Bassits that use walking bass lines.

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by BassMick, Dec 28, 2014.

  1. BassMick


    Apr 13, 2010
    Hey everyone, I have been recently been getting into walking jazz bass lines and was wondering what you guys recommend who I should listen to. It can be players who use it a lot, or that only throw it in there occasionally. I also recently got an MI book on walking bass, but if anyone else has any suggestions how I can learn more, that would be fantastic. Thank you for your time.

    Last edited: Dec 28, 2014
  2. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Start with Paul Chambers.
    Then add healthy doses of Ray Brown, Ron Carter, Oscar Pettiford..... that's just the tip of the iceberg.
    Those four guys alone could keep you busy for years analyzing their lines. True masters.
  3. bassrich


    Nov 20, 2011
    Sarasota, FL
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  4. BassMick


    Apr 13, 2010
    Thanks for the quick replies!
  5. Not sure of your background, but if jazz is a new direction, you might want to ease into walking bass through some more simple blues progressions. Keith Ferguson of the Fabulous Thunderbirds will ease you into walking bass while keeping you grounded in familiar chord progressions. Here's a link to one of dozens of songs where he walks through the song.

    on the other hand, if you are ready for anything, jump right into Paul Chambers with Mr PC
    BassMick and BluesOnBass like this.
  6. BassMick


    Apr 13, 2010
    Thanks Lex!
  7. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    Tommy Shannon is the king of blues walking bass lines.
    It's great to see him get into the RRHOF this year.
    Spectrum, dewbass4, interp and 4 others like this.
  8. BassMick


    Apr 13, 2010
    Thanks hdracer. Do you guys recommend any DVDs or books on learning how to play walking bass lines?
  9. El Spearo

    El Spearo

    Jun 12, 2012
    Wellington, NZ
    I've got both of the Ed Friedland ones. They are quite good, they have a lot of material and play along tracks (you can remove the bass)
    hdracer likes this.
  10. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    I started into this territory a couple of years ago after years of playing blues and rock bass and guitar.

    What helped me unlock walking bass lines was developing a good understanding of chord theory (I had a teacher for about 6 months to help me) and then working through the Real Book with assistance from Band in a Box and iRealBook software.

    So, knowing what notes, arpeggios or scales to play over what chords/chord progressions, along with the ability to read jazz charts, brought me from not being able to play squat to being reasonably competent in about a least competent enough to hang with an intermediate amateur jazz ensemble/workshop group.

    I also did a lot of listening to pretty much any recording of jazz standards along the way.
  11. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    For me---- Ray Brown is tops. Another great one to listen to is Red Mitchel. If you want to hear great walking lines and how they fit with the melody, check out Red with Clark Terry on flugelhorn---- that's it--- one horn and bass.
    Lo-E, interp and BassMick like this.
  12. thumpstaph


    Feb 14, 2008
    John Patitucci has a pretty comprehensive online educational presence. He's also a burner, so he's good to listen to. Also Scott Devine at scott's bass lessons (online). Not much content of him actually playing songs and the like, but he has a fantastic teaching style.
    squidtastic and Roberto Nunez like this.
  13. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Lots of good resources, but if you are talking about traditional jazz, I would get a copy of the Real Book and transcribe lines yourself. IMHO, you'll get a lot more out of it than just reading notes in a tutorial.
    okcrum and Space Pickle like this.
  14. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
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  15. jmverdugo


    Oct 11, 2012
    Katy TX
    +1 for Tommy Shannon, just learn Pride and Joy and you have a tutorial for walking lines right there.
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  16. sl0pch0p

    sl0pch0p Supporting Member

    Aug 4, 2014
    New York, NY
    Check out this book. I just picked it up to brush up on some fundamentals and after flipping through it I can say it covers pretty much all the necessary ground any bass player would need to know in understanding walking bass line mechanics and how to build their own. It ranges from entry level beginner (reading music, chord structure) all the way through advanced concepts, knowledge of chords/arpeggios in different keys, behavior and feel of the root, third, fifth, seventh in different modes, moving through chord changes using walking structures, etc. I imagine after hacking through this one and learning it well, it would serve any bass player well especially one with interest in writing walking bass lines:

    Don't forget, a nice new flashy bass and a sweet amp are great things but ultimately the most important investment is in yourself, with technique, knowledge and skill you can make any bass sound awesome. A $20 book is often worth more than any piece of expensive equipment, especially after you already have gear that doesn't suck.
    BassMick likes this.
  17. interp


    Apr 14, 2005
    Garmisch, Germany
    Boy, I don't know when I've seen a thread where every single post has such great information and suggestions. Well done, everyone!
  18. squirefan


    Nov 22, 2009
    Lansing, Ks.
    I always liked Boz Burrell.
    Nothing flashy or difficult, but very tasty!
    digmeout likes this.
  19. wrench45us


    Aug 26, 2011

    There are these useful transcriptions of Sam Jones and Paul Chambers. Last I checked the Doug Watkins book was out of print.

    But you have to really know the songs, you have to know and feel the chord changes, so the most useful; book I've found for that is

    The Jay Hungerford book is very very useful.
    But he doesn't cover theory much at all if any. He just digs in and if theory is useful anywhere it's in constructing walking bass lines.
    So while these books don't cover theory it's being applied.
    (Unlike 'teaching' books, the transcription books indicate that real players in real situations aren't afraid to repeat themselves. Certain lines get repeated as an indicator of where we are in the song.)

    For theory you want the Ed Friedland book as mentioned and

    all that should keep you busy.

    if that's all too much -- depending on where you're starting from -- a very good place to start is
    Todd Johnson's series Vol 1 and 2. I jumped in over my head and it was those books that provided a flotation device.
    BassMick likes this.
  20. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Tommy Shannon and Keith Ferguson were great blues players, but they have relatively little to offer to someone looking to learn jazz walking. I speak from the experience of a blues guy being tossed into the deep end of some jazz gigs.

    Ray Brown and Paul Chambers are the best places to start listening. Ed Friedland's books are great to work from.
    smeet and BassMick like this.