Have you ever saw a chord shape that another bass player played and got confused what chord it was?
In this bass lesson, I’ll show you how to decipher any chord shape, no matter how complicated the chord shape may look.
This will work for any chord.
How to easily decipher the craziest looking chord shape
At first glance, a chord shape might look crazy. Yet, sometimes the craziest looking chords are actually chords that we already know. When that happens, we’re likely not familiar with that particular chord voicing.
A bass player worth checking out that is notorious for crazy chords, is Robert “Bubby” Lewis.
His hands will span his fretboard many frets and look like an octopus.
They might be confusing to look at at first, but there is an easy way to decipher them.
If you want to be able to figure out what kind of chord a crazy looking chord shape is, all you have to do is this:
Arrange the notes of the chord in alphabetical order.
In the video, the chord played had these notes in order: D#, A#, B, F#
These same notes rearranged in alphabetical order, are: A#, B, D#, F#
These notes already start looking like an inversion of a B Major 7 chord.
If you were to start with the note B and spell the chord voicing in order, you get: B, D#, F#, A#.
That is definitely a B Major 7 chord.
Keep the notes in alphabetical order. Start on different notes, until you come across a familiar shape, that’s the chord.
Now a crazy shape like D#, A#, B, F# doesn’t seem so crazy after all. You can simplify your thought process and think B Major.
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Barry Harris’ concepts are often voiced as Drop 2 Chord Voicings. His DVD explains the concept of a Drop 2 Chord Voicing and these are easy to apply on the bass. Check out these DVD’s on Amazon:
The Barry Harris Workshop DVD – Part One (4 Dvds/workbook)
The Barry Harris Workshop DVD – Part 2 (4 Dvds/workbook)