Re: How to play a song with chords only?


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Posted by Deman on May 22, 2000 at 17:54:01:

In Reply to: How to play a song with chords only? posted by Rockie on May 20, 2000 at 07:23:31:

: Recently my friend(a guitarist) ask me to play bass for some songs and I agreed. But when I look at the songs, they provide no melody but chords only. So, how do I play the songs using just the chords and how can I improve on my bass playing beside playing the roots chords? And by the way, what is this style of bass playing (on roots chords and some simple chords movement change)called?

I don't know what you call that style of playing, but I do know a few very simple ways to build a semi-melodic line from just chords. The main way is to use a 1-5-1 configuration of a chord. A chord is built of three notes, the first, third and fifth. By playing the first, fifth and then the first an octave higher, a very easy melodic line can be attained. A absolutley great example of this is the bass in Hotel California by the Eagles. If you don't know the song, I suggest taking a listen, It's a really great example. To play 1-5-1 is actually simpler than it sounds. It is ALWAYS the same form, moved up and down the neck. Guitarists call these "Power Chords." Now to play:
say we have a simple chord progression of G Bb F
The one are the root of the note, so to play just roots we would play:

G------------------------------------------------
D------------------------------------------------
A------1-------------1---------------------------
E--3-------1------3------1-----------------------

The fifth of a chord is easily found by moving up two frets and up one string, so to play 1-5, we play:
G--------------------------------------------------------------------------
D--------------3------------------------------3----------------------------
A------5---1-----------3--------------5---1-----------3--------------------
E--3---------------1--------------3---------------1------------------------

Most Guitar players (you may want to too) would play the rootst fretted at 3-6-1 instead of 3-1-1 because it is easier to stay on the E string for them.

To add the octave 1, we move up two frets and up two strings (this is also a very useful way to find the octave, up or down of any note) so our 1-5-1 would be:
G----------------------3-----------------------------------------3------------
D----------5-------3---------------3-----------------5-------3---------------3
A------5-------1---------------3-----------------5-------1---------------3----
E--3-----------------------1-----------------3-----------------------1--------

If we were playing along to a song with say a chord beat of GGGG BbBb FF repeating, we could play this:

G------------------3----------------------------------------------------------
D------5--5------3-------3----------------------------------------------------
A----5---5-5---1-------3------------------------------------------------------
E-3------------------1--------------------------------------------------------

This is played to a chord progression that has double the amount of beats on the G as on the Bb and F. Don't worry about getting the rythm right - it's just an example as to how you would use 1-5-1. If you have payed attention you should see the form of these "Power Chords." You can put these on any root note and just play with the rythm and peices of 1-5-1 you use. Play just the fives and octaves, play just ones, switching octaves. The possibilities are endless, and actually, this is a VERY common way to play, especially in rock. Also - If you are following a guitarists playing power chords, now you can follow him with more than just the root of the note, you can play actual melodic lines.
Good luck and Have Fun!!!!!!
Deman

Questions, Comments, Insults?
Deman669@Htmail.com
Deman
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