What Is a Bass Tritone? (b5 Interval Explained)

Tritones are essential to understand if you want to learn advanced harmony, and are often used in blues, funk, and jazz.

What is a tritone?

A tritone, simply put, is the b5 interval, which is also called the #4 interval. You can find a tritone anywhere by moving up 3 whole steps, hence the name “tritone”.

When you play a root note and the tritone at the same time, you can call it a tritone dyad.

For example, this is a “C” tritone, and the b5 interval (the tritone) is the Eb note.

C tritone on bass guitar

How to play a tritone on bass

To play the C tritone:

  • Put your first finger on the 10th fret of the D string (the C note)
  • Put your middle finger on the 11th fret of the G string (the F#  note)

You can play a tritone anywhere by moving this shape to any root note.

The last thing to note is that a tritone is the only type of dyad/interval where the distance between the two notes remains the same when it’s inverted.

Bass tritone PDF and conclusion

Go ahead an download or print this PDF if you want.

From there, move onto my next lesson about bass dyads and intervals, which covers major 3rds minor 3rds for bass.