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Bass walks. Help?!

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by T.O.G, May 7, 2015.

  1. T.O.G


    Apr 11, 2015
    So when I'm doing a blues line, how do I do some walks to fill the gaps in between? Thanks
  2. You have many ways of walking. Easy ways first.....

    A generic chromatic walk is easy. You've been doing R-5-8-5 for a measure or two and a chord change is coming up. Target (find) the next root and miss it by one fret (one fret up scale or down scale either way works) then walk to the next chord and land on that new root for the chord change. Your pattern for the walk could be R-5-8-X with X being the walk into the new chord. Country will use a three fret walk. Here is an example:

    With a three fret walk timing the start of the walk will take some practice so you can get the walk in AND land on the chord change as the change happens.

    Ed Friedland's book Building Walking Bass Lines will have some of the other walking lines you can use. Find a walk you like that fits your music. Get that walk into muscle memory - then go find another...

    Good luck
    Last edited: May 8, 2015
    jp58 likes this.
  3. LeeNunn

    LeeNunn Supporting Member

    Oct 9, 2012
    Charlottesville, VA
    Carol Kaye and Ed Friedland are two of the best bass guitar educators. Jamey Aebersold is another resource. Try Blues in All Keys. Besides using these resources, I recommend listening to lots of blues and studying the bass lines carefully. By listening carefully, I mean to the point of being able to hear the lines in your head. Carol and Ed can help you understand the theory behind it, whether the lines are chromatic or arpeggios. Also, some of the more interesting blues progressions stray from the I IV V progressions.

    If you need help hearing the individual notes in the recordings you want to learn, I recommend software that loops and slows down the playback (without necessarily changing the pitch). There are plenty of threads on such software here on TB, but the favorites seem to be Amazing Slow Downer and Transcribe (by Seventh String).

    For me, one song in particular opened walking blues bass to me. It was Skat on the album Future Blues by Canned Heat. The bass player is Larry Taylor. I loved the tune when it I first heard it (I was only 12), but it was another eight years before I learned it (without the help of software). It's up-tempo (222 bpm) and it really swings. If you read music, I'll send you a transcription. Here's a link:

    Another of my favorite walking blues bass lines is Natalie Cole's cover of Route 66 with Ray Brown on bass. I can send you that transcription too.

    These lines go way beyond R-5-8-5 and should keep you busy for a long time. To my ear, these lines are downright melodic.
  4. AndrewFord


    Aug 11, 2012
    Los Angeles area
    Endorsing Artist: Line 6, TC Electronics, Yamaha, Elixir Strings
    I call it connecting the dots, like a puzzle, you need to know where you are coming from and where you need to go, then you decide to walk up, walk down, or use a chromatic note above or below the note you are going to....but all the while focusing on smoothly connecting the chords.
    Caleb Mills and T-Funk like this.
  5. +1 to connecting the dots. .
    AndrewFord likes this.
  6. Flatwoundround


    May 18, 2014
    I play in a blues band and when I first started I wanted so badly to know how to do the cool sounding walking blues bass lines.

    First, go on youtube and type in How to play Walking Blues Bassline by Marlowe DK. You will find 20 minutes of Excellent instruction on the whole topic.

    Second, buy Andrew Fords Blues Bass Survival guide. This is Excellent!

    Also check out Tommy Shannon as he has a DVD on the topic too.
    jp58 and AndrewFord like this.
  7. Thuddy Waters

    Thuddy Waters

    Mar 20, 2015
    Phoenix, AZ
    Tell me about the "Andrew Ford Blues Bass Survival guide." Also, it looks like the website says that the video is actually 4 hours long. Is that correct?
  8. Flatwoundround


    May 18, 2014
    Good stuff. Not sure how long it is but there is plenty of material. You can watch the intro to the course on youtube. I highly recommend this dvd for any blues bass player.
    AndrewFord likes this.

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