When it comes to strumming a guitar, there are a variety of different techniques that can be used. Some people prefer to use a light touch, while others go for a more aggressive approach. But for those who want to add a little extra thump to their sound, bass note strumming is the way to go.
What is Bass Note Strumming
As the name implies, this technique involves accentuating the low notes by picking the root note of a chord first before strumming the rest of the strings.
This gives the music a deeper and richer sound, while also providing a rhythmic foundation that can be extremely effective in a live setting. Of course, bass note strumming is not without its challenges. It can be difficult to maintain a consistent sound, and it requires a fair amount of practice to get the hang of it. But for those who are up for the challenge, bass note strumming is a great way to add some extra punch to their playing.
The Benefits of Strumming Bass Notes
There are plenty of reasons why bass note strumming is worth learning. For many guitar players, the bass note strumming pattern is an essential component of their playing. It helps to add a bit of flair to the music. There are a few benefits that make it worth the effort.
- Bass note strumming can help to add a sense of groove to your playing. It’s a great way to keep the rhythm going while also throwing in some variation. This technique can also help to fill out the sound of your chords. When used properly, bass note strumming can add a lot of depth and richness to your guitar playing.
- In addition, bass note strumming can also help to add a bit of extra power to your sound. This is especially useful for those who are looking to add a bit of rock to their playing. By accentuating the low notes, bass note strumming can help you create a heavier sound that is sure to get the crowd moving.
- It helps you memorize the positions of the notes on the fretboard. If you’re just starting out, bass note strumming can help you memorize the notes on the fretboard. This is because you need to be able to identify the root note of each chord before you can begin strumming.
- Bass note strumming can help improve your picking precision. In order to get the bass notes to ring out clearly, you need to have a good picking technique. This can be difficult at first, but with a bit of practice, you’ll be able to get the hang of it.
- It will teach you a little about music theory. In order to understand bass note strumming, you need to have a basic understanding of music theory. This includes knowing what a root note is and how it relates to the other notes in a chord. While it’s not essential, it can be helpful to learn a little bit about music theory before you start trying to strum the bass note.
How to Practice Bass Note Strumming
The best way to learn bass note strumming is to practice it. There are a few different ways that you can go about doing this.
First, start by identifying the root notes of each chord. These are the notes that give the chord its name and are typically found on the low-end strings.
Next, practice picking the root notes in a consistent rhythm. It’s important to keep the notes even and steady. As you practice, pay attention to the bass notes that you are playing. Make sure they are clear and distinct from the other notes in the chord.
Begin with the most basic bass note strumming pattern. Get comfortable with the timing and the feel of the strokes before you add in bass notes.
When you are comfortable with the basic strumming pattern, try adding bass notes on different beats to create more interesting rhythms. For example, you can play a bass note on the first and third beat of a four-beat measure.
Once you have mastered the basics of bass note strumming, you can start to experiment with different bass note patterns. Don’t be afraid to experiment and make mistakes. The only way to learn bass note strumming is to get out there and try it.
Easy Bass Note Strumming Pattern for Beginners
To get started with bass note strumming, try this simple pattern. This pattern uses all downstrokes, but as you improve, feel free to use a mix of upstrokes and downstrokes.
Chord Progression: G-Em-Cadd9-D
- G: 320033
- Em: 022000
- Cadd9: x32033
- D: xx0232
Be sure to identify the bass note for each chord before you start playing the chord progression.
- G, the bass note is G – 6th string, 3rd fret
- Em, the bass note is E – 6th string, open string
- Cadd9, the bass note is C – 5th string, 3rd fret
- D, the bass note is D – 4th string, open string
Strumming Pattern: Bass Note + Full Strum
- Time Signature: 4/4
This is a basic pattern that simply plays the bass note on each chord and then strums all strings of the chord. We recommend using a guitar pick so you can ring the bass note more clearly.
How to Play the Pattern:
- Play each chord for four beats, counting 1 2 3 4.
- On counts 1 and 3, pick the bass note while strumming the chord on count 2 and 4. Basically, it’s a pattern of “bass, strum, bass, strum” played repeatedly.
- Repeat the pattern for each chord in the progression.
- Bass Note (1), Full Strum (2), Bass Note (3), Full Strum (4)
You may also try this simple variation:
- Using four beats, 1 2 3 4, do the “bass strum” pattern.
- Play the bass note on beat 1, strum on beat 2, then rest for beats 3 and 4.
- Repeat the pattern for each chord in the progression.
Other Bass Note Strumming Variations
Once you’ve mastered the basic bass note strumming pattern, you can start to experiment with other bass note patterns. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Light Brush + Full Strum
In this pattern, you’ll be playing two or three bass strings: the bass note and the following one or two bass strings. Play the bass strings with a light brush and then followed by a full strum.
- Light Brush (1), full strum (2), light brush (3), full strum (4)
2. Bass Note + Down-Up Light Strums
We’re adding an upstroke to this pattern, and the counting is 1 2n 3 4n. On count 1 and 3, play the bass note with a downstroke. On count 2n and 4n, lightly strum the 2 to 3 thinnest strings with a down-up pattern.
- Bass note (1), down-up (2 n), bass note (3), down-up (4 n)
3. Bass Note + Full Strum + Up-Down-Up Light Strums
We’re now putting things together, and the count is considerably faster than the previous patterns. We are counting to four (1 n 2 n 3 n 4 n) and then playing the bass note on the first count and strumming fully on the second count. We rest on the third count and play light strums on “n 4 n”.
- Bass note (1), full strum (2), rest (3), up-down-up (n 4 n)
Some Tips for Using Bass Note Strumming in Your Music
The heartbeat of any good song, the bass line is what gets feet tapping and heads nodding. But for all its power, the bass note is often overlooked in favor of the more bright sounding thin strings. Here are a few tips on how to make your bass notes stand out:
1. Use a pick: This may seem like a no-brainer, but using a pick can make a big difference in the sound of your bass notes. Picking allows you to get a brighter, more articulate sound out of the string, and can also help you achieve different textures and timbres.
2. Experiment with different techniques: There are a variety of different bass note strumming techniques, from simple up-and-down strokes to more complex picking patterns. Experiment with different techniques and see what works best for you and your style of music.
3. Don’t be afraid to go low: The lower strings can create some truly earth-shattering sounds.
4. Think outside the box: The bass note doesn’t have to be restricted to root notes and simple melody lines. With a little creativity, you can use the bass note to create countermelodies, harmony lines, and even percussive effects.
It’s All About the Bass!
The bass note is a powerful tool that should not be underestimated. With a little imagination, you can use it to create some truly original sounds. So don’t be afraid to experiment and think outside the box – your bass lines will thank you for it!