Chord Tones, Scales and Chromatic Notes For Bass

2019-01-12T12:54:36+00:00March 27th, 2015|Categories: Music Theory For Bass Guitar|12 Comments

When bass players take lessons or watch lessons online they tend to be force fed a diet of Chord Tones, Chord Tones, Chord Tones! But you might be wondering why we need to concentrate on these notes first and foremost. You might also be wondering where all the other notes come into the equation.

In this lesson I’m going to try to give you an insight into how this stuff all works together. Chord Tones, Scale notes and Chromatic notes are all equally valid notes. It’s just a matter of understanding how to employ them.

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  1. Paul March 27, 2015 at 8:43 pm - Reply

    Thanks brilliant. Chord. Tones.

  2. Gilbert D'Ugo March 28, 2015 at 11:36 am - Reply

    As usual your bass guitar lessons are excellent & I look forward to your email lessons. I can’t help noticing on your
    green bass guitar there is something between the neck pickup and the bridge pickup. Is it a piece of foam or rubber to
    eliminate unnecessary ringing noices? Your comments please.

    • MarkJSmith April 11, 2015 at 1:56 pm - Reply

      Thanks Gilbert. That’s a ramp. They’re usually wood but mine’s foam at the moment because I’m experimenting with the size and shape. They help with developing 4 finger picking technique and picking speed because you don’t dig in as much. The ramp stop the finger going down any further. Try playing over your pickup and then over no pickup and see how different it feels. That’s what the ramp is for. It gives a consistent feel in the plucking.

  3. Martin March 28, 2015 at 12:53 pm - Reply

    Excellent Mark. So well explained. I always learn something new from your videos.

  4. Bjorn March 28, 2015 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    Great lesson. Something really clicked for me: Why chromatic notes sound better when moving into a chord tone than when moving into a scale tone that is not a chord tone.

  5. Ray Rhodes March 28, 2015 at 6:18 pm - Reply

    Great lesson Mark – really helped my understanding (really my non understanding)

  6. Darryl March 28, 2015 at 7:02 pm - Reply

    Great lesson. Great teacher. You’ve cleared up many questions I’ve had over the years. Keep up the good work!

  7. michael_squire March 29, 2015 at 1:50 pm - Reply

    “… people write books about scales …” I got the joke 😉

  8. Len April 8, 2015 at 10:52 am - Reply

    Excellent Mark!

  9. Susie Jones April 15, 2015 at 6:34 pm - Reply

    Another excellent lesson! I really appreciate your style… you boil things down to the nuts and bolts! and sometimes I laugh out loud at how simple the theory really is… but then how relevant. Thanku

  10. By The Way October 17, 2015 at 5:26 am - Reply

    This hits me very good. Playing the bass the right way. You are truly teacher or mentor for me.

    This makes playing (the/my bass) more interesting. THANK YOU! So I guess first knowing the music theory, second major scale (then all the rest of the scales and how there were built, like knowing the modes), third is know the arpeggio of a certain scale or mode (to find out the chord tones), fourth know the melodic devices on how to go around hitting the chord tones (passing-up/down, neighbor/auxillary-moving back, chromatic, turn, ).

    What am thinking right now is how to make chords out of chord tones (which I notice in your early introduction)? Though not sure if this is the right sentence to ask about it. Or what are the chords that I can make using the major c (using the chord tones right?) for example.
    If so (just in case), can I use those as chords and even the melodic devices as chords as well?

    Mark, truly you make my journey of playing the bass (I guess music in general as well) very enlightening and very eye opening. MORE POWER TO YOU AND TO YOUR FAMILY.

  11. lolibusta April 13, 2018 at 10:45 am - Reply


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