Lessons for Beginners: Patterns
Patterns of notes help bass guitarists produce a rich, full sound. Some of the most common patterns that bass guitarists play are known as chords. Chords are combinations of two, three, or four notes played simultaneously. Bass guitarists generally do not play full chords by themselves, but form chords when their notes combine with guitars and other instruments in a band.
For example, if during a song a guitar player is playing a C Major Chord (which contains the notes C, E, and G) then the bass guitarist might play only one of these notes in order to emphasize the sound. A root note is the note on which each chord is built. The root note of a C Major Chord is C. In many songs, the bass guitarist will play only the root note of a chord. The guitar and other instruments in the band will play the other notes of the chord.
An octave pattern consists of playing a note on the bass guitar and then playing the same note but one octave higher or lower. To move the 12 half steps that make up an octave on the bass guitar, simply move two frets closer to the body of the bass guitar and down two strings. You can also move two frets up the neck and up two strings. This is a quick way to find a note that is exactly one octave away from the note you are playing.
Root and Fifth patterns consist of playing two notes: first a root note and then the fifth note in the scale. To find the fifth note, move two frets closer to the body of the bass guitar and one string lower. Practice moving back and forth between the two notes, playing each once.
Root, Fifth, and Sixth patterns consist of playing three notes: first a root note, next the fifth note in the scale, and then the sixth note in the scale. Start practicing this pattern once you have mastered the root and fifth pattern.
The key points of this lesson are:
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