Hey Everyone, It’s been a few weeks since my last post and even longer since my last lesson. Last month was devoted mainly to interviews of Bass giants David Ellefson and Frank Bello, what a month! Check out the interviews if you have not already. They both have such a long, incredible history and musical journey and had great stories and wisdom to share.
Now it’s back to the grind. I thought it would be cool to cover diatonic 7th chords/arpeggios. Diatonic means that all the notes are contained in one key/major scale and they are referred to as 7th chords because they now all contain the note a 7th degree away from each root. In a previous lesson on the G major scale, I covered diatonic triads, chords consisting of a root, 3rd and 5th built from each scale degree. Here is the exercise again as a refresher.
To turn these into 7th chords, all we need to do is add the note that is the 2nd scale tone away from the from the 5th. This also happens to be the scale tone that is directly below the root, for example, the 7th of G is F# and the 7th of A is G. The major 7th is a 1/2 step away from the root while the minor 7th is a whole step.
Here is a list of notes contained in each new chord and the new chord quality. It’s helpful to keep repeating the chord tones, to get used to counting up in 3rds. It gets easy to count up in 3rds after you’ve been doing it for a while.
G B D F# Major 7
A C E G minor7
B D F# A minor7
C E G B Major7
D F# A C Dom7
E G B D minor7
F# A C E minor7 (b5)
Adding these 7ths changes the sound of the chords. The I and IV chords will still have that major sound and the ii, iii and vi still have the minor quality but now the major V triad has turned into a dominant chord because of it’s minor (flat) 7. The dominant chord contains 3 very strong tendency tones and once heard generally evokes a feeling of needing to resolve. Lastly the minor b5 triad has now become the minor 7 b5 chord.
The recording below contains each chord played for the duration of one whole note.
Listen in MP3 Format Diatonic 7th chords in G major
Diatonic 7th Arpeggios
I have purposely put some of these arpeggios starting on 3rd or 4th fingers (stay in position). This is to get practice using those fingers to lead with and also aids in meandering through the arps from any point on the neck or scale
Listen in MP3 Format Diatonic 7th Chord Arpeggios in G major
This is some of the foundation work useful in helping to create many standard bass lines. From here we can start to explore and add scale tones, passing notes, chromatic approaches, so many other notes to add color to our bass lines and solos.
Enjoy your BASS!!!