Creating Basslines Episode 3: Chords!

In Episode 3 of this series, I wanted to take a quick look at chords. They are really important to learn so that you can add them to any song, know the structure of how some chords are laid out and have fun playing chords as a bassist!

Here are my top chords that you should learn:

Power Chords

By far the easiest and most utilized chords! I play these all the time because they are easy to add to any song. They are composed of the root, fifth, and octave. That’s it! I have a whole lesson here if you want to learn more!

Songs that utilize power chords:

  • Paranoid – Black Sabbath
  • La Grange – ZZ Top
  • You Really Got Me – The Kinks
  • Hit Me With Your Best Shot – Pat Benatar
  • Run to the Hills – Iron Maiden
  • The Trooper – Iron Maiden
  • Smoke On The Water – Deep Purple
  • Holy Diver – Dio
  • Rock You Like A Hurricane – Scorpions
  • Talk Dirty To Me – Poison
  • Pretty Fly (For A White Guy) – The Offspring
  • Man on the Silver Mountain – Rainbow
  • Metal Health (Bang Your Head) – Quiet Riot


These three noted chords consisting of the root, 3rd, and 5th are an easy way to change up a bassline. Let’s say for example you have a song that is being played in the e minor chord then the triad would be e – g – b. Depending on what others are playing you can play any of those triad notes. In some way, since they are a part of the triad they make sense with the song.

Now of course when doing this make sure it sounds good because sometimes it can clash with what others are playing.

Triads are definitely great ways to add fill notes in and create cool basslines!

7th Chords

These chords are triads with an added note (the 7th). They can be played as major, minor, and dominant 7ths.

The major 7th is composed of the root, 3rd, 5th, and 7th notes of the major scale. The C Major 7th would be written as CMaj7 and composed of C – E – G – B. 

The minor 7th is composed of the root, 3rd, 5th, and 7th notes of the minor scale. The c minor 7th would be written as cm7 and composed of c – eb – g – bb.

The dominant 7th chord utilizes the major scale but instead of starting on the root of the scale you start on the 5th of it. 

For the C Major scale, the 5th note of that scale is G which would be the root of the dominant 7th chord. 

The dominant 7th for the C Major scale would then be written as G7 and follow the same structure being G – B – D – F

Mess around with your favorite songs or jam out with some of your friends and try incorporating these chords. 


Get a foundation for what key(s) and rhythm the song is going in. This can determine if you could do a triplet run of triads or maybe a sweeping technique of 7th chords. It will depend on the flow of the song and what you are playing.

Take your time! Get the roots down and then go from there. Test out different chord arpeggios and listen to how they sound.

If you are playing a C Major power chord arpeggio, you could play your low C four times and then move onto the G and play four times, then your high C four times. We alternate between playing the low C to G back to low C to high C. 

Play the actual chord! If you think a song could benefit from playing the actual power chord then play it! 

Stay tuned for episode 4 in this series! 


Creating Basslines: Playing in Unison (Explained & Examples)

Create Basslines Episode 2: Scales!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: