, Dec 8, 2004.

  1. b.a.s.s


    Dec 7, 2004
    I have problem that it is with the notes which can I use in the chords.

    which notes can I use in the chords???
    what can I do to know?
    thanks for helping.
  2. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    The best is usually to go with the root of the chord. For example, if you have an F chord (minor, major, seventh or whatever), simply play an F. Good luck.
  3. RyanHelms


    Sep 20, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    How far along are you? Have you learned scales? Once major and minor scales are under your fingers, it's only a matter of learning the chord formulas. They are based on the major scale, so here's an example:

    (numbers refer to scale degrees)
    Major triad= 1, 3, 5 Minor triad = 1, b3 (flatted 3rd), 5

    For F major, you have your pick of F, A, or C.
    For F minor, you would choose F, Ab, or C.

    Notice it's only the third scale degree that determines major or minor. Playing thirds on the bass is not common, but in reality you have your pick of any of the chord tones, and then some.

    Stick to the root for now, like ombudsman suggested, and start looking for info on chord construction. Once you know how they're constructed, you know what note you have to choose from based on the scale that a particular chord is based on.

    Here's a rundown of the basics (all based on the major scale tones, numbered from 1 to 8 which is root to octave)

    Major - 1, 3, 5, 8
    Major 7th - 1, 3, 5, 7
    Dominant 7th - 1, 3, 5, b7

    Minor - 1, b3, 5, 8
    Minor 7th - 1, b3, 5, b7

    Sounds like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, I know, but it's really not once you get scales down and memorize those chord formulas.

    Sorry if that's too much, but I love laying out theory because there really is a straight forward system of organization to it. Knowing what note to pick for a given chord doesn't have to be shrouded in mystery.

    The bottom line *really* though, is what everyone agrees sounds good.

    edit; I tried ligning up the numbers to see the patterns easier, but it didn't work...
  4. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI

    Once you start to know your scales, it's almost automatic that you learn your arpgeggios (broken-up chords) - at least first inverson (1-3-5). You simply 'play every other one', and you're making chords!

    Scales, Man. It's in the scales.

    The most useful and easy-to-use (psudo) chord to use on bass is the 10th chord (root+octave-third), but you have to know whether it needs to be a major or minor third. You'll need to know your scales to determine that (well, wha'da'ya know?).

  5. hunta


    Dec 2, 2004
    Washington, DC
    "it's almost automatic that you learn your arpgeggios (broken-up chords) - at least first inverson (1-3-5)." (lol don't know how to use the quote thingy on here..)

    That would be root position. First inversion is 3-5-1 with the root on the top. C Major triad in root position being C E G and 1st inversion being E G C.

    I'd recommend if you don't know what notes to play over a chord, to start learning music theory. Playing just roots over chords will work but it's not very interesting. If you're in high school or college they most likely offer at least a couple theory courses. They are incredibly valuable, and the sooner you start learning the better off you'll be. You can teach yourself from a book too, but it's very hard if you don't have a teacher or someone to ask questions.

    If you want to just learn some basic stuff, musictheory.net is a nice little site for the basics. That's just the tip of the iceberg though.
  6. RyanHelms


    Sep 20, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    Let's put this in General Instruction...
  7. A good way to learn is,if you have access to a piano,find the notes of the chord and play them together,then try different notes on the bottom,so you get to know what each one sounds like,and then you can decide which fits.
    Usually bass players stick to the very basics of the chord(root,3rd,5th),but it is good to have more options.
    If you don't have access to a piano,have a guitarist play the chord with a clean tone and try different notes against his notes.By doing this you will learn to hear the "color"of each chord,and be able to make interesting note choices.
  8. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Oh! Yeah-yeah; duh - sorry about that.

    He's right, B. Learn some theory.