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BASS CLEF

All Musicians should have some knowledge of the Bass Clef. Not only will you then be able to write out parts for Bass Guitar and Keyboards, but you will also be able to follow a piano score that you may have to play along with. One of the best reasons for learning the Bass Clef notes, is that you will come across sheet music that contains incorrect guitar chords. One of the reasons for this is that most sheet music is written by Keyboard players who have no idea about guitar chords or guitar chord voicings. You can easily work out what these chords are if you know the notes in the Bass Clef. By analysing the notes in the bass and treble parts you can usually work out what the correct chords should be.

The Bass Clef is also known as the F Clef, which is indicated by the dots on either side of the F line in the bass stave. Before we go any further, there is a little bit of history that you should know, which helps to explain why we have a Treble and a Bass Clef at all. In earlier times there was a staff of Eleven lines called the Great Staff. Which is similar to the two staves used for the piano, but with an extra line in between, indicated in red in our diagram.

Trying to read music on such a large stave obviously was difficult, so to make life easier the Great Stave was split in two. The top half being the treble part and the bottom half being the bass part. The middle line, which contained the C note was left out, hence the term " Middle C ", being the link between the two clefs. The diagrams below show a comparison of the guitar notation in Treble Clef and the Bass Clef notes. Keep in mind that guitar notation is always written one octave higher than it actually sounds.

Comparison of Guitar Notation and Bass Clef Notes