I have been playing guitar for a while and I realized I should develop my skill for finding the chords by ear. However, in some songs like Driver's License - Olivia Rodrigo, I realized what I am hearing and what the actual bass note is quite different. For example, for the chorus part(01:00 from the link) the chord change I hear is G to A but according to the chords website(Chord), it says G to D#(If no capo). I tried to hum myself to find the bass but I still can't tell why D# is the right chord for that part(Guitar also doesn't have really low D# to tell by matching as well). Are my guess and the chord website both correct? How can I tell which is right?


Well, the song's in B♭, and is a pretty common I vi IV sequence for the verse. The chorus (1:00) goes to IV (E♭) with an E♭ bass note to match.

Sorry, but the chord chart isn't good. Apart from a different key, the chords even in key G are wrong! Like so many chord sites on the net...

Seems like a very good idea to develop that skill, which it seems the contributors to that site didn't get round to!

  • Oh, thank you for the answer! I guess I was wrong about the A chord! May I ask what made A chord sound ok for that part as well?(although the actual base is D#) – Backrub32 May 11 at 16:23
  • Not having your ears, can't say. And if a piece is in Bb, then that D# is actually Eb. Although guitarists in particular seem to prefer sharps to flats. – Tim May 11 at 16:45
  • 1
    Thank you! I will try to listen to more songs to practice then! :) – Backrub32 May 11 at 16:59

Use some audio editing software like Reaper/Logic/Pro Tools/Audacity (its free!) to isolate and loop that chord and only that chord. Then play bass notes starting on the E string going up in semi tones until you find the lowest note in the chord. If you're still unsure make a list of notes you know AREN'T the bass note to narrow it down, there's only 12 to pick from after all!

Sometimes the best solution is the "dumb" one, but so long as you get the right answer you'll be strengthening your ear and building your confidence. Eventually you'll get faster at this and your knowledge about which bass notes are likely will help you narrow down the list of candidates. Good luck!

  • That isolated note may - or may not - be the root of the chord. How much help is that? – Tim May 11 at 19:33
  • You will have to use your ear and your judgment at some point, what this approach gives you is a systematic and repeatable approach for assessing the likelihood that a given note is the correct one. – Liam Gallagher May 12 at 20:07
  • 1
    Thank you for the tips @LiamGallagher! – Backrub32 May 13 at 12:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.