Today I’m going to show you a simple exercise that will help you improve your understanding of functional harmony and music theory, your overall technique, your knowledge of the bass guitar fretboard and your ability to play bass chords.

Chord Voicings

OK, so the basic opening exercise we’re going to learn is very simple. We just work up and back down through the triads within a major scale.

So first things first we need to know some basic triad voicings. For our first set we’ll be looking at the Closed Voicings with root notes on an A String:

For root notes on an E string we can use Open Voicings by raising the third an octave:


The Chord Exercise

  • #1 Choose a key
  • #2 Write out the Major Scale (by note)
  • #3 Write out the Chords Of The Key
  • #4 Play through the scale on a single string (start at the lowest point possible)
  • #5 Play through the chords
  • #6 Apply exercise to all keys (spend as long as needed on one key – days or even months)

Chords In A Major Key

As a guide, use the following list of chords in a major key:

  • Chord 1: Major
  • Chord 2: Minor
  • Chord 3: Minor
  • Chord 4: Major
  • Chord 5: Major
  • Chord 6: Minor
  • Chord 7: Diminished

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