Major and Minors

Can someone give me a simple explanation as to major and minor chords when I’m applying single notes on a bass? Or is this a dumb question?

4 Likes

Not dumb!

So, basically, when guitar or keys are playing in a major or minor chord, they are usually playing the triad (root, third, and fifth) notes in that major or minor scale, plus maybe a seventh and rarely a ninth on top.

As a bass player, it’s generally safe for you to noodle around with any single notes in that set. And it’s always safe to play the root note. It will almost always be gold to play the perfect fifth as well.

It’s harmonic to play any notes in the same scale but there are some that might add some tension or movement when played with the triad, which you’ll learn over time. You should try them too and see how they feel in context.

It’s technically more complex than this but this is a simple boildown that works.

5 Likes

Hey Redneck.

No, totally not a dumb question.

Major and minor chords have their foundations on the major and minor scale, respectively. A triad (a simple chord) is the Root, the 3rd and the 5th intervals.

Take the C major scale. It has this sequence of notes: C, D, E, F, G, A, B and back to C.
image
image
So, a C major triad is: C, E and G.

Take the C minor scale. It has this sequence of notes: C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb and back to C.
image
image
So, a C minor triad is: C, Eb and G.

7 Likes

Thanks Guys,
Ya both explained it in terms even I can understand…heh. Ok so now I have even more great info to build on. You made an old man happy and grateful!! Thanks again!

5 Likes

Okay so let me preface by saying Im a beginner…but I wonder often when something in a chart is calling for let’s say a d minor…how do I know whether to use the 5th fret on the A string…or the seventh fret on the G string or the open D string??? ( I feel like I’m realy missing something and this may be a really dumb question?)

3 Likes

All of those are D, and all are in Dm (and every other D key :slight_smile:

Which you use for the root of the key depends on the song. It will be notated in the sheet music or tablature. But those are all in the key of D/Dm/etc. There are seven notes in any key, repeated many times on the fretboard at different pitches.

1 Like

Thanks Howard…

2 Likes

You use whichever sounds better or whichever is easier to get to.

2 Likes

thank you…but one more question…then why list as a “d minor”? Why not just call it a D? ( dumb question?)

2 Likes

It’s a great rule of thumb yeah, and sometimes going to the one in the “wrong” octave is great for effect. Like how Green Day uses a different E than Husker Du in this cover:

vs

1 Like

D minor is a different key than D major. It contains different notes for the third, sixth and seventh notes of the key. Josh will cover this in the music theory part of the course.

oh that makes some sense to me…thank you for taking the time to help!

2 Likes

My pleasure!

1 Like

I was listening to a lesson on blues improvisation and the guy said, “playing blues is no more than playing a minor scale over major chords”…ruined my whole day. As the lesson went on he declared that you “could not play blues with a major scale over major chords”…watch me, i’m sure there are absolutes in music but this isn’t one of them.

3 Likes