Bass Guitar Chords for Beginner Bass

We are going to explore 2 things today; our lessons here are going to cover bass guitar chords and bass theory. My method of teaching guitar theory is nontraditional because the traditional way of teaching theory is learning how to read music; I am going to teach you how to play the bass.

Our objectives will be:

  • How to make simple one finger chords

  • How to play the bass chords

  • How to find your rhythm
  • My teaching methods teach you how to play by ear (see my ear training page) and help you learn where each single not is on the bass by showing you the fret board.

    Let’s take a look at the fret board and you can right click with your mouse to save this picture for future reference, or you can print this page. Study this fret board and learn where each note is. Each note will be your actual chord using one finger – there are ways to use 3 notes for a bass chord but for our bass guitar chords here we will use the simple one finger method.

    bass guitar fretboard

    With the one finger method it is not only easy for beginners but you can play the bass effectively by bouncing back in forth in rhythm to the music from 2 different notes for each chord change. Next I will show you the chords using an image that you can also copy or print. The chords are the complete set from A – G.

    All this fret board is it’s the first 2 strings cut off from the guitar fret board leaving you with E, A, D, G, - the B and E are present on the bass which are the 1st and 2nd string on the guitar but the rest of the notes of the fret board compared to a regular guitar are the same on the bass. This information will help you to better understand bass guitar chords.

    Here is some bass guitar theory now. When you play a chord, there are other notes or chords that always go together with the root note. For example if you are playing a song that is in the key of A – usually and always the key that make up a song in that key are; A, D, E. As you will see on the bass tab here the two chords that you bounce back and forth on are A which is the root note, and E.


    When it is time for the guitarist to change chords he will then change to a D chord, and if you will notice here as you change to the D bass chord you will bounce back and forth on the D and A chord or notes to keep the bass rhythm. Bass guitar chords can be easily played with this one finger method. Actually you’re using two fingers to bounce back and forth.

    bass chords

    Can you see the pattern here? The root note you are playing is always the top note and you use your 3rd finger to bounce back on the other note located 3 frets down on the string below the root note. Using this method you are able to use all of the chords that go with the root note of a song with A being the root key to start this song.

    Let’s throw in the E chord for the next chord change. Here you are bouncing back and forth on the E chord and the B chord, but B wasn’t part of the A, D, E chords sequence? I will give you a list of each chord that goes together for each group of chords then you will understand why the B note goes with the E chord.


    Ok here are the chords that go together when using bass guitar chords or playing a regular guitar the first chord in each group is your root note of each sequence:

    A, D, E

    Bb, C, F

    C, F, G

    D, A, G

    E, A, Bb

    F, Bb, C

    G, C, D

    There you have it, print this page for future reference and these are the 3 sets of chords that always go together for any song you play using that root chord. Minor chords can be used but for now we will keep it simple.

    Use the fret board to be familiar with where each note is on the bass and use these bass guitar chords to practice with. Practice these and this will help you play the bass simple and effectively – you can’t get any easier than this.

    Click here to Return to The Homepage