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How to Play Roots & Fifths on Bass Guitar

Learn how to play roots and fifths on bass guitar from musician John Sutton in this online guitar lesson from Howcast.


Here's how you play roots and fifths on the bass guitar. Any note that is home base for us we're gonna call the root, and fifth means that it's five notes up. So that means five letter names up. So if we start with our E, seventh fret on the A-string, and we go five letter names up, we'll go E, F, G, A, B. Now B happens to be one string up and two frets over, making it out fifth, and it fits really nicely under our fingers so we can play E our route, and our fifth is right under our pinky. Now if we go down, it's gonna be the same note, it has to be B again. So when we go down it's only going to be four notes, but don't let that foul you it's still called the fifth cause it's still the fifth not in the E scale. We go E, D, C, B or E, D, C, B. So it's actually directly underneath the E, one string closer to you. So this relationship between the root and the fifth is the basest for tons of bass lines in all kinds of music, in all kinds of styles. And you can use it endlessly and these two notes always go together and luckily they fit right underneath our fingers. And that's how you play roots and fifths on the bass guitar.

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