2011 Bob Culbertson
Basic Bass Side Chords


This lesson we will learn basic bass side chording.  There are two basic chord shapes to begin with.  FIG 1 shows the fingering for a (G major chord and G minor chord).  Notice the root  is playing the lowest note.  Notice the 3rd is 1/2 step lower on the G minor.
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Fig 1
To play the chord, start on the root with your first finger then play 3rd and finally the 5th.  When you practice, hold down each note after it is played and then play the next note.  This technique adds to the sustain of the chord and sounds much better.  Notice that the root is lined up with (G).  To find any chord just line up the root with the note in the bass you want to play.  Use the "alphabet" (described in the Alphabet and warm-up) lesson.
Now you are ready to try a simple chord progression. In FIG 2, on the bass side we see the chords in tablature to play.  Each measure contains 4 quarter notes.  The red numbers below the tablature tell you what finger to use.  Remember hold the notes down as long as possible for sustain and play slowly and evenly at first.
Fig 2
Once you master the chords try and play the note (A) in the other hand, as shown in the diagram above.  This makes a good counting exercise along with the chords.  Next play the melody side chords(if you know them) along with the bass chords.  A good place to start is by playing the chords on the first beat of the measure for each chord.
I use these chords all the time to arrange songs.  They make some of the best sounding background chords for melodies.