Advanced Bass – Chord Construction

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 16,278
    Professional bass guitar player Scott Giambusso demonstrates Chord Construction on the bass guitar.

    Scott Giambusso

    Scott, a native Washingtonian, has been performing for audiences since 1968. A self taught musician, he mainly freelances as an acoustic bassist. Scott also plays guitar, electric bass, and tuba as well as singing in the styles of Nat King Cole, Mel Torme and Jack Bruce. He has worked with The Glenn Miller Orchestra and The Modernaires; The Peter Duchin Orchestra; The Ink Spots; The Tokens; Rory (Disney Channel); Charlie Byrd; Susannah McCorkle; Keely Smith, Jamey Aebersold and Chuck Berry. In spring '07 he performed in a clinic and show with Gene Bertincini at the 4 Seasons DC. Besides playing jazz, Scott's latest project is a Cream tribute band featuring Dan Hovey and John Zidar, (formerly Root Boy Slim's rhythm section). The band is called GHz (Gigahertz} and is breaking sound barriers around town. Besides playing over 200 club dates a year, Mr. Giambusso teaches and performs as a member of the Jazz Faculty of the Montgomery College Music Department. Not only does he teach the bass, but he also coaches singers, pianists and all instrumentalists on the nature of music and operates a recording studio for student demos. Because of his versatility, knowledge of tunes and styles, and his 30+ years of gigging experience, he has the rare ability to explain music to the laymen with clarity of vision.

    Scott Giambusso: Scott Giambusso here, your bass doctor, trying to help us all play better tone. So, we need to understand that the function of the bass is to play the root and the chord of whatever the piano player and guitar player are playing and tied into what the drummer is playing and make it all smooth or not, whatever the style be. So, what we need to do is know how to build chords. Now, chords are built by every other note of a scale, you have to know your scale of course. I am going to start with a G major scale and we are going to play the root, the third, the fifth, the major seventh and the ninth of that scale. I am going to play all these tensions. So, I begin by playing G on the east ring on the third fret with my second finger. This is critical, second finger is going to play this major chord and then I am going to play the third note of the scale; one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight; one, three. Then I am going to play the fifth; one, three, five and now I am going to play the major seventh with my third finger, which is F#; one, two, three, four, five, six, seven and music actually goes to two octaves. I am going to play what we call the ninth. Its the second note of the G major scale in the next octave. Now, this is a great thing to practice to get aware of, we can use that ninth, we can play root five, nine, root five. We can go off the scale, but I dont want to digress. Thats a G major, seventh major nine chord. Now, if we take that seventh, that F# and flatten it to an F natural, it becomes a G dominant seventh. You will hear this is a very familiar rift that weve heard through the years. A homage to James Brown, in the song, everybody thinks, its called I feel good, which is actually called I got you. The last so good, so good, I got you. There is G seven, nine chord. So, what we do is just take the scale, lets use the flat seven, nine and just play it all up and down the bass on every key, and every time you go, we are just creating the chord. There is a G seven, there is E flat seven, use E seven. So, thats how you gather technique and start to know what your chord is.