What are you struggling with?


That Toast Machine show is a must-watch. So much that I’m going to repost it here :slight_smile:

@Gio blows me away there, and so does the drummer!

I like this for an example to show off bass chords. Peter Hook is super cool here, just handing a fan his bass and then showing him how to play Love Will Tear Us Apart. It’s also fun to play, grab a tab online; basically a power chord plus an octave for a lot of it:

My new favorite youtube-rabbit-hole artist Kiyoshi also does some nice chord work here:


Hehe, @howard’s got a crush :grin:

Re: Toast Machine - to be honest, it is not the kind of music I normally listen to, but I can certainly appreciate it. And to have that kind of stones to get onto a stage with only a drummer and play a full concert, is just amazing!


After contemplating your prior info, I now think I understand those little chord boxes on some printed sheet music. Are these the chords that should be played for the measure it sits above? Are these similar to the chord boxes for guitar.


I think I know what you mean. However, are these boxes on the “master” score or do you have them on the sheets for bass only? In any case, if they show 4 strings, then they are for bass, if they show 6 strings, it is most likely for guitar. What they give you is indeed the chord for that measure (or measures) and a suggested fingering. This is thus an aid, as opposed to just giving a chord symbol, such as, e.g., Gmaj7 or D- or something like this.
If there is no rhythm given along with the box (perhaps in a smaller font (like grace notes) on top of the bar), then it is up to you and you should probably decide according to the style of the tune. I.e., you could strum straight quarter notes, or more in a shuffle style, or - for a ballad - you could choose to play arpeggios :smile:
(Caveat: I never played a string instrument before, and only played the bass for six months now, so I am not super intricately familiar with these chord boxes; I have an inkling, but I guess they could come in different flavors… Maybe you have a screenshot of what it looks like?)


Hey @cajarmj61, you can always just start a new thread, either in #gear or #technique if it’s related to one of those things, but if not just stick it in #chat .

Simple version (basically what @joergkutter said):
Arpeggio - single notes, C then E then G = C major (triad) arpeggio
Chord - notes played together, CEG all at once = C major (triad) chord

But in musical context, you might be playing over a “chord progression,” whether the keyboard or guitar is playing chords, and you’re using the corresponding arpeggios to make up bass lines, so sometimes you’ll hear the word “chord” even when you’re not playing one.

An actual “bass chord” is a less common but awesome way of playing, where you actually play multiple notes at once, like @joergkutter said.

And @funplumbin1, I agree with Joe @Jazzbass19, if you just keep trying to listen for it, you’ll get better at it naturally. And listen to music where the bass is featured prominently! It’s harder to pick out if it’s just following the rhythm guitar or something.


+1 to Josh’s clarifications, high fives to all for jumping in and getting nice and chord-y with everything, and big big hugs to y’all for posting Toast Machine again.
Fun, fun stuff.


Haha totally, she’s great. JRock is a fun guilty pleasure. Gonna have to keep my eye out for her gigs.


She also kind of reminds me of Hiromi - I guess it is the petite Japanese female shredding it up on her instrument that makes me draw that comparison :grin: Hiromi is more jazz, but she is really fun to experience live!

PS: Sorry, @JoshFossgreen, we are really off topic now :smile: