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learn guitar  | country guitar | bass parts


  Learn Country Guitar: 3 Tips To Create Professional Bass Parts

  Traditional country songs all feature strong bass parts, in fact
  many tunes were recorded with two bass parts, a string bass
  (upright bass) that duplicated and reinforced the electric bass.

  Sometimes the electric bass was played with a pick to give more
  definition. Playing with a pick created a brighter sound which
  produced an audible 'click' a split second before the actual

  On the other hand, some country record producers preferred the
  electric bass player to use a felt pick. Felt picks are usually
  used for playing ukuleles, however when used on an electric bass
  can produce a sound similar to that of an upright bass.

  Often a guitar player finds himself or herself in a situation
  where there isn't a backing band to help them present their
  material, that's when it's handy to be able to create your own
  bass part on the guitar.

  Here's three tips to help you create great sounding bass parts on
  your guitar.

  1. Tonic note on first beat

  The most important thing to remember when creating a bass part
  is to play the tonic note on the first beat. This is an very
  basic idea, but one that must not be overlooked.

  The tonic note is the same name as the chord e.g., if you were
  playing a 'D' chord the tonic note would be 'D'.

  Here is how you would apply this principle, let's say you have a
  rhythm guitar part that consisted of the following 8 bars:

  D      D      G     G
  //// | //// | //// |//// |

  A7      A7    D     D
  //// | //// | //// |//// ||

  Simply replace the first strum in each bar with a bass note the
  same name as the chord, in the instance of A7, use the note 'A'.

  D      D      G     G
  D/// | D/// | G/// |G/// |

  A7     A7     D     D
  A/// | A/// | D/// |D/// ||

  Regardless of the chord type e.g., whether it is a major, minor
  or seventh chord etc., you still play the tonic note i.e., a bass
  note the same letter name as the chord itself.

  2. Learn to create alternating bass parts

  The next step is to create an alternating bass part, this is done
  by playing the tonic note on beat one of the bar then playing the
  fifth of the chord on the third beat.

  Again, using 'D' chord as an example: the tonic would be 'D' and
  the fifth note (the alternating note) would be 'A'.

  D, E, F#, G, A

  1, 2, 3 ,  4, 5

  Notice how I had to make the third note F# because the key of D
  contains two sharps F# and C#.

  Using this concept you can easily create professional bass
  parts for any major, minor or dominant seventh chord.

  Here's another example this time using A7: the tonic would be 'A'
  and the fifth note (the alternating note) would be 'E'.

  A, B, C#, D, E

  1, 2,  3 , 4, 5

  3. Bass patterns in 3/4 time

  Country songs in 3/4 time require special treatment, there's two
  ways to can approach this challenge.

  (a) use exclusively the 'tonic only' on the first beat bass part
  approach like this:

  D     D     G    G
  D// | D// | G// |G// |

  A7    A7    D    D
  A// | A// | D// |D// ||

  (b) when there are two bars of the same chord use alternating
  bass and when there is only one bar of a chord use 'tonic' on the
  first beat.

  Like this ...

  D     D     G    A7
  D// | D// | G// |A// |

  Em    A7    D    D
  E// | A// | D// |D// ||

  Even if you do play with a bass player the octave difference
  between the pitch of the notes on a guitar and bass guitar will
  make certain your bass parts won't get in the way of the bass
  player, in fact it will sound great especially if you palm mute
  your bass part on the guitar.

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