BassWork

Eric Plunk on Theory: Lesson #2


Last time I touched on scales, and briefly mentioned chords. Below is a list of 8 chordal patterns. There are MANY more. These patterns can be 'moved' anywhere on the fingerboard. D-dominant has the same pattern as F#-dominant, just different locations on the fingerboard, and therefor different notes.
full diminished chord pattern
     Tonic  m2  M2  m3  M3  P4  +4  P5  m6  M6  m7  M7  Octave
     X              X           X           X           X

half diminished chord pattern
     Tonic  m2  M2  m3  M3  P4  +4  P5  m6  M6  m7  M7  Octave
     X              X           X               X       X

minor chord pattern
     Tonic  m2  M2  m3  M3  P4  +4  P5  m6  M6  m7  M7  Octave
     X              X               X                   X

minor-7 chord pattern
     Tonic  m2  M2  m3  M3  P4  +4  P5  m6  M6  m7  M7  Octave
     X              X               X           X       X

dominant chord pattern
     Tonic  m2  M2  m3  M3  P4  +4  P5  m6  M6  m7  M7  Octave
     X                  X           X           X       X

major-7 chord pattern
     Tonic  m2  M2  m3  M3  P4  +4  P5  m6  M6  m7  M7  Octave
     X                  X           X               X   X

major chord pattern
     Tonic  m2  M2  m3  M3  P4  +4  P5  m6  M6  m7  M7  Octave
     X                  X           X                   X

augmented chord pattern
     Tonic  m2  M2  m3  M3  P4  +4  P5  m6  M6  m7  M7  Octave
     X                  X               X           o   X
(o = optional. The third note is really called "augmented fifth,"
not "minor sixth".)

Chords with 'sus' mean to not play the third.
ie. C7    means C E G Bb (dominant)
    Csus7 means C   G Bb (F is the 4th, and may be played in place
    of the 3rd.)

Chords that tell you which notes to play are common.
ie. Am7  (A minor 7)              = A C E G
    AmM7 (a minor with a Major 7) = A C E G#
    (also written Am#7, A-M7, I think.)

different notations.
minor      = m, -.           (ie. Fm, F-, Fminor.)
major      = M, or nothing.  (ie. GM, G, or GMajor.)
dominant   = dom or 7.       (ie. Bbdom, or Bb7.)
     (note:  BbM7 means use major 7.  If the 'M' is not present,
     it is understood to be a dominant chord.)
diminished = o, or dim       (ie. Do, Ddim.)
augmented  = +, or Aug.      (ie. E+, or Eaug.)

     Keep in mind that the patterns repeat.

     Tonic m2 M2 m3 M3 P4 +4 P5 m6 M6 m7 M7 Oct..

     ..Oct m9 M9 m10 M10 P11 #11 P12 m13 M13 m14 M14 Oct
          (m2 M2 m3  M3  P4  +4  P5  m6  M6  m7  M7  Oct)
     
     Variations of dominant chords are based on this knowledge.

D7#11 = 1   3   5   7   (9)   #11
        D   F#  A   C   (E)   G#

D13   = 1   3   5   7   (9)   (11)  13
        D   F#  A   C   (E)   (G)   B

D7b9  = 1   3   5   7   b9
        D   F#  A   C   Eb

substitutions
Ao replacing D7b9
(Playing A-diminshed over D-dominant chord with a flat-9.)

          Ao = 1   3   5    bb7(same note as M6)
               A   C   Eb   Gb (F#)
               |   |   |        |
D7b9 = 1   3   5   7   b9      (same as 3rd)
       D   F#  A   C   Eb      (F#)

Four out of five notes in the D7b9 chord are used in the Ao chord.
This is why chord substitution sounds so good.
EXERCISE
Try playing any dominant chord (with a b9), and then play a fully-diminished chord starting on the 5th of the dominant.

TRITONE SUBSTITUTION
Tritone: any note that is six frets away from another, up or down. This is the augmented fourth (aka sharp fourth), the flat five. For tritone substitution, you replace one dominant chord with another dominant chord that has its root a tritone away. Let's use F7 and B7.

                         
F7 = 1   3   5   b7      Note that the 3rd equal the b7th of
     F   A   C   Eb      the substitution, and b7 equals the
                         3rd. and vice versa. (A=A, Eb=D#.)
B7 = 1   3   5   b7      The roots are one fret away from the
     B   D#  F#  A       substitute's fifth. and vice versa.
Either chord may be the substitute for the other.

Rock-n-roll "power chords" as I understand them are 'root-5th-oct." This combination sounds 'good' for reasons that physics can explain. The 3rds, 7ths (and 9ths, 11ths, & 13ths) are the 'colors' of the chords. Notice that the 'colors' in tritone substitutions remain the same.

GUIDE TO READING SHEET MUSIC

----------------F    (This is the location)
          E
----------------D    (of the treble clef.)
          C
----------------B    (I don't want to try)
          A
----------------G    (drawing the symbol.)
          F
----------------E         -    -    -    -    -    -    E ----
                                                    D
-    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -   C-    (C-string)
                                              B        ( on a 6.)
-/~~\--------------------------------------A-----------------
|    \  o                               G               G-string
-\_/--|------------------------------F-----------------------
      | o                         E
------|------------------------D----------------------  D-string
     /                      C
----/--------------------B-----------------------------------
   /                  A                                 A-string
--/----------------G-----------------------------------------
                F    
         -   E -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -     E-string
          D
     - C -     -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -
    B                                                  (B-string)
                                                       ( on a 6.)

Note:  The bass plays one octave lower than piano if sounding
       the same note as written.
This is only a start. I'm sure you will have questions, or maybe you know all this already. There is a lot of information, and I can answer specific questions in better detail than I have here. I would advocate picking up Bass Player magazine; a member of TBL has a column dedicated to beginners. Ed Friedland's column is called "The Right Foot."
End of Lesson #2. [Eric Plunk on Theory: Lesson#1] [BassWork Index]