#1
So I've been playing bass about 16 months now and I'm probably exactly where I should be after this little amount of time playing (skill wise.) But I realized I should probably learn the most common guitar chords that I can play on bass so that I can learn the notes of em for when I play with guitarists. So throw em at me guys, what are the most common chords, what are good bass chords, and what kinda chords are not so common and pretty distinct sounding? Thanks mates!

Edit: (Preferably tabbed)
#2
Huuuuuuuuuuu, sorry mate the only way to play guitar chords on a bass is to not play them on bass... buy or borrow a shit guitar from a mate or your school or something and then just learn open chords(major minor) and then major and minor barre chords and that's it mate... If you really want to play with guitarists I'd suggest learning to play songs all the way through.
Btw I have to brag, I've played 16 months of bass as well and I've already been in two bands.
I don't know what you intend to play but anything near hard rock, punk rock or pop rock will most likely not use open chords or third chords at all, instead you're gonna get powerchords so get used to seeing that shape.
Chords on a 4 string bass? Not that much cool stuff you can do... just kiddin find cool intervals that are playable harmonically and you should be set, start with maybe a perfect fifth then minor third or something.
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#3
power chords and octaves sound good on bass. examples:

--7-----
--5-----
--------
--------

--------
--7-----
--------
--5-----

--9-----
--9-----
--7-----
--0-----


You should also get a cheap acoustic or borrow one and learn the chords so you recognize what the guitarist is playing. Learn open chords (E, A, D, C, G, F) and their minors, and learn barre chords and what frets are what notes. You could literally learn all that in 2 or 3 days of practice.
#4
Major chords to learn:

E
A
G
D
C

Minor Chords

Em
Am
Dm

Sus chords

Dsus2
Dsus4
Esus4
Asus4
Asus2

7th chords

GMajor7
Aminor7
Bminor7
CMajor7
D7
Eminor7


These are just some chords that I would recommend learning the notes of, what scales they are in and can blend together.

The major and minor chords are pretty much the standard ones you need to know, that you will hear in most songs across the board. The sus chords and a bit of variation to the song and can be heard in songs such as Free Fallin' by Tom Petty (Dsus2, Dsus4, Asus4) and Don't Stop by The Rolling Stones (Asus2).

The 7th chords again add a little bit of variety to songs. So say the guitarist is strumming a G chord, you could play the 7th of the G (F#), making an overall 7th sound.

I haven't got the tabs for these, but you can find them pretty easily on the net by just using Google
#5
Thanks guys! I already have a classical guitar so I'll just play em those so I can recognize the shapes I suppose. Thank you Venomtank for the list!
#6
learn about chord construstion. if you know that you will know every chord in the world.

but here are the basics
major---minor-major-minor--sus2--sus4
g-x-----ix-------i5-------i4-------ix-------ix------i
d-1-----i1-------i6-------i6-------i1-------i1-----i
a-3-----i2-------i6-------i6-------i1-------i4-----i
e-4-----i4-------i4-------i4-------i4-------i4-----i

these are all Ab chords for no real reason but all can be moved up and down the neck.
no sir away a papaya war is on
#7
Quote by sfedf1
Huuuuuuuuuuu, sorry mate the only way to play guitar chords on a bass is to not play them on bass... buy or borrow a shit guitar from a mate or your school or something and then just learn open chords(major minor) and then major and minor barre chords and that's it mate... If you really want to play with guitarists I'd suggest learning to play songs all the way through.
Btw I have to brag, I've played 16 months of bass as well and I've already been in two bands.
I don't know what you intend to play but anything near hard rock, punk rock or pop rock will most likely not use open chords or third chords at all, instead you're gonna get powerchords so get used to seeing that shape.
Chords on a 4 string bass? Not that much cool stuff you can do... just kiddin find cool intervals that are playable harmonically and you should be set, start with maybe a perfect fifth then minor third or something.


I'm sorry...but how dumb can you get? Of course you can play chords on bass. You do realise there's more than just open chords?

I second learning about chord construction. Tat'll probably the most valuable thing to you as a bass player. Chords are constructed from the notes in a scale, you get different sounding chords by taking the basic structure and highlighting certain notes (e.g. an A7 would have the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th). By learning how the chords are constructed you can use the knowledge when writing or improvising to accentuate the tonality of the chords you're playing along to or of the over all piece. You could also go even further into it and learn about the different inversions of chords as well.
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#8
Quote by fleajr_1412
I'm sorry...but how dumb can you get? Of course you can play chords on bass. You do realise there's more than just open chords?

I second learning about chord construction. Tat'll probably the most valuable thing to you as a bass player. Chords are constructed from the notes in a scale, you get different sounding chords by taking the basic structure and highlighting certain notes (e.g. an A7 would have the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th).


Just thought I'd add a little correection here, an A7 chord would be the 1st, 3rd, 5th and b7th (flat 7th).

But definatley, to learn about chords start with the major scale. Learn the shapes, the "formula" of how it is constructed in INTERVALS and then learn how chords can be constructed from that.

Learn them from the chord "formula" and also how to "stack thirds".

A Quick example of this:
The CMajor Scale is:
C D E F G A B (Notes)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (Interval formula)

A CMajor Chord in terms of intervals is: 1 3 5
So from the C Major scale it is: C E G.

There are more details you can look into, but thats just for an idea of how to work it out.

As for playing Chords on bass, of course you can. I often play power chords, 7th chords, and "implied barre chords" (there are moveable shapes for all of these), as well as arpeggios of the chords (playing induvisual notes from the chord in a sequence).

Enjoy, Chords are great!

EDIT: To round this all off. Start off by looking at the Major Scale. Then Major and Minor chords. Then look at the construction of 7th chords (Major, minor and dominant). << This part will help you the most!

Then start looking at how these fit into playing within a key and moveable shapes for them all which will help to use them in a band setting.
Last edited by Puppet_616 at Apr 22, 2011,
#9
Okay, I've tried googling the chord shapes and stuff and I seriously don't get any of this. I don't know enough theory to know what sus chords are and perhaps I don't know my scales well enough. Can someone explain everything in baby words please?
#10
Google the Major Scale (there are some good lessons on UG about it) and from there learn about basic chord construction. (Major chords and Minor chords are the main focus for starting out)

I found this article helpful when I was learning this stuff:
http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/chords/what_chords_are_in_what_key_and_why.html

Basically whats going on is that chords are made up of 3 or more notes based around the major scale.
Each chord TYPE has its on formula and then you apply this formula to the corresponding major scale.
So take the C Major scale, and we'll give each note a numerical interval:

C D E F G A B
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Now different chord types and there formula:
Major chord: 1 3 5
Minor Chord: 1 b3 5
Sus4 Chord: 1 4 5
(the 'b' means flat, which is one fret below the normal note)

So a C Major chord uses the notes 1, 3 and 5 from the C Major scale (and a D Major chord would use the same numbered notes from the D Major scale).
In this case that makes C Major: C E G.

A C minor Chord uses the 1, b3 and the 5 from the C Major Scale. The b3 is a "flatted third" and is the ntoe one fret below (lower in pitch) than the normal 3 (or major third). So in this case, C Minor is: C Eb G.

Does this make any sense? Hope it helps
#11
Yes! That helped so much more! So minor chords are in major scales? Who knew?!
#12
Yep! And to throw things in the air some more, if you play in a minor key, you can still play major chords!!!
#13
Is it even possible to play all the notes of a diminished chord at once?
#14
Quote by Rawshik
Is it even possible to play all the notes of a diminished chord at once?


Difficult on a 4-String bass but possible:
G--18---
D--20---
A--22---
E--0---
(E, G, Bb, Db) Although you'd more likely play that chord as an arpeggio at an easier point of the neck, or just key 'flavour' notes rather than the whole chord.
#15
Diminished or half diminished?

.

In either case I'd either drop the 7th or 3rd, since the diminished 5th is the key element that makes it stand out.

In any case, when playing a chord you might as well leave out anything that isn't a guide tone (i.e the 5th in the vast majority of cases)
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#16
Quote by Rawshik
Is it even possible to play all the notes of a diminished chord at once?
Depends whether you mean diminished, diminished seventh, or half-diminished seventh.

There are a couple ways to play a diminished triad, at least one way to play a diminished seventh, and at least one way to play a half-diminished seventh.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
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