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Bass Guitar Chord Chart for Beginners -- Bass Books and Music

29 April 2016
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Bass Guitar Chord Chart for Beginners

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BASS GUITAR CHORD CHART
See our Chord Studies category here.


Bass guitar chords are simply a fingering pattern that results in a harmonious set of notes when played all at once. Even though typical bass playing rarely calls for strumming across strings the way guitar chording does, knowing the chord progression as well as the notes and fingering “shapes” helps a bassist hear and play appropriate harmonies that suit the mood and feel of a song.

The number and variety of chords that can be played on the bass guitar neck may seem daunting, but fortunately, the beginner only needs to learn how a few shapes are built to know the basic bass chords. Moving these patterns up and down the neck will allow playing in any key.

Bass Guitar Chords

BASS CHORD ENCYCLOPEDIA
Because the bass is providing low-frequency, foundational notes, playing several notes at once will often sound muddy and indistinct. But the notes that make up a chord, and the chord progressions that make up a song, provide the outline for the single-note lines that the bassist plays. While a guitar may play the three or more notes that make up a chord with one strum, the bass will play those same notes, the "chord tones," one at a time. The sequence they are played in depends on the melodic movement of the song, but sometimes the notes will simply be played in order, ascending or descending, in which case we call the line an arpeggio.

In this sense, playing chords on bass guitar is similar to playing scales. There will be more notes in a scale but by selecting certain of those – typically the root, the third and the fifth – chord tones define the structure of the bass line.

The bass chord charts here illustrate potential shapes for C chords and G chords. For C Major, we would typically play the root on the A string at the third fret, a third on the D string at the second fret, and another root on the G string at the fifth fret. (Playing all these up an octave, above the 12th fret, makes the reach easier and keeps the tones clearer.) Now sliding that shape on the neck allows other chords: on the A string fifth fret, it’s a D Major, seventh fret is E Major and so on.

Similarly, G Major is built with the root on the E string at the third fret, the third on the A string at the second fret, and another root on the D string at the fifth fret. Slide this shape up two frets for A Major, another two for B Major, and so on.

BASS CHORDS C


BASS CHORDS G


Books on Bass Guitar Chords

BassBooks.com offers resources to show you bass guitar chord charts, suggest the best bass chords for beginners, and to help you learn how to play bass chords. See our Chord Studies category here. Following are a few books we especially suggest you consider.


CHORD BASSICS

by Jonas Hellborg

Slim enough to toss in your case, this handy guide shows big, readable fingering charts for virtually every chord you will ever need, over 500 in all. Fretboard charts. 76 pages. $5.99

Click here for more details and to order CHORD BASSICS.




CHORD BASSICS

BASS GUITAR CHORD CHART

by William Bay

Here’s a handy fold-out table that collects the fingering patterns for all common variations of chords in every key. You’ll find major, minor, augmented, diminished, minor 6th, major 7th, suspended chords and more. Fretboard diagrams for 4-string bass. $4.95

Click here for more details and to order BASS GUITAR CHORD CHART.



BASS GUITAR CHORD CHART

BASS CHORDS

by William Bay

This handy 5-1/2x8” booklet presents a thorough collection of chord variations both common and obscure. It concludes with harmonized major and minor scales and a series of blues progressions. Lots of meat in a small book! Fretboard diagrams plus standard notation. 64 pages. $9.99

Click here for more details and to order BASS CHORDS.


BASS CHORDS

CHORD TONES BASS BOOK

by Gerardo Colón

As the author astutely observes, “Learn your chord tones well and you will avoid a lot of headaches.” This ebook includes 21 examples of how chord tones can be played across blues, shuffle, walking, salsa, funk and many other styles. Bass lines are built on the tones of the appropriate chord, and readers are guided toward a deep understanding of this structure. Written in standard notation and TAB, with accompanying audio files. 48 pages. $14.00

Click here for more details and to order CHORD TONES BASS BOOK.


CHORD TONES BASS BOOK

BASS CHORD ENCYCLOPEDIA

by Tracy Walton

"The bass guitar is under-exploited as a chordal instrument. There are many uses for chords on the bass - from jazz chord solos to heavy-funk power riffs." This book examines stylistic uses of chords in various genres, voicings for 4- and 5-string basses, theory and intervals in building chords, and more. The CD includes 11 play-along tracks with sample chord progessions and solos. Written in standard notation and TAB. 95 pages. $19.95

Click here for more details and to order BASS CHORD ENCYCLOPEDIA.


BASS CHORD ENCYCLOPEDIA

BASS THE CHORD

by Gerardo Colón

In this ebook, you will learn how to add color and flair to bass lines using chords. "The bass line won't be sacrificed," the author assures. "The chords are going to make the bass lines more interesting and you will have a more complete picture of the rhythm and harmony in each exercise." Written in standard notation and TAB, with accompanying audio files. 21 pages. $14.00

Click here for more details and to order BASS THE CHORD.


BASS THE CHORD

CHORD STUDIES FOR ELECTRIC BASS

by Rich Appleman and Joseph Viola

This Berklee Press Workshop book is for bassists who are looking to develop comprehensive knowledge of all basic and extended chords. It features exercises on technique and melodic sense to help bassists play faster and more melodically in styles from country to rock.Written in standard notation only (no TAB). 144 pages. $16.99

Click here for more details and to order CHORD STUDIES FOR ELECTRIC BASS.


CHORD STUDIES FOR ELECTRIC BASS

CHORDS AND CHORD SHAPES FOR BASS GUITAR

by John Robert Viavittine, Jr. and Steve Drury

In this easily downloaded ebook, the authors present an ambitious compendium of fretboard charts. Chords in all keys and forms are illustrated, with just enough direction to point out how chords are built and how to utilize them in your playing. Fretboard charts. 19 pages. $12.00

Click here for more details and to order CHORDS AND CHORD SHAPES FOR BASS GUITAR.


CHORDS AND CHORD SHAPES FOR BASS GUITAR

A Word About 5-String Bass Chords

All the concepts of building bass lines around chord tones fully apply to 5-string basses (and 6-string). As a practical matter, however, you will find almost all the published TAB and fretboard diagrams on chord studies focus only on the 4-string bass. Still, using the guidelines in there, it’s easy enough to find relevant chord tones to play on your additional strings, if you want to study 5-string bass guitar chords.

Learn Your Bass Guitar Chords!

The great thing about studying how to use and play chords on bass guitar is that you’re probably already doing it. Any time you pick out single-note bass lines by ear to accompany a song, you are seeking appropriate harmonies, and those are simply the component parts of a chord and a chord sequence. Knowing what the relevant chords are, the notes that make them up and the chord sequence a song follows will almost have those bass lines writing themselves.


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