#1
I just bought a whole book full of real bass chords, so that's not what this question is about.

My question is mainly about power chords... at least, I think that's what they are. I know nothing about guitar, so I'm just guessing that this is the same thing as a power chord. You know, where you play one note with one finger, then play another note one string above and two frets down?

Yeah. This may sound INCREDIBLY stupid... but how do you know what note you're playing?... I mean, I suppose I can sit there and play the chord then a note until I see which sound the same, but really? Isn't there a much simpler way?
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#2
http://www.cyberfretbass.com/theory/chord-construction/basic/index.php

is a good explanation of chords in relation to bass.

Now what you are describing as a power chord is the root and the fifth of the chord, with the 3rd eliminated (thus it is a power chord, not minor or major--because of the lack of a 3rd).
#3
i'm still not entirely sure what you're asking. but it seems like learning the notes of the the fretboard would help in just about any case.
^^not necessarily helpful.
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#5
Haha. I got that part. I know the notes on the board. The problem's not that I can't figure out what notes I'm playing, it's figuring out what the two notes I'm playing make together.

Example for MustangMan:
Playing a C on the G string and an F on the D string.


So, according to that website, Instead of playing the root, the third and the fifth of a note in order to make a chord instead of the root, I'm playing the note and a fifth? or... fourth? Depending on which direction you're counting from...Or do you always count forward, no matter what?

Point is!
As I understand this... Playing a root F note plus an A and a C will all still make an F... So I'm guessing the A and the C make an F? ... Then, if I play an F and a C would I make an A?
Art is Vice. You don't marry it legitimately, you rape it...
-Edgar Degas
#6
Lets back up to scales. We'll start with the major F scale.

F G A Bflat C D E F
R 2 3 4 5 6 7 R

Where R = root

Now a major chord is R - 3rd - 5th. So F-A-C is a F major chord.

If you play a R - 5th (F - C) that is a F power chord or F5. It isn't major or minor.

A good book to start delving into this is Complete Idiots guide to music theory. It covers chord construction and then some.

Also check out this thread by our beloved former Mod UTBDan:

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=495392
#7
So even though you're playing an F plus a C (or R + fifth), it's still a chord of the root? That wouldn't throw it off? What makes it an F5 and not a chord based off of the C?
Art is Vice. You don't marry it legitimately, you rape it...
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#8
You've lost me, man - It's probably cos I'm so used to powerchords I don't even think twice about them.
I'll try and help and probably confuse matters even more:
F5 is like this:
g----
d----
a3--
e1--
alot of the time, you'l see guitarists do it they'll add in F, up an octave:
g----
d3--
a3--
e1--
or play it "up-side down" and miss out the rootnote - this is called a doublestop (I think :S ) but it's still an F powerchord.
g---
d3--
a3--
e---
all three are F powerchord.
#9
your smart to try and learn this stuff but yah im confused as hell which means i guess i gotta learn this **** to lol and i thought i new my theory
Keep On Keepen' On
#10
Quote by Tone Deaf
So even though you're playing an F plus a C (or R + fifth), it's still a chord of the root? That wouldn't throw it off? What makes it an F5 and not a chord based off of the C?
If a human ear picks up multiple pitches(or notes) it hears the intervals between those pitches relative to the lowest. So basically the chord you using as an example isn't a C chord because C isn't the lowest not. If you moved the C down an octave to the third fret of the A string and kept your F it would be a C chord.

The technical definition on a chord is three different notes played simultaneously so some people wouldn't even call a power chord(R 5 8) a chord because it only has too different notes. Some people may consider it a chord because they count the octave as a different, but it definitely wouldn't be correct to call your power chord example a chord.
Last edited by mrbiscuits315 at Jan 16, 2009,
#11
Quote by mrbiscuits315
If a human ear picks up multiple pitches(or notes) it hears the intervals between those pitches relative to the lowest. So basically the chord you using as an example isn't a C chord because C isn't the lowest not. If you moved the C down an octave to the third fret of the A string and kept your F it would be a C chord.

The technical definition on a chord is three different notes played simultaneously so some people wouldn't even call a power chord(R 5 8) a chord because it only has too different notes. Some people may consider it a chord because they count the octave as a different, but it definitely wouldn't be correct to call your power chord example a chord.

No. Almost everything you have said is wrong. If the C was the bass of the F chord it would be a I64 in the key of F not a C chord. TS a chord is not a note its a group of notes played together. if you want to know what chord you are playing you have to find what key the chord is in and find the root.
#12
In music and music theory a chord (from Greek χορδή: gut, string) is a set of three (a triad) or more different notes that sound simultaneously. Most often, in European-influenced music, chords are tertian sonorities that can be constructed as stacks of thirds relative to some underlying scale. Two-note combinations are typically referred to as dyads or intervals.
-Wikipedia

I'm not trying to get into an arguement, but what is your definition of a chord?
Last edited by mrbiscuits315 at Jan 16, 2009,
#13
So, the chord you are playing is the same as the lowest (root) note... Right?

So, it's perfectly fine for me to play an F5 (D-3, G-5?) in place of an F note in a song? Or will it sound off? Do I need to throw in that "A" in with it all?

I'm just looking for a unique way to play some slower songs...
Art is Vice. You don't marry it legitimately, you rape it...
-Edgar Degas
#14
Quote by Tone Deaf
So, the chord you are playing is the same as the lowest (root) note... Right?


The lowest note doesn't always denote the chord name. You need to look at the notes used. There are inversions, as well as chords with a different root, for example G/B, where you play a G chord, but the lowest note is a B.

So, it's perfectly fine for me to play an F5 (D-3, G-5?) in place of an F note in a song? Or will it sound off? Do I need to throw in that "A" in with it all?

I'm just looking for a unique way to play some slower songs...


It'll sound fine, as long as it doesn't muddy up the song. If you want a different way of playing songs, a great way is to look at the chord, and arpeggiate. Play a bit of melody atound the notes within and without the chord. Add in different notes to imply a chord- say the guitarist plays a C power chord. Instead of playing C, imply a minor chord by playing D#. Move into the next chord by coming in from a half step above or below. The more you learn about theory, the more you'll understand.
#15
^Yes, yes, no, no.

By a loose definition of the word, whenever you play two or more notes together, it's pretty much a chord. Whatever the lowest note is, that's what the chord will be. There is the odd D/F# or whatever, but you don't run into that much on bass.

EDIT: DB beat me to a better explanation.
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Last edited by t3hrav3n at Jan 16, 2009,
#16
Quote by t3hrav3n
^Yes, yes, no, no.

By a loose definition of the word, whenever you play two or more notes together, it's pretty much a chord. Whatever the lowest note is, that's what the chord will be. There is the odd D/F# or whatever, but you don't run into that much on bass.


Well, I don't use the "loose" definition of a chord. And chord theory is chord theory. It doesn't matter how much you may or may not run into it on bass, it's important to understand complete chord theory in order to work within music better.

EDIT: Thought you were aiming that at me
#17
Quote by Tone Deaf
Haha. I got that part. I know the notes on the board. The problem's not that I can't figure out what notes I'm playing, it's figuring out what the two notes I'm playing make together.

Example for MustangMan:
Playing a C on the G string and an F on the D string.


So, according to that website, Instead of playing the root, the third and the fifth of a note in order to make a chord instead of the root, I'm playing the note and a fifth? or... fourth? Depending on which direction you're counting from...Or do you always count forward, no matter what?

Point is!
As I understand this... Playing a root F note plus an A and a C will all still make an F... So I'm guessing the A and the C make an F? ... Then, if I play an F and a C would I make an A?

I think you've got a better idea from all these replies, but I can tell you that this series of articles really helped me out with chord construction: http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/columns/general_music/the_crusade_part_i.html
#18
Wow... This is getting harder to understand as I go... So, what you (Phil) are saying... is that a good thing to do, instead of playing chords myself, might be to... complete/expand the chord of the guitar player by playing a single note? interesting. I'll need to build up a sexcellent understanding of chords to pull that off though. It won't matter that my note is so much lower? ... Guess I could always just play the note higher...

Thanks for the article, Mustang Man, I'll jump right into that. I may also try to grab that book someone mentioned earlier. I have to say... this theory junk is really starting to intrigue me...
Art is Vice. You don't marry it legitimately, you rape it...
-Edgar Degas
#19
You don't need an excellent understanding of chords, just a basic one. And don't play a higher note, that defeats the purpose of being a bassist. It won't matter as long as you do it right.

You've been presented with enough information to get a firm grasp of what you're doing, good luck.
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#20
Quote by mrbiscuits315
In music and music theory a chord (from Greek χορδή: gut, string) is a set of three (a triad) or more different notes that sound simultaneously. Most often, in European-influenced music, chords are tertian sonorities that can be constructed as stacks of thirds relative to some underlying scale. Two-note combinations are typically referred to as dyads or intervals.
-Wikipedia

I'm not trying to get into an arguement, but what is your definition of a chord?

That part was right. The part where you said the bass note was always the root of the chord was horribly wrong.

Edit:
Quote by t3hrav3n
Whatever the lowest note is, that's what the chord will be. There is the odd D/F# or whatever, but you don't run into that much on bass.

No. What your saying would make this chord a G chord when it is an E minor chord.
Last edited by hippiebass at Jan 16, 2009,
#21
You forgot the invisible "generally" in my post, there. <.< >.>

Anyway, yes, you're right, but that gets into more complicated chord theory that only confuses the answer the TS is looking for.
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#22
Have you ever heard the adage you have to walk before you can run? I think it applies well to your situation. I think it would be fair to say you don't really know a whole lot about music or chord theory and you seem to be jumping in mid stream here. What I would do is go back to the very beginning with intervals and basic 1-3-5 triads and that kind of thing. I really recommend getting a teacher too, that will help you immensely.
#23
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
Have you ever heard the adage you have to walk before you can run? I think it applies well to your situation. I think it would be fair to say you don't really know a whole lot about music or chord theory and you seem to be jumping in mid stream here. What I would do is go back to the very beginning with intervals and basic 1-3-5 triads and that kind of thing. I really recommend getting a teacher too, that will help you immensely.


I must give a reluctant +1 to this. I took four years of piano lessons, pretty much all I learned was theory, and this is close to my limit.
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#24
Indeed. Which is why I'm going through this "Crusade" deal and why I said I would probably pick up that book. A teacher really isn't an option though. I live in a very rural area with only a dozen or so really musically inclined people, and I doubt they'll know much theory. Either way, I gots no cash to be giving a teacher, or time for that matter.

Next year starts college though, and I'm sure I can find some sort of class or elective that involves musical theory, or at least, someone on campus who knows something about that stuff. If not, there's always books, interwebs, and my trusty ole Squier.
Art is Vice. You don't marry it legitimately, you rape it...
-Edgar Degas
#25
Check out your local community college for summer music courses. I've yet to see one that doesn't offer a music theory 101 course.