Understanding Bass Chords

Understanding Bass Chords

When you first begin to learn the bass guitar, you could be forgiven for feeling a little overwhelmed at everything you need to learn. The key? Start small and build up in small steps, not moving on until you are 100% sure that you have mastered the step before.

Of course, the first step is finding a bass guitar which suits your needs, and which you can hold and play comfortably. You then need to figure out how you’re going to learn; are you going to teach yourself via online tools, such as Blues Bass For Guitar Players, or are you going to pay for professional bass guitar lessons?

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The choice is quite personal, because what works for one person, may not work for another; you could try a combination of both, as many people seem to find that works best.

One of the first things you will encounter once you have your instrument and you begin your teaching, either individual or teacher-led, is that you need to figure out chords. Now, the bass guitar chord chart is quite difficult to explain in words, but you only need to Google it to find a diagram which will complement our explanation.

What are Chords?

Chords are basically what make up music! Without chords you are playing nonsensical noises which don’t have a pattern or tune at all. You play set, basic chords in an order to create notes, and these notes form a song or tune. You combine chords to create different types of music, and each song is individual, as you would expect.

You play chords with your fingers, usually using a plucking motion, or with a plectrum or pick, depending on which method feels best to you. Bass guitars don’t usually incorporate a strumming motion, although this is not unheard of in some cases.

When you learn how to play the bass guitar, you are basically learning chords first, chord progression, as you move through a song and how they fit together, and also how to place your fingers to create the chord and note in the best way.

Of course, much of chord placement with your hands is personal, whatever works for you, but there is a general bracket of movement which you will work within; you will see this in tutorial videos online, such as at Blues Bass For Guitar Players, or from the movements your teacher shows you.

It’s totally normal to feel a little overwhelmed at first by the sheer number of different chords, progressions, and placement, but it will become second nature over time, honestly! Practice really does make perfect in this case.

The Bass Guitar Chord Chart

The sound of a bass is quite low and deep, and that is because the instrument is low in terms of frequency sound. The music you play on a bass guitar forms the framework and basis of a song, literally the bassline which holds the hold song together from start to finish.

In terms of the bass guitar chord chart, you are best to begin with a four string instrument, which is always advisible for a beginner. You can then progress up to a five or six string instrument as you become more experienced and proficient in playing chords and music overall.

Out of the four strings on the beginners’ bass guitar, you will play these notes:

  • The fourth string is the thickest of them all and this is an E – if you’re going for a deep note, a true bass note, you are using an E
  • String number three is often referred to as the A string, and this is because it plays an A
  • String number two is the D string, playing a D
  • And the first string is the thinnest of them all, and is referred to as the G string, because it is tuned to a G

If you’ve ever played an electric or acoustic guitar you will see some similarities here, but the bass guitar is basically set a sound, or octave, lower than regular string instruments, to give that deep bassy sound.

The first note you will learn how to play is the first string, the G note. Again, practice until the sound is right, until you can naturally pluck at the string, either with your fingers or a plectrum/pick, and it feels comfortable.

Understanding bass guitar chords will take time and patience, but don’t give up! You’ll soon be playing music like it’s totally natural to you.

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