►► FREE: Get the practice tracks and chord progression diagrams for all the progressions in this lesson → https://becomeabassist.com/common-chord-progressions-on-bass
The best bassists in the world can’t only play a handful of songs. They can play hundreds or even thousands of them.
How do they do it?
Do they just have better memories and bigger brains and total recall?
Personally, I don’t think so!
Because if I tallied up all the songs I could play without looking at sheet music, tabs, charts or lyric sheets, then it would easily be in the hundreds - more likely the thousands.
And I don’t have a superhuman memory or anything like that.
What I (and what tons of other musicians) have memorized is the ‘right’ things and one of the big ones is common chord progressions.
These are the kinds of progressions that show up over and over and over - the kind that you’ve heard thousands of times. You’ve probably played all of these at some point, even if you didn’t realize.
Learn what these chord progressions are, where they lay on your bass and what they sound like, and any time that progression pops up, you won’t even have to think about it - you can just plug that progression into your bass.
But it does require you to think slightly differently and that’s what we’ll be covering in today’s video. You’ll learn:
► How it’s easier to learn songs when you stop trying to learn the individual notes and frets
► The ‘geometry’ of the progressions that let you play them all over your bass and in any key
► The 5 chord progressions that let you play 1,601 songs
Where does the 1,601 number come from? Well, there’s a site called Hook Theory and one of the features is that you can plug in a chord progression and it’ll show you a ton of real songs that use it. It’s a super cool tool. (Check it out here: https://hooktheory.com/trends )
I plugged 4 of the common chord progressions into Hook Theory and it spit out 1,101 songs, which is a lot! In reality though, there will be tons more that use the progressions, but this is still a ton of tunes.
Then, for the (spoiler alert) blues, I added 500, although I was being very conservative. After all, there aren’t just 500 blues songs out there - there are heaps more.
The real number of songs you can play with these progressions is likely way higher than 1,601, but still - if you could play 1,601 songs, that’s pretty awesome.
Of course, you’ll still need to figure out the geometry of these progressions and practice them, and if you need help with that, then make sure to download the tracks and PDF with all the geometry diagrams to help you out. It’s all free and you can get it right here:
Just fill out the form on that page and I’ll send everything straight to you.
Now if you’re looking to memorize these progressions, learning the chords inside them and where they lay on your bass is a great first step.
But if you want to be able to instantly recognize the progressions when they pop up in the wild, you need to go one step further, and activate your ears.
This can be as simple as singing the roots of the progressions as you play along with them. You’ll actually see me doing this as I go through the examples in the video.
It’s one thing to know the progressions intellectually, but if you can learn the sound of them on a gut/ear level, then any time these chord sequences show up in a song you’re trying to learn, you’ll instantly know what it is and how to find the roots on your bass.
If you need help with getting started with your ear, I have an older video about that as well. You can find it here.
If you can do both of these things - recognize the common chord progressions with your ear and then apply them to your bass, you’ll be unstoppable!
Good luck with the lesson and happy playing!
P.S. Here’s the link to get the free practice tracks and chord progression diagrams
1:10 The Number System
2:37 Chord Sequence 1: 12 Bar Blues
6:14 Chord Sequence 2: 1-5-6-4
9:46 Chord Sequence 3: 6-4-1-5
11:29 Chord Sequence 4: 1-6-4-5
14:07 Chord Sequence 5: The 2-5-1