Mastering Minor Chords on Bass

Once you’ve mastered major chords on bass, it’s time to expand your repertoire with some minor chords.

Minor chords provide the foundation of more vibrant chord progressions.

The basic A minor chord is easy to play on bass; just arrange your fingers tightly together, and it will fall under your hand without much trouble. The addition of the flat third adds darkness and melancholy.

Root Note

A chord’s bass note, or root pitch, serves as its foundation. In most instances, this tone also doubles up as one of its tones (for instance in this minor iv chord with B-flat over A-flat). Otherwise it is known as non-chord bass note.

An C minor seventh chord features three tones: its root tone (C), major third (E), and perfect fifth (G). To play this chord on bass guitar, locate its root on the third fret of its A string (a C), major third (E), and perfect fifth (5th fret of G string – G) to complete its development.

Bass players don’t just stick to playing root notes; they also create different textures by including other chord tones as part of the song’s arrangement. Learning minor scale movements will help you accomplish this task more successfully.

Third Note

Have you studied scales or chord patterns? Most contain multiple intervals or notes grouped together into chords; major, minor, diminished and augmented chords all possess their own distinctive musical quality, formed from different musical intervals between chord tones (notes).

It’s the third note that distinguishes major from minor scales and chords; major-sounding scales and chords feature major 3rds while minor-sounding ones employ flat (or lowered) 3rds.

Minor triad chords consist of three basic notes – root, flat 3rd, and 5th – and are frequently found in sad or nostalgic songs. You can practice playing minor triads by practicing arpeggios starting on different notes than the root each time and moving up and down through all octaves – this practice technique is known as “scale running”, as it will help get comfortable with its pattern and how best to incorporate it in songs.

Fifth Note

Major and minor chords both contain a fifth note that goes above the root and third notes; this note determines its quality as major or minor chords.

When the fifth is raised it forms an augmented chord (G in C); when flattened it creates a diminished chord (E in C).

As bass players, we don’t often play all of the chord tones; rather, most bassists focus on playing roots and fifth notes for maximum support under any chord.

To visualize how the notes of a minor chord work together, referring to this chart of the A natural minor scale can help. Each pair of notes are organized within a circle containing A as the tonic note; and within its outer ring are G and E as starting notes of scale degrees 1-8 respectively.


A chord’s bass note often provides support to its higher notes. This is especially evident when using a triad, consisting of its root note, third note and fifth note as its component notes.

Triads come in all forms: major, minor, diminished and augmented. Their quality largely depends on how closely its roots, thirds and fifths lie to one another.

C minor triads contain two thirds: a minor third at its roots and a major third between third and fifth notes; this ensures a consonant, stable sounding chord.

To accurately identify the triad notes of a bass chord, first locate its root note, then draw its outline onto a staff with generic third and fifth notes above it (i.e. draw a snowperson). Once done, figure out the applicable key signature for that root note, using its accidentals to spell the triad. Lastly if the chord isn’t in root position it’s written using its chord name followed by “/G”, such as Em/G to indicate E minor triad playing on bass guitar bass guitar bass guitar bass guitar bass guitar bass guitar bass guitar bass chord playing on bass guitar bass guitar bass guitar bass guitar bass guitar bass guitar chord