Create Songwriting Ideas with Melodic Bass Motions on Guitar

Chords with Bass Lines for More Inspired Songwriting.

A really great song example of a song that uses this rhythmic idea, is “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster The People.

I always teach that song to guitar students, combining the bass line with a chord hit on the 2nd beat, so it becomes a cool-sounding rhythm guitar part combining both the bass line and the harmony.

Now here’s a couple more examples of really cool, fun chord and bassline combinations, which will add so much power and creativity to your songwriting.

  1. In the first example: bar an A shape chord with your pointy finger on the 5th fret.

    This is a C chord. Then play a bass line on the low E string, playing the notes C B A G on the low E string, and then continuing the descending bass line playing the notes F E D C on the A string.

    I would recommend finger-picking this, but it can be played with a pick. When you play it with a pick, you would just have to be sure to mute the strings that don’t have numbers on them.

    The easiest way to finger this: 1st finger bars the chord on the 5th fret, then you play C on the 8th fret with pinky, B on the 7th fret with the ring finger, A on the 5th fret with the thumb (or switch fingering here with the ring finger pressing down the A shape chord on the 5ht fret and middle finger playing the A bass note on the low E string).

    Then for the bass notes on the A string: bar 1st finger on the A shape chord again, pinky plays F on the 8th fret of the A string, ring finger plays E on the 7th fret, 1st finger slides up to cover 4 strings on the 5 fret so you cover the D note on the 5th fret of the A string, then re-finger the whole chord with the pointy finger on the 3rd fret and ring finger pressing down the A chord shape on the 5th fret.

  2. The 2nd example uses the same principle, but here now over a I IV V progression in the key of C.
    The pointy finger bars on the 5th fret for the C chord, on the 10th fret for the F chord, and on the 12th fret for the G chord.

    As this example shows, you can create different bass motions and lines as you see fit. As long as your bass line consists of notes of a C major scale, you’re good.

  3. The 3rd example shows how to use this technique, to create cool passing note lines in the bass to connect chords.
    In this example, it starts on a C chord and goes to the IV chord F from there. Then this is followed by an Am chord, which has a bass line underneath the chord walking up from A to B to C to the Dm chord.

This should get you going.
More examples will definitely be covered in another blog in the not-too-distant future.


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