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So you’re a bass player, right? But did you ever wonder, what’s the role of a bass player? It’s easier to define with guitar and piano/keyboard players for instance. They play chords throughout the song and then if needed they might take a solo. Simple. Learn chords, learn how to solo, job done!
But what about bass players!?
Well, here’s the deal. We have to do exactly the same thing.
Let’s get rid of the soloing part of the equation for now. That’s for another day. Let’s focus on “the chords”
So as I stated above, guitarists and keyboardists will play the chords throughout a song. As bass players we must also represent the chords in the song, this is commonly known as “outlining the chords”, but instead of playing all the notes of the chord at once like a guitarist might do, we play the notes of the chord one at a time.
But how do we know the notes of each of the chords!?
Easy, we learn our arpeggios.
The word arpeggio tends to make things sound a little more complicated than they are. All an arpeggio is, is a chord played one note at a time. So if you learn all your arpeggios, you’ve learned all your chords! Essentially, you’re ready to rock (or jazz, or country, or whatever else does it for you right now) 😉
But here’s the gag. Learning and putting your arpeggios into use isn’t easy, it takes practice and dedication to master all of the chord types over the entire fretboard. It should be one of your “big goals” and when you master them it will give you endless possibilities of bass lines and solos. The arpeggios in my opinion are one of the most important things you can ever be working on, so I really recommend you work on these daily or at least when your practice schedule permits.
I talk about the arpeggios (also know as chord tones) and why they are so important all of the time with the members of the SBL Academy. In fact, I they’re probably sick of me saying it… “learn your chord tones, learn your chord tones!” I’m like a broken record 😉 … but I mean it. If you do this it will have a dramatic effect on your bass playing and overall musicianship in a big way.
In this guide I take a simple chord sequence and show you exactly how i’m using arpeggios/chord tones to build my bass lines. I start super simple, just with root notes. I then start adding in the other elements of the arpeggios like 3rds and 5ths, and then finally introduce chromatic notes into the mix.
This lesson will give you a great insight into how to create bass lines using arpeggios and other devices such as chromatic passing tones.
As always, see you in the shed…
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