The tensions on a given chord are a long way from the concerns of many bass players (meaning we’re usually focused on the root note of a chord), and because of this, tensions are often overlooked. But they’re an important part of understanding a chords makeup and essential when developing our knowledge of harmony.
Here, I take a look at the CMaj7 chord and all its available tensions, show you where they come from, and then look at how to find the tensions on your bass.
As a guide, I have provided a PDF list of all available tensions available on every chord quality. This list is taken from my book, The Bass Players Companion, and should help you in working though every chord and tension shape.