Chords on Bass Guitar | Tutorial

Gear used:
We use Triad Orbit stands for our videos:

What, why, when, where and how to use chords on bass – as it isn’t the same approach as on guitar – Russell’s got you covered!

Interesting bits and pieces:
0:09 Introduction
0:20 Bass for today

0:53 What do you have to do to change the chordal structure in a band?

1:32 Why do chords sound different on bass?

3:42 Where should you play chords on the fretboard?
4:26 Jaco Pastorius pattern example (1 and 3)
5:26 Difference between chordal structure on guitar and bass – do you really need to play every note?

5:46 Why would you play chords and when?

6:09 How does it transfer to playing?
6:18 Example 1: Blues Loop (7 to 3, 3 to 7)
8:43 As little movement as possible with chords

9:00 Use open strings
9:31 Example 2: Jacos version of America (open strings, going over E, A and D)
11:36 Example 3 (open strings, pedaling over A)

12:33 Conclusion: Top 6 points

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Video Rating: / 5


  1. I did not know that Bradley Cooper play bass.

  2. that intro <3

  3. Legalize rosewood!!

  4. Steve Harris does power chords pretty much all of the time. And Billy Sheehan sure does love the octave and occasional fifth to fatten up the sound 🙂

  5. Alejandro Alcázar Flores

    J U S T I N C H A N C E L L O R

  6. The mumbling at the start and the poor acting (not insulting, I chuckle'd) made me subscribe

  7. joy division!

  8. Socrates Brasilero

    Can you tell me the name of the pedal you're using? Thanks

  9. I put a 5th at the top of voicings all the time, especially if it's part if the melody, which it often is.
    To suggest that one should never play the 5th in a chord voicing is not good advice. You're telling people to artificially limit themselves. There's just no reason for that.
    I'll make a short list of intervals that work as part of bass chords:
    Flat 2nd
    minor 3rd
    major 3rd
    diminished 5th
    augmented 5th
    dominant 7th
    major 7th
    flat 9th

    You get the idea.

  10. Vincent Crasset

    Very interesting for noobies like me 🙂

  11. for those that don't want to omit the 5th/octave (arpeggiating is a perfect scenario for this) you should show the standard triad, first inversion and second inversion shapes (6 total to show both major and minor triads).

  12. something this video fails to mention directly is the concept of musical space. I see a comment below mentioning justin chancellor of tool. Perfect example – he and adam jones switch roles regularly. If the people you're playing, don't get in your fucking way, the bass can do whatever, whenever, especially if you have a C string.

  13. The german Hardcore-Band Fjort from Aachen is a good example for chords on bass in these kinds of genre. While Chris plays almost only melody on guitar, David lays a foundation with chords on bass. Off course it sounds muddy at times, also due to the low tuning in Drop-C (C-G-C-F) and dozens of effects (Distortion, Fuzz, Rerverb/Delay), but it works out very well for the typ of music.

  14. eddie vadder turned to bass

  15. The last part for Goodbye Angels by RHCP is all about 10ths on bass! Check it !


  17. Gerard van Doornmalen

    Check out Janek Gwisdala

  18. Chord Guru when it comes to bass, Steve Bailey, no one knows chords on the bass better than him.

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