Incorporating chords on a 4 string bass can be challenging. Often, you’ll find many bass players resort to spending the big bucks on a 5 string bass or 6 string bass. It is true that playing chords on a bass with more than 4 strings opens the door to infinite possibility of lush wide-spaced chord voicings. However, there is still plenty of boundary to explore within the confines of 4 strings. I am going to show you an effective way chords can make baselines with your 4 string bass sound big!
Placement of Chords Can Emphasize Parts of Your Bassline
One way to make your baselines sound big on a 4 string bass, is to play chords on either beat 1 of the measure or the first note of the phrase of your bassline. This practice makes your bassline sound dynamic and big in a number of ways:
- The listener’s ear gets drawn to the unexpected emphasis of an already strong beat (beat 1)
- Beat 1 naturally gets a fatter sound with the addition of more chord tones
- Movement is created because more than one bass note is heard
- Chords introduce a different texture on the bass