As with any sort of new technique or skill, it's important to focus on building a solid foundation in the basics before you decide to delve any further into the more advanced topics.
For Chords, this means that the first thing to learn to do is play a Basic Triad.
What is It? It is the foundation from which all other Chords are built. There are a variety of Chords out there, but whether you're talking about a Major 7, a 7(#11) or a 9 chord, they all start with the same Triad. In the case of those Chords, they were all built off of the major triad.
A Triad is three notes that are played together to form a particular kind of tonal harmony. There are four main Triads in the western harmonic tradition: Major, Minor, Augmented, and Diminished.
These Triads stand very well on their own and are fine for very many different types of music. However, certain kinds of music require and benefit from extended harmonies. Regardless of what the extended harmonies are, they are always built from one of those triads or a modified version of them.
Now the good news: They are easy to learn!
Since they all basically use a variant of the same fingering, you don't need to worry about trying to memorize all sorts of ridiculous fingerings for each Triad.
The actual Triads themselves are on a separate page. However, this page is all about learning the right hand motions that are required to play every Triad (they're all very similar)!
To play a Basic Triad, you use three fingers: Your Thumb, Index and Middle finger. If you decide to use the Index, Middle, and Ring finger, be aware that you will have to re-learn your fingering for more complex chords, so you might want to try to learn the Triads in this way first anyways.
As the pictures will illustrate, to play a simple Triad, you make the shape of the Triad you want to play with your fretting hand and play the notes with your fingers of your plucking hand. The Thumb plays the root, the Index plays the third and the Middle finger plays the fifth. (For the actual chords themselves, check out my Chords page).
That's it! That's all you need to do to play Basic Triads on the bass.
If you feel like learning how to play Non-Triad Chords because you've had enough of these Basic Triads, you should check them out now. The principal is basically the same, but there are a few differences that you should be aware of.
Return to the Chords Page from the Basic Triads page
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