Bass Lines With Jaime Vazquez: Grooving with the Chord Tones

Meet Jaime Vazquez

WELCOME TO THE NEW DECADE! Hope you’ re grooving a lot my friends!!! This time we’ re going to work with the chord tones. So, if you want to go out of the root this is the best choice! Why? Well, they give you the chance to enhance your bass lines. You can listen to a lot of great grooves based on chord tones. So, if you have a C chord you can groove with C, E and G. Let’s play with some examples!

Figure 1, we have a groove based on E7(#9) chord (the Jimi Hendrix Chord). The E7(#9) chord is (E-G-G#-B-D). As you can see, this syncopated groove is using all the chord tones. Check how every note plays an essential part for the bass line.

Click to the left to enlarge the image…

Figure 2, a bass line influenced by the 70’s disco. The first bar is based on Dm7 chord (D-F-A-C) and the second bar is a G9 chord (G-B-D-F-A). The cool thing about this bass line is that we are playing the chord tones in octaves. For example, for the first bar we are playing D and F in octaves in the Dm7 chord and for the second bar we are playing G, A and B in the G9 chord.

Figure 3, is a blues bass line. For the first bar, we have an A7sus chord (A-D-E-G) and for the second bar an E7 chord (E-G#-B-D). Here’s a good example of how the chord tones brings a lot of motion to your grooves!

Feel free to experiment with the chord tones. They’ re a great tool for playing bass lines and solos too. Keep on grooving and enjoy the new decade!

Jaime Vazquez

About Jaime Vazquez

Jaime David Vazquez was born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico and loves the low frequencies in music. He is endorsed by Radial Engineering, SIT strings, DeLano pickups, Ashdown amps, Eventide, Eminence speakers, Analysis Plus Inc. cables, Italia Leather straps, MTD Basses, Scratch Pad Guitar Finish Protectors, Hipshot Products Inc., iGig gig bags/cases, Morley Pedals, Gruv Gear and JDV Series Custom Bass Cabs.


  1. F.Montalvo Vega says

    very interesting, i’m drummer, but i am big fan of bass players,

    Jaime, keep rockin!!!!!!

  2. says

    Lesson #1. A very basic bass groove. Lesson #2 & Lesson #3, a great workout exercise for bassist and guitarrists alike.

    Keep up the good work n’ the chops going!

  3. andy says

    I like this guy……..he is very fluid and consistent. Always a first choice for critical projects in the studio.

  4. says

    Excelente articulo, tremendo para no perder de perspectiva el trabajo del bajo y hacer una tremenda linea de bajo diferentes a la que siempre escuchamos por ahi. despues de practicarla en el bajo, el segundo paso seria buscar un baterista para darle el Punche y el feeling necesario. Mucho exito a Jaime D. Vazquez y a todos los que cada dia aprenden mas y se desarrollan con cada uno de estos tremendo articulos. Jaime nunca detengas esa creatividad y ese don de enseñar tu talento a los demas.

    Tremendo trabajo
    Mucho exito
    Roberto Vazquez

  5. Shanom says

    I’ve heard this guy play. He is impresive! But what I like the most about him is the way he respects the music. He gives a heck of a performance but never going over the line allowing for the band to sound compact and precise. I give him an A and it’s very cool that he is sharing the knowledge.

  6. says

    Excellent lesson Jaime. Thank you for sharing your knowledge… I play with him and he really is an impressive musician, dominating guitar, piano, and obviously the BASS. He really is a master at what he does. It is an honor working with you.

  7. Jan Rivera says

    Good column… Chord tones are definitely one of the most important aspects of music, the foundation over which every melodic and harmonic statement is laid over.

    It’s good to see different examples of the concept throughout multiple genres.
    Doing this only reinforces the importance of the concept and shows it versatility.

    It is important to note that when a bass player uses chord tones as a basis for creating a groove, it opens up space for the soloist to utilize whatever extensions he decides to use. This way, the soloist is truly free and doesn’t have to worry about a collision of extensions.

  8. Ariel says

    Congratulations!…these articles are very helpful for any instrumentalist and musician; thank you for sharing your precious knowledge.


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