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On guitar, when we play a chord, we have the 3 notes forming a chord and then one (or two) strings add one (or two) more "bass notes" to the chord (lower pitches).

Where can I find notes for each guitar chord that contains all the notes (including bass)? Is it the case that the bass note is just the root of the chord played one octave lower? Or is it 5th of the chord played one octave lower?

  • There’s not one list of guitar chords, if that’s what you’re looking for. Also if that’s what you’re looking for then the question is off topic. Not all guitar chords have more than three notes. – Todd Wilcox May 5 at 1:47
  • Related to this question: music.stackexchange.com/questions/78643/… – Albrecht Hügli May 5 at 3:28
  • @ToddWilcox, even if the chord has 3 independent notes we usually double one or two. As for lists of chords there are a few resources but I don't think any would answer this question. – ggcg May 5 at 14:51
  • @ggcg I’m not sure who “we” is but there are lots of songs that are based on three strings at a time at most, and I’m not even talking about power chords. Or four strings that are 7th chords. I guess my repertoire is skewed away from five and six string chords but it’s a largish repertoire. – Todd Wilcox May 5 at 15:08
  • @ToddWilcox - if playing in a jazz sort of environment, with other chord players, I can understand that 3/4 strings is sufficient, and even for 9th and more extensions, left out notes mean 3/4 strings will suffice. But the vast majority of guitarists that I've worked with or seen, who play chords, tend to strum all 6 when they can. Especially if they are the only chord provider in the band. – Tim May 5 at 16:35
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Before we carry on - I think you have the guitar upside down. Not in reality, but in the way you name the strings. The thicker strings (usually higher placed on the guitar neck) are actually those that produce the lower sounds. That's where the root and bass notes are played.

So - each ordinary chord, like simple majors and minors, have three notes. Because the guitar normally has six strings, those notes can have duplicate note names an octave or two apart.

Let's take a simple E major chord. The three notes that make E are E G# and B. It really doesn't matter too much how many of each note are played, or the order they're played in. But for a beginner, the usual way is to play a root E on the fat string (the lowest sounding/ highest placed). On 5th string is the B, (2nd fret). Then another E 2nd fret 4th string. There's no G# yet, but that can be reached on 3rd string, 1st fret. So now we have all three notes needed, but two strings left. The thinnest ones. It just happens that they are left open , as they are B and E, both of which are in the E major chord. Job done!

On guitar, often (but not always) the lowest (in sound) note played in a chord is the root - a lot of guitar sites see to advocate this, although it's often not what experienced guitarists will play.

If you're asking for resources, this isn't the place to provide a route to them. But what I do with beginner students is give them note names for a chord, e.g. C, E, G, and get them to find one of each on the fretboard, close enough together to play all simultaneously. There's the chord. With this C major example, there are several ways to play the notes, using some open strings. But, as Todd says, that's what guitars are about - there often isn't just one shape, but a few available, and that's without moving everything around the fretboard. So don't expect to find a small list of chord shapes. Having said that, there are 'standard' shapes that everyone knows and uses - part of the 'caged' system is built upon them.

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On guitar, when we play a chord, we have the 3 notes forming a chord and then one (or two) strings add one (or two) more "bass notes" to the chord (lower pitches).

When you play a chord on the guitar, all the notes are 'forming the chord'.

We might say that a chord in the abstract has 3 notes - e.g. we might say that the C major chord contains the notes C, E, and G.

However, when we go to a particular instrument and actually play the chord for real, we have to play a particular voicing of the chord. That voicing might contain a number of Cs in different octaves, a number of Es, and a number of Gs. On an instrument like a guitar, that can play the exact same note in different places on the neck, you might even have the same note (in the same octave) played more than once.

So when you say "we have the 3 notes forming a chord and then one (or two) strings add one (or two) more "bass notes" to the chord" - that's not really the way people talk about chords. We just consider that all the notes are occurrences of the 3 notes forming the particular voicing of the chord.

Where can I find notes for each guitar chord that contains all the notes (including bass)?

I'd recommend taking any book showing guitar chord shapes, and working out for yourself which notes are being played in each case.

Is it the case that the bass note is just the root of the chord played one octave lower? Or is it 5th of the chord played one octave lower?

Here, you are asking about chord inversions. A chord voicing in root position has the root of the chord as its bass note. A chord in first inversion has the third as the bass note, and a chord in second inversion has the fifth as the bass note.

On guitar, chords in first in root position are often preferred, as they often sound stronger and more consonant. But there are lots of reasons to use inverted chords too.

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It's a little unclear what you are looking for, but it sounds like perhaps you need to familiarize yourself better with the notes on the fretboard, and how they relate to the different notes on a musical stave.

A simple major chord on the guitar has 3 notes; however, some of them will be duplicated one or two octaves apart, to give 6 notes - 1 played on each string. For example, a C major chord played in an 'E-shape' on the eighth fret includes the following notes: C3 (lowest), G3, C4, E4, G4, C5 (highest) (in order of the strings in acending pitch). So, there are three Cs, each an octave apart, and two Gs, an octave apart.

A regular chord (in 'root position') will always have the tonic note as the lowest (e.g. the C3 for the C chord described above). If a different note than the tonic is the lowest, then the chord is an inversion.

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Most times the lowest note in a chord is the root but that is not a rule. As long as the chord consists of the three notes it is a regular chord. If you change the order of the notes it might give you a slightly different flavor but that choice is up to you.

  • I meant the bass string. There are 3 notes forming a chord and one of them is root. These notes are played by 3 lower strings. In addition to these 3 notes there is note played by an upper string (low sounding). It is the bass note. – Roman May 4 at 21:45
  • Each chord tone will fit -but not all the same - unless there isn’t a (x) above the string in the chord pattern. It depends what bass line you want to play. Use the ear. – Albrecht Hügli May 5 at 3:28
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I wonder whether you know that you can look instead of chords for a song you can search for tabs and a song title. There are hundreds of thousands song-tabs in the internet. If you compare the tab with the chords you’ll find out the bass tone. And you can create a list on your own - if it will still be necessary.

Search for guitar tabs. There are also apps.

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