Playing Fourths on Bass Guitar

Introducing Fourth Intervals in Bass Playing

Discover the art of playing fourths on bass guitar. This technique shifts traditional harmony to a contemporary sound. By integrating the interval of a fourth, it diverges from conventional triadic structures. It offers distinct consonance and opens up new possibilities for musical expression.

The Unique Qualities of Fourths Harmony

Fourth intervals provide a strong contrast to conventional triads, particularly effective in static harmony contexts. This approach is versatile, enhancing chord voicings, bass lines, fills and solos.

When exploring scales for fourths, consider modal contexts like Dorian, Aeolian and Phrygian modes. Despite the Phrygian mode’s rare flat second (b2) and the Aeolian scale’s flat sixth (b6), the Dorian scale is ideal. It naturally includes a minor pentatonic with additional second and sixth degrees, enriching the fourths with broader interval content.

Crafting Fills and Phrases with Fourths

Many musicians learn to create effective fills and phrases using fourths. This technique builds sequences from scale degrees such as the root (R), flat third (b3), fifth (5th), and flat seventh (b7). Adding fourths from the second (2nd) and sixth (6th) degrees enhances the musical texture. Regular practice helps develop proficiency in this innovative method.

Expanding Beyond Conventional Limits

As you expand the scale, you’ll discover notes beyond the traditional fourth intervals of an Amin7 scale. Introducing notes like F, Bb, Eb, Ab, and Db introduces new fourth intervals, creating a richer and more varied sonic palette. This allows for more creative and unique fills.

Embrace the Challenge

Embracing fourths offers a fresh perspective on harmony and melody creation. Whether you’re a seasoned musician or an intermediate player, experimenting with this technique will broaden your musical vocabulary and inspire new directions.

4th Intervals over an Amin Pentatonic shape

Fourth Intervals over all five positions

Fourth Exercises

Fourths Patterns

Fourths Licks

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