Ever wonder if you can play chords on the bass guitar? The answer is yes!
Some chords work better than others, especially because of the limited strings and size of the strings as well. Even if you have an extended range bass, such as a 5 or 6 string, strumming large chords using 5 or 6 strings may sound like a muddy mess, and can also be very challenging due to how big the neck of the bass is.
This lesson will show a few chords I like to use on the bass.
First, let's take a look at a simple bass line in the key of Am.
To beef up this bass line, and to make it sound fatter, the first thing I would do is use power chords (aka: 5th chords). Steve Harris from Iron Maiden uses this type of chord a lot.
Those two finger chords should be played with your first and third fingers, or your first and fourth fingers.
You can strum those chords, or any chords with your thumb, your finger nails, a pick, any way that you're comfortable with.
To make the bass sound even bigger, you can add a third finger to the previous chord shapes to make a three finger power chord (aka: 5th chord).
For those chords you'll want to use your first, third, and fourth fingers.
The three finger power chords may prove challenging for some players at first because of how much hand strength is needed to hold down all the notes properly. However, just like anything else in learning to play the bass, just stick with it, and eventually you'll be able to play these chords with ease.
Now, let's take a look at some chords to add some color to that simple bass line that was shown before the power chords.
This next bass line will be using Major and minor dyads. Dyads are two note chords. I like to just call them two finger Major and two finger minor chords.
For the Major shapes use your second and first fingers.
For minor shapes use your third and first fingers.
Sometimes it may sound better on the bass to play chords like this at a higher octave so you can hear the notes easier.
Here's the same bass line an octave higher:
For the last example in this lesson, we'll take a look at some of my favorite sounding chords that are based off of 7th chords. The only thing missing from the following chord shapes to make them full 7th chords is the 5th interval.
What does it mean that they're missing the 5th interval? If you don't know, comment on this entry and I'll put a lesson together explaining intervals!
That was a bass line you can strum any way you want. I just really like the sound of those chords in that particular order.
For the m7 chords I use my third, first, and fourth fingers.
For the Maj7 chords I use my second, first, and fourth fingers.
For the 7 chord I use my second, first, and third fingers.
There are plenty of other chords you could strum on a bass. If you want more examples, just let me know!
Do you have any chords you like to use? Please share in the comments.
This video demonstrates all the bass lines in this lesson, plus a bit more.
The pentatonic scale is one of the most popular scales used in guitar solos and leads. The pentatonic is a 5 note scale.
Penta = 5
Tonic = tone (aka: note)
This lesson will show the 5 different shapes for the pentatonic scale in the key of F minor. The notes being used are: F, Ab, Bb, C, and Eb
A lot of the time you will see scales shown in a diagram form. You will see a picture of a guitar neck with dots on each string and fret to show what notes are to be played to make the scale happen.
For those of you new to this concept, you can also view the tablature beneath each diagram to see how to play each scale shape.
There are going to be 5 shapes total because you will have a scale shape building on each of the 5 notes that create the scale.
One thing I advise all students to do when learning these scale shapes is to begin each string with the index finger. Use your ring finger for the smaller gaps between notes, and use your pinky for the larger gaps between notes.
Shape #1 (aka: minor pentatonic scale)
Shape #2 (aka: Major pentatonic scale)
Here are all 5 shapes shown together on one fretboard:
Now, let's take a look at all 5 shapes on the same fretboard again, but this time each shape will be highlighted in red so they stand out better.
Shape #1 (aka: minor pentatonic scale)
Shape #2 (aka: Major pentatonic scale)
Shape #1 at a higher octave
If the fretboard being used in these images was any longer, then you could see that Shape #2 would happen again, then #3, #4, and so on.
Now, let's take a look at how each of these shapes are connected and sharing similar notes.
Shapes #1 and #2
Shapes #2 and #3
Shapes #3 and #4
Shapes #4 and #5
Shapes #5 and #1
There's no right or wrong way to move from shape to shape when playing lead guitar/solos. If you'd like some examples of connecting shapes with some riffs/licks, comment on this blog and let me know!
Check out the following video for demonstrations on everything shown here, plus a little extra!
Looking to record guitars with Studio One by PreSonus? Excellent choice! I love Studio One.
First thing you're going to need is an interface. You have to have something to pick up your playing, whether it's from a mic or by directly plugging your guitar into the interface.
I use the PreSonus Firebox (which is no longer being made), but you can use any interface you really want. Yes, the more you spend will typically lead to better recording quality.
CLICK HERE to check out some different interfaces.
Once you have your interface installed and ready to go, open up Studio One.
After you've opened Studio One and started a new song, there are a few ways to create a track to begin recording guitars.
First, you can click on the plus sign in the upper left portion of Studio One to open a new track.
You can also click on "Track" up in the menu area.
Clicking on "Track" will present a drop down menu where you will select "Add Tracks"
Or, you can just hit the letter "T" on your keyboard to start the new track.
Once you've followed either of those options to start a new track, you'll be presented with a window giving you some options.
Some of the options you'll need to select can be determined by the type of interface you have, and which input you've used to plug in your microphone or guitar.
It's important that you have "Audio" selected in the "Type" option.
Once you have your options set correctly, click on OK
Now, you should have a track with which you can begin recording your guitar. You can also change your input/audio options even after you've completed the previous step.
To change your input/audio options click on the areas in the red boxes shown in the next picture.
In order to hear your guitar you'll need to click on the "monitor" icon. When it's selected it will be highlighted so you know it's on.
If you can't hear your guitar playing when you strum the strings you may need to change your input/audio settings. If changing those don't work, you may have to double check the installation of your interface. You can check the help manual in Studio One for troubleshooting this if necessary.
The next thing to do is click on the "record" icon to enable recording to the track you've just created. It will be highlighted when that button has been activated.
You're ready to start recording! You can now click on "record" at the bottom of Studio One
If you hover your mouse over "record" a small window will pop up telling you what your keyboard shortcut is to start recording. This is what it looks like for me:
Once you hit "record" or hit your keyboard shortcut to begin recording, start playing!
If you've done everything correct, you'll see "record" and "play" both highlighted at the same time while you're recording.
When you're ready to stop recording, just hit your space bar, or click on "stop"
Another option you have to start recording guitars is to use amp simulation software. Ampire is what comes with Studio One, but you can also use 3rd party plug-ins you purchase.
The easiest way to add a track for recording guitar if you're going to use amp simulation software is to use the drag and drop feature.
First, go over the browse menu.
If you do not see this menu you will need to click on "Browse" in the bottom right corner of Studio One.
Next, click on "Effects" either in the list currently shown, or in the different folders shown at the top of the browse menu.
Now, click on the plug-in you wish to use, and hold down the mouse button. I'll use Ampire for this example.
Now, move your mouse over to the track area while still holding down your mouse button. In other words, drag the plug-in over to the track area. Once you're there, just let go of the mouse button and you'll have a new track pop up!
That's it! That's how you start recording guitars in Studio One. Have fun creating!
Do you hate the way your own guitar solos sound? Have you thought about why?
If you don't like what you've been playing, I have some questions for you.
Are you playing in the appropriate key? Are you using the correct scales? Are you staying within those scales?
If the answer is no for those questions, then that may be a good place to start looking. It's important to know what key you are going to solo in, and what scales work with that key.
However, if you answered yes to those questions, then perhaps you are actually playing better than you realize.
Quite often, people are just overly critical of themselves and will automatically put down anything they do. This is especially true when it comes to those new to learning guitar. Even if it actually does sound good, their mindset is already focused on the negative and that's that.
So, if you're playing in the correct key, using the right scales, perhaps you can ask your teacher to listen to you play and get their opinion. You can also ask friends or family members. If you're brave enough, you can post an audio clip or video of you doing some improv online. I'm more than happy to take a listen to what you're working on.
Now, if you get compliments on your playing, I invite you to accept them and the idea that you actually play better than you give yourself credit for.
And, as always, the more you play solos the better they'll sound to you. So keep playing, and keep trying to have fun with your leads!
Are you looking how to master the guitar? Have you seen books claiming you can master the guitar by following the steps inside? Have you seen advertisements on how to "master the fretboard" and other such things?
Well, I have some news for you...
You will NEVER master the guitar. NEVER!
No one is ever going to master the guitar, bass, drums, or any other instrument for that matter. Why?
Because saying you have mastered something, to me, means that you cannot possibly improve any further. You have reached the peak and achieved perfection. There isn't a single thing you can do to possibly make any kind of improvement.
Everybody, no matter who they are or how long they've played, can always improve at something. I guarantee all the guitar greats you look up to will agree.
Sure, plenty of those guitar greats are considered "masters". Guys like Steve Vai, Satriani, Paul Gilbert, etc. are so damn good at what they do that people consider them masters.
That being said, there's still something all of them can work on and improve. I'm sure they would all agree.
I've been playing for nearly 20 years and I still find things I can get better at. This will always be the case.
Music is an ongoing journey with no end. No matter how many ways you've learned how to use various techniques there will always be something new to try. The possibilities in music are truly endless.
Now, I didn't put this entry together to discourage anyone. I feel that it's important to know that anyone advertising that you can "master the guitar" is straight up lying to.
It's complete and utter bullshit!
Yes, there certainly can be things of value found in books that claim mastering, or things found online. However, they're using this claim as a gimmick to get you to buy their product. I think that's just wrong.
So, as you continue on with your musical journey, I hope you will realize that looking to master your instrument is simply not the way. I hope you will have fun with music and continue to grow as a musician so you may express yourself musically in any way you wish.
I was asked to put a video together to show what techniques are used in death and black metal. All the techniques used in this style of music are really used in just about any form of metal, or music in general.
It's how you use the techniques that count.
However, the techniques used a lot are:
Death and black metal, in my opinion, are both very similar. They're both extremely aggressive in how they sound. They both have strong negative emotions attached to what is played.
There's a lot of hate and anger with how the notes are played, as well as the lyrics. Sometimes the lyrics can be more political, or story telling, but most of the time they deal with something harsh.
Death metal tends to be played in the lower register of notes for the riffs and rhythms. Black metal tends to be a bit higher pitched. That was just a broad generalization. There are always exceptions.
Death and black metal will sometimes borrow elements from each other. For the inexperienced listener it can be next to impossible to tell the difference between these two styles of music.
To truly learn how to play death and/or black metal, it would do you well to learn the songs, or parts of songs, that have a sound you're looking to emulate.
Learning what chords are used and how the individual notes of riffs are structured will help you to hear how different sounds and emotions are created.
Learning different scales and chord theory will also help with this. Starting with minor and harmonic minor scales is a good place. Understanding triad chords is where I recommend you start learning about chord theory.
Do you have any thoughts or opinions about how death and black metal are different? Perhaps how they're related? Please share your ideas in the comments!
John Taylor - guitar and bass instructor for Mile High Shred.