Fingerstyle Guitar Arrangements: Free Guitar Lessons, Beginner Guitar Lessons OnLine

Fingerstyle Guitar Bass Arrangements

Fingerstyle Guitar | Bass Arrangement - In this free guitar lesson learn about the bass track and how to lay it down and use it as building block for your arrangement.

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  • Fingerstyle Bass Arrangements Tips
  • Alternating Bass Track Tab

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Fingerstyle Guitar: Bass Arrangements:

When we talk about bass arrangements for fingerstyle guitar, we are talking about the 3 bass strings of the 6-string guitar (the 4th, 5th and 6th strings and sometimes the 3rd) and not an actual bass guitar track.

Typically this is referred to as an alternating bass track. This track is played only by the thumb of the right hand, either with or without a thumb pick.

The bass track follows the rhythm chords very closely and many times it follows them exactly.

To read additional information about Alternating Bass and rhythm technique visit our pages on Rhythm with Alternating Bass, Rhythm Chet Atkins Style and Rhythm Jerry Reed Style.

Fingerstyle Guitar: The Chord Root is Always Played First

The root of each chord is almost always the first note played when there is a chord change. For example with a C Major chord, the first bass note played is a C, or 3rd fret, 5th string.

Here is the pattern that you use for a few standard chords. The numbers represent the bass strings played. In every case the first note is the root of the chord you are playing.

Fingerstyle Guitar: Bass Patterns for Standard Chords:
    C Major 5-4-6-4
    G Major 6-4-5-4
    D Major 4-3-5-3
    F Major 6-4-5-4
    G7th 6-4-5-4
    D7th 4-3-5-3
    E7th 6-4-5-4
    A7th 5-4-6-4
    B7th 5-4-6-4
    G7th 6-4-5-4
    C7th 5-4-6-4
    C#7th 5-4-6-4
    F#7th 5-4-6-4
    A minor 5-4-6-4
    D minor 4-3-5-4
    E minor 6-4-5-4
    B minor 5-4-6-4
Fingerstyle Guitar: Memorize the Bass Track

Open up Guitar Pro or other software program and select the song that you created. Click on a new track a label it Bass.

This track will already be set to the correct number of measures etc. because of the rhythm section that you setup in the previous lesson carries this through for each track in the file.

Lay in the bass, following the chord examples above and following the chords in the song. You will have to print out the rhythm section for reference to make this easier to input the alternating bass.

For this song selection, make all of the notes quarter notes - in other words, they all receive one beat and there are 4 beats per measure.

For the first measure, the bass is based on the C major chord, so looking at the table above and also referencing the chord diagrams, we sill see that the 4 notes played in the first measure are C, E, G, E. Or 5th String, 4th String, 6th String, 4th String.

The second measure repeats this exactly. You can cut and past the second measure from the first to speed up the process.

Next, we have a chord change from C Major to a G Major. This will be a shift from the C Major pattern shown above to the G Major pattern.

So we play the following notes: G, D, B, D. Or - 6th String, 4th String, 5th String, 4th String, following the pattern indicated in the Standard Chord Pattern Chart above.

Continue with all of the chords and alternating bass to finish up the score. Test out the arrangement by playing pressing the play button and if you know the lead, test out how things sound overall.

Make any final adjustments and it is time for the next lesson.

To see what the result of your efforts are click the tab at the top of this text labeled Alternating Bass Track.

Become Very Comfortable With Playing Bass Tracks

This bass track stays consistent throughout the song or for most fingerstyle songs. Occasionally there are departures from this rigid boom-chick boom-chick pattern and you can only depart from it when you are comfortable with doing so - this takes a LOT of practice to become natural with the alternating bass, but it is very rewarding when you do.

In the next lesson we will add the lead track to this song. This will give us the basics of the melody and will give us a base with which we can create our arrangement.

For more lessons in this series, just select a lesson from the pull-down menu and select the GO button.

If you would like all of the PDF files, plus our "Guitar Notes" electronic teaching and the actual Guitar Pro file, you can purchase it for $2.49.

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