Pick The Bass Notes | Hub Guitar

Pick The Bass Notes

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Pick the Bass Notes Let's talk about how to play chords and bass all together using the pick. This is a technique that I like to use to build right-hand accuracy. It combines the loose and relaxed stroke of a chord strum, with the tight and accurate pluck of a single note being picked. All we need to begin is a simple chord progression. I'm going to use C, Am, F and G. I'm going to pick the root note of each chord in the bass, so that's C for C major, A for A minor, F for F major and G for G major. For the F major, I can use this note on the fourth string, or I can fret the F on the Ist fret of the 6th string. Now I'm going to try to play that in time. The bass note will be "one" and "three" and I'll strum the rest of the chord on "two" and "four". [demonstration] This is a nice little pattern that combines two fairly different strokes. Practice this with different chords at different speeds, and watch your picking hand accuracy increase by leaps and bounds.

  1. Form chords from a chord progression with your fretting hand.
  2. For each chord, first pluck the root note to serve as a bass note, then strum the remaining upper notes of the chord.
  3. Start slowly and focus on accurately mingling the bass note sound with the sound of the upper chord.

Picking the Bass Notes

This technique will help you to improve the accuracy of your picking hand because you will need to use it to target the bass notes and separate them from the rest of the chord. This can be a little tricky to do up to speed.

In a more advanced form, this exercise can also be used to create an alternating bass line between the chord’s root and fifth, or to play connecting bass tones between chords.

Let’s take a look at some examples. Repeat each example until you can play fluently, accurately plucking any bass notes between chord strums.

Root + Chord

In the first example, a very typical chord progression is expanded upon by breaking apart the root and the rest of the chord. On beat “1” we'll play the root, strumming the upper chord on remaining beats.

Separating bass from the chords and building right-hand accuracy..

Alternating Root + Fifth

This common bass motion can be played along with most chords. Start by plucking the root of the chord, and then go up (or down, as is sometimes preferable) to the fifth. This bass pattern is accompanied by the upper chord, which is interspersed on beats 2 and 4.

Building right-hand accuracy with an alternate root-five bass motion.

Connecting Chord Lines

Another possibility is to use the notes of the prevailing scale to connect the chord lines.

Building pick-hand accuracy with by adding melodic bass sequences to connect chords.
As the creator of Hub Guitar, Grey has compiled hundreds of guitar lessons, written several books, and filmed hundreds of video lessons. He teaches private lessons in his Boston studio, as well as via video chat through TakeLessons.

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