4 Steps To Alternate Bass Strumming

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To play an alternate bass rhythm we replace the bass note on 3rd beat with the 5th note of that scale (the C major scales 5th note is G). Now we play:

  • 1st beat - Bass
  • 2nd beat - Strum
  • 3rd beat - Alternate Bass
  • 4th beat - Strum

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Step 1 Know the notes of the chords scale. (In this case "C Major")

C Major Scale C D E F G A B C
Order Number 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
Always Remember This: The 1st, 3rd & 5th notes of any major scale makes up that major scales major chord.

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Step 2 Work out what is the 5th note of the scale. (In this case the 5th note is "G")

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Step 3 Find the "5th" note ("G") around the chord you are playing. Make sure it is close to the root note (the root/1st note of the scale "C")

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Step 4 Rhythm order:

  1. Pick the bass note (C, 5th string 3rd fret)
  2. Strum all strings below that (from the 4th string down)
  3. Pick the alternate bass note (G, 6th string 3rd fret)
  4. Strum the same strings you strummed in part b (4th string down)
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The 1,3 & 5 represent
the order number in
the scale, not fingers.
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So now you've had a play, I know what you're thinking "I just learnt all that for a silly country sounding rhythm". Don't be fooled, this rhythm style and the theory behind the alternate bass note is incorporate into a lot of popular and songs.