Applying Roots and 5ths to the Blues

After root notes to each chord, the strongest, most supportive note you can play is the 5th of the chord. (See the root and fifth bass lesson.)

You'll remember you can play and find fifths both above and below any root note or octave of a root note. Your friends, roots and fifths...

Staying Out of the Way

Root and fifth basslines don’t jump out at you often. But, a lot of times as a bassist you need to keep a low profile — maybe even most of the time. Adding fifths almost always fits in a bassline while fulfilling your job of supporting the harmony.

Roots and Fifths as an Anchor

As you’ll see and hear in coming lessons, the root and fifth act as a strong anchor to almost all other common types of basslines. Get comfortable with them because you’ll never escape them.

Root and Fifth Blues Exercises

In the exercises I’ve recorded two simple root/5th basslines on the blues in G and in C. You won’t play many lines that are exclusively roots and fifths like this. Later we’ll get into spicing things up with transitions and variations. You need to be very comfortable with roots and 5ths first.

Be Creative!

See if you can change the rhythms and/or order of notes to create your own root and fifth basslines on the blues. You are practicing these ideas in all the other keys, aren’t you?

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