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What Is a Bass Chord Pattern?

Learn how to understand bass chord patterns from musician John Sutton in this online guitar lesson from Howcast.

Transcript

When we talk about chord patterns on the bass, we are always gonna be talking about playing chords instead of scales, as referring to the notes that they hold in the scale. So, if we're talking about a major chord, we'll talk about it in terms of the root, which is the 1st note of a scale, and the chord. We'll talk about the 3rd, which is the 3rd note of the scale, and we talk about the 5th, which is the 5th note of the scale. And then, lastly, we often talk about the 6th or the 7th. So, often, when we talk about chord types, there are 3 or 4 defining notes in the chord. A triad has 3, and when we talk about chords with 7ths in them, then there's 4 notes. Here's an example using the chords that start on G to illustrate our point. G major is based off the G major scale. So, we use the root, the 3rd note of the scale, B, and the 5th note of the scale, D, before returning to the root. If we wanted to play minor, the 5th stays the same, we lower what we're calling the 3rd, which is the 2nd note we're playing. G, now it's B flat, D, and G. And that makes the chord minor. If you want to make a chord diminished, you would lower the 5th as well.

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