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Tip: Do The Bump

This tip will have us exploring that funky difference in tuning that you find between the B string and the G string. Sometimes it seems like the guitar would be so much easier to play if all strings were tuned a fourth apart.

Specifically we’re going to learn how to transfer patterns — including chords, scales, whatever — across strings. We’ll start with a C major chord spanning strings two to five. And we’ll try to turn that into an F major chord, showing up on strings one to four.

Here’s the C major chord just mentioned:

|------|
|-5----|
|-5----|
|-5----|
|-3----|
|------|

Now let’s bump it up (in pitch). We’ll go to the next string that’s higher in pitch. The root is going to be F. So it’s going to be some kind of F chord, if we transfer the pattern exactly from the C major chord. But we also think, “Okay, we got that B string tuned different from the other strings…so what am I going to have to do to turn the ‘F Something’ chord into the F major chord?” Here’s the pattern shifted up before we’ve made any change to it:

|-5----|
|-5----|
|-5----|
|-3----|
|------|
|------|

That turns out to be an F major 7. So, we came pretty close to our goal of the same exact kind of chord as the C major, didn’t we? They’re both major chords. But the F chord is a major 7, which is not exactly the same as a plain old major. Here’s the adjustment to make it a plain F major:

|-5----|
|-6----|
|-5----|
|-3----|
|------|
|------|

Notice carefully where the change was made: the B string. And that’s going to be true for any pattern we want to bump up to the next string: whichever note got moved from the G string onto the B gets moved up one fret. And that’s the ONLY change you need to make.

The tough part comes, sometimes, in trying to work out a fingering for the bumped shape.

Next time, we’ll Bump it Down. Thanks for reading.

Copyright © 2008 Darrin Koltow

This first appeared in the Guitar Noise News – August 1, 2006 newsletter. Reprinted with permission.

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