#1
So I had this idea the other day. Before I post it, I'd like to say that I'm not a bassist and that I don't know much about basses. I just wanted to get an opinion from the other bassists on this forum.

Let's say we have an Am-Dm-Gm-Dm chord progression (D minor scale). The notes would be:

Am - A C E
Dm - D F A
Gm - G Bb D

Suppose the basic pattern is A A A A / D D D D / G G G G / D D D D for the bassist, which is just hammering on the roots. I thought of a way to add something into the bass line, and I'd like to know if I'm right.

One: Can the bass line can go C C C C / F F F F / Bb Bb Bb Bb/ F F F F? Playing the thirds instead of the roots is acceptable right? Similarly is playing the fifths also possible?

Two: Instead of playing the same note for a whole measure, is it acceptable to mix up the notes of the chord? The bass line would go like this then: [Letters below bass line indicate chords]

A C A C / D F D F/ G Bb G Bb / D F D F (the root followed by the third)
(A m) (D m) (G m) (D M) <-- repeated throughout the song

And during the next turn around:

A E A E / D A D A / G D G D / D A D A (the root followed by the fifth)

Similarly, could I play the thirds and the fifths? So that I'd get something like

C E C E / F A F A / Bb D Bb D / F A F A

Can the bass line go that way, or would it just muddle up the song?

Sorry for the long post. I'd be happy to clarify if I didn't state a particular point clearly. Thank you.
#2
Playing thirds is musically correct, but most of the time it doesn't sound good. The root is a powerful note within the chord and accenting the another notes gives a weird sound.

And the Root Fifth sequence is used a lot on country music.

There are no "rules" in playing bass, just as with every other instrument. If it sounds right, it is right.
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#3
Quote by ChemicalFire
Playing thirds is musically correct, but most of the time it doesn't sound good. The root is a powerful note within the chord and accenting the another notes gives a weird sound.

And the Root Fifth sequence is used a lot on country music.

There are no "rules" in playing bass, just as with every other instrument. If it sounds right, it is right.


This (minus the country part, I didn't know that) was what I was going to say.

There's no reason not to play just roots, but if playing thirds works for a particular line, then do it. Chances are it will sound fairly awful in most circumstances.

Something I like to do is play around with the root, 5th, 4th and fill by adding in a descending run using the minor 7th.

You really just need to try it and see how it sounds.
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#4
If the bass is playing the C in an Am chord, then it's Am/C, or Am(1st inversion). It's no longer a plain Am chord, it's harmonically very different. Not that this won't sound good, I'm sure it'll sound cool.

Just watch out, the bass tends to play the root of the chord (whether that's an inversion/slash chord or a root position chord)
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#5
Quote by Nutter_101
If the bass is playing the C in an Am chord, then it's Am/C, or Am(1st inversion). It's no longer a plain Am chord, it's harmonically very different.


That's one of the reasons I posted this question. I thought that changing bass notes might lead to different chords. But what if there's a rhythm guitarist playing the Am - Dm - Gm - Dm progression? Although I accentuate different notes, it still should sound 'in tune' with the overall mix right?
#6
the human ear tries to build things off the lowest note. so you CAN play the third and it will sound alright, but I wouldn't really suggest it unless your going for something specific in mind. I am reffering here to your straight root thing.

root and fifth is very common. listen to almost any song by andrew jackson jihad to see it used well.

another thing you might try is A C E C/ D F A F/ G Bb D Bb / D F A F
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#7
Quote by SynthRay
That's one of the reasons I posted this question. I thought that changing bass notes might lead to different chords. But what if there's a rhythm guitarist playing the Am - Dm - Gm - Dm progression? Although I accentuate different notes, it still should sound 'in tune' with the overall mix right?


Yes, it will sound in tune. But it won't sound like Am - Dm- Gm- Dm, it'll sound like Am/C - Dm/F - G/Bb - Dm/F

This is quite different, and depending on the melody it might be unwanted.

Remember, the melody is very important. When you reharmonise, you have to make sure there are no clashes anywhere.
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