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Alternating Bass Notes | Fingerstyle Guitar

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Alternating bass notes can make your fingerpicking sound more interesting and fuller. I forget the question which notes should I alternate. I'm gonna give you some guidelines on how to choose the alternating notes and more importantly a way to practice it because what you wanted to do is to become just second nature so you do not think about and by the time you think about it, it's all over. And finally I'll give you some little more advanced tips at the end of how to choose some different alternating notes and vary it up a little bit. 

To start off, there's basically 3 sets of bass notes we're going to be working with. Chords that have the root note or the name of the chord on the sixth string. Chords that have the name of the note on the fifth string, we call that the root note and then the fourth string. Chords on the sixth string there's chords like G, E. You could include sixth bar notes sixth string bar notes like the F. The F note  is the bass note there. They are the main root note. 

On the fifth string, we have the C chord and A chord and all the minors associated to A minor. 

Now for the 4th string, we have chord like D, D minor and D7. The best alternate bass note for the sixth string after you play the sixth string would be the fourth string so it sounds like this with the G.

For fifth string chords we're going to choose the fifth string and the fourth string so it sounds like this. And for the fourth string chords, we're going to choose the fourth string and the third string. It sounds like this. 

Now here's an exercise you can practice to get used to playing those bass notes. We'll keep it simple. You start with just hitting the top string as an alternate. So we hit the bass note, top string and then the alternate bass note. So I'm hitting the 6th and 4th do that twice then go on to the fifth string, we'll make a C form. Fourth string, I'm using the same high E string for the alternating and then for the fourth string we'll hit the fourth and third strings. All together it sounds like this  - that's 6/4. Now to the C, to the D chord and then one more time on G and we will end there. 

Of course you want to repeat the exercise over and over slowly at first and build up speed. Now when you're adding more notes making it into something like a Travis pick, it's gonna sound like this.

Now as I mentioned in the beginning those aren't the only bass notes that you can use but they're a good foundation and you want to get comfortable with that but you can start adding some alternates. For example, with a sixth string, you can add the fifth string so you could alternate the alternate so to speak. You can go 6 - 4 and then go 6 - 5, add a little variety. 

Another variation that I use very often on the fifth string is I jumped over to the 6th string and add the bass note there. Listen to this - and a little faster.

On the fourth string, you can jump to the fifth string as an alternate. Even again alternating the alternate. 

So I hope this has been helpful for you. 

Thanks for taking this short time with me. I look forward to seeing you in another lesson. Please let me know in the comments if there's something in particular you're struggling with that I can help with.

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