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Old 10-14-2010, 02:01 PM   #1
chamisul
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How to play "slash chords" on bass

I've searched everywhere trying to figure this out. I've found hundreds of explanations on how to play "slash chords" (G/B, etc.) on an acoustic, but not a single explanation on how to play on a bass.

I've asked at least 5 people, and I get different answers.

I understand that on an acoustic or electric guitar, when someone plays a G/B chord, the player just plays a G with an extra B on the bass, correct? So theoretically, the bassist should play the bass note. One person I asked agrees with me.

Another person says that I play the note before the slash, and ignore the other. Two other people say that I can play either one, it just "depends". When I ask on what it depends, they reply with "experience", which to me is just an easy excuse to not explain it.

So, how the bloody hell do I play a "slash cord" on the bass?
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Old 10-14-2010, 02:07 PM   #2
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You should definately play the bass note. It's there for a reason
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Old 10-14-2010, 02:08 PM   #3
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a slash chord is simply a chord with a specific note in the bass. in the case of G/B, you are playing a G chord with a B as the lowest note. as a bassist, your job is to make sure you play that B note.
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Old 10-14-2010, 02:10 PM   #4
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If I were a bassist and came across something like lets say A/C#, I would play the C# and let the guitarist just play an A chord. Slash chords are used to make more melodic bass lines, rather than just playing chords in 1st inversion all the time.
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Old 10-14-2010, 02:28 PM   #5
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I guess I need to explain that to the church band's keyboardist--she keeps marking up my music and telling me to play things other than those bass notes. In one song I'm told to play the F in F/A, in another I'm told to play the G in G/B, and in another I'm told to play E in C/E. Nothing is consistent.

Last edited by chamisul : 10-14-2010 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 10-14-2010, 03:56 PM   #6
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yeah as has been said a slash chord is made to have a certain note in the bass. its a C/g meaning a C with a G in the bas. you could hit C and it would sound good, but not as the composer intended.
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Old 10-14-2010, 05:15 PM   #7
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I did a lot of music with slash chords and yes, you play the note after the slash.
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Old 10-14-2010, 05:37 PM   #8
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Your the lowest voice, so if you dont play the "slash" note, then its not a "slash" chord

By the way, they are called inversions. Theres two basic kinds. 1st inversion (also known as 6) which has the third of the chord in the bottom, and 2nd inversion (also known as 6/4) with the 5th in the bottom.

It has to do with melodic bass lines and voice leading and shit like that. Take any beginner level theory class if you really want to know that inversions are about
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Old 10-14-2010, 05:58 PM   #9
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Music theory is so over my head that even a beginner level class would give me a headache.
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Old 10-14-2010, 06:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chamisul
Music theory is so over my head that even a beginner level class would give me a headache.


No ones making you take the class, but if you ever expect to really understand stuff like this, you need to a)learn to read music and b)take a theory class. I dont care what anyone says, the internet cannot teach you theory.

Try going to your local community college. They will let you take the class without doing a full course load, and it will probably be pretty cheap. It will be everything you need to get on your own two feet in terms of theory, and it really will make you a better musician

Last edited by tubatom868686 : 10-14-2010 at 06:06 PM.
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Old 10-14-2010, 06:40 PM   #11
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If I ever have time to dive into that.....working on a major in a foreign language, going to graduate school to get a masters in the language and possibly in another language as well. Busy busy busy. As far as I'm concerned, I only need to know what to play, and a basic understanding of why (which was covered pretty well here). You don't have to know why certain grammar is the way it is, you just have to know how to use it

Last edited by chamisul : 10-14-2010 at 06:42 PM.
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Old 10-14-2010, 06:52 PM   #12
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The 'other two' are right. There is no scientific, set in stone way to play alongside slash chords. It takes experience and your ear to decide what sounds good. Hell, you could a 7th on top of the chord's bass note and it will still possibly fit.

Learn theory and apply it. Slash chords are still chords at the end of the day. What you choose to play is part of what makes your style. If everyone followed the same rules all the time, shit would get boring quick. It's not them being lazy with explaining- it's you not 'getting it.'
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Old 10-14-2010, 06:58 PM   #13
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Inversions are not the same as a slash chord, since you can put any note as the slash note, not necessarily part of the triad.
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Old 10-14-2010, 07:10 PM   #14
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The only problem with using my "style" (when I find it) in a church setting is that you get yelled at for not playing what's written.
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Old 10-14-2010, 11:03 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nutter_101
Inversions are not the same as a slash chord, since you can put any note as the slash note, not necessarily part of the triad.


You right, they can be any note. Youll find that they are 99% of the time chord tones. 7ths are common, in fact, they are third inversions. I would have mentioned them, but I didnt want to throw too much at TS.

The other most common is a string of consecutive tritones under the chords. This is used to create the instability necessary to move between chords that would usually not follow each other. However, this falls into inversions because you are using a string of tritone subs generally and you have a V/V/V/V/seemingly infinity amount of V going on. The tritone is acting as a special kind of suspension and is considered part of another chord, and therefore is an inversion

The third common one is simple suspensions. However, these are still considered inversions because the suspended note is considered part of the next chord, not the one its currently being played under.

Of course you have the 6th in the bass sometimes too, but that really just changes the chord to a minor7, so its really pointless to write it that way

Does that cover every scale degree?

Basically, if you can find me an example of a "slash" chord thats not an inversion, my argument is moot and you can win the internet. But I dont think youll find one

Last edited by tubatom868686 : 10-14-2010 at 11:06 PM.
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Old 10-15-2010, 12:17 AM   #16
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Here's one that's confusing the hell out of me. I have an F/A chord, but in the notation there's a huge gap between the F and the /A. It looks a bit like this:

F_____________/A
Lyrics~Lyrics~Lyrics

Where the hell am I supposed to play the A? At the beginning? At the end?
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Old 10-15-2010, 12:19 AM   #17
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slash?
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Old 10-15-2010, 12:31 AM   #18
chamisul
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I'm sorry, is that supposed to help me in some way?

Here's a scan of the sheet music that's confusing me. It's the first F/A. There's such a gap between the F an /A that I can't tell what's going on.

http://img88.imageshack.us/i/akbo.jpg/
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Old 10-15-2010, 03:43 AM   #19
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that looks to me like that might be shorthand for F, then F/A for the last 2 beats of the bar, but i could be totally wrong.
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Old 10-15-2010, 09:36 AM   #20
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I think you might be right. I looked for other copies of the same song, and many of the others do indeed say F_____F/A. However I did play it like that one time, and the pianist claimed I was doing it wrong....

Musicians are telling me one thing, and the pianist (which somehow is the 2nd in command of the group) is telling me something different.
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