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Scales and Modes with Joshua Barnhart: Chords for Bass

Meet Joshua Barnhart –

Happy New Year and I hope you all had a great set of holidays.

In this set of articles we’re going to look at chords for bass. We’re going to start with our basic 3 part chords patterns.

First lets look at the closed position Major triad and inversions.

Root:

If use the red dot as your room then you have all 3 inversions of a closed position major chord. Lets say the red dot is C, then each chart is as follows Ceg, egC,gCe. But keep in mind for this article, its not important what note you play as long as you have the pattern down you can apply the it to any note you want. I personally would use individually fingers on each note, expect for 1st inversion where I would bar the root and 5th.
Now lets look at minor, they’re much the same only now the third is shifted.

Root:

I would approach these chords with the same fingerings as the major chords, as in I would use individual fingers for each voice and only bar the 1st inversion.

Next up are Sus4 triads.

Root:

The root position fingering I would use individual fingers, but the rest I would bar what I can.

Next up is Augmented; it’s a major triad with the 5th raised one half step. And because it’s a series of major thirds all three inversions look exactly the same.

Root:

Again each of these is individually fingered.

Next up is the diminished triad. Now the chats that I’m using are 1 too short to pull off the root position triad, so I’m going to place the dot on the last line just so you know that it’s the next fret just off the chord chart.

Root:

Ultimately the great thing about learning chords like this is you can play the melody in the top voice. Todd Johnson calls them grips, but these chords should turn any player into a Joe Passs-esque bass guitarist. Enjoy.

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