Bass Runs

Bass runs are short single-note passages played on the bass strings that are usually used to link two chords together. There are basically two types of bass runs: diatonic and chromatic. Diatonic runs use consecutive notes from a major or minor scale, while chromatic runs use every note (by half steps) in the path from one chord to another. Since chromatic runs involve every note between two chords, they are used to bridge chords with only a short distance between them, such as C to D.

The exercises below demonstrate common bass runs in the five most common keys for playing the folk guitar (G, C, D, E, and A) using the tonic, subdominant, and dominant seventh chords (e.g. G, C, and D7).