Why Play Chords?

Why would a Bass player want to learn to play chords?

Well...... while that isn't the main job of the bass player, the bass player is expected to know not only how chords sound and how they are built, but how they function within the context of a musical piece.

So, why not learn to play some chords and get a better knowledge of what you're supposed to learn as a bass player?

Now, you don't NEED to learn to play chords, but why wouldn't you want to anyways? If you have to learn how they work, why not learn how to employ them in your playing?

One of the main advantages of knowing how to play chords and chord structures is that you will be able to memorize how scales and arpeggios work with chords a lot quicker if you can recall them at will. They will solidify your knowledge of the basics and more advanced scales and arpeggios by linking them to something that you already know and will provide a strong harmonic foundation and anchor from which to build upon.

Bass Chords also sound very cool. There is a very distinct difference from the way that guitar and piano chords sound in comparison to the bass. Where the guitar can sometimes sound a bit twangy when it comes to chords, the bass tends to sound very full and lush in its chordal character.

Have you ever tried to compose on the bass? If you have, you know that it can be frustrating to have to try to jump to a piano or guitar to figure out chord structure and progressions. With bass chords, you can jump from a bass line to a chordal part on the same instrument. It will help to streamline the technical part of the songwriting process and allow you to come up with more interesting parts altogether.

If you decide that you want to play piano pieces or classical guitar parts, having a thorough knowledge of chords will definitely help you play those pieces more effortlessly. I am currently working through Debussy and Tarrega pieces on the bass and I would not be able to do what I am without the chordal knowledge that I have.

Above all else, even without all of that technical stuff, learning chords is still an awesome way to exercise your fingers on the bass. Nothing will challenge your fingerings and knowledge of the fretboard of the bass like a good chordal workout.

I hope that this has given you and idea of why learning chords is a good idea. If you still don't want to learn them, then by all means, skip this part of my site. But, if you're even slightly interested in learning some chordal techniques, I highly recommend that you read through the rest of the Playing Chords part of my site.

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