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Building Walking Basslines Lesson 1

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Pbassred, Jul 9, 2010.

  1. edfriedland


    Sep 14, 2003
    Austin, TX
    I'm glad to hear you stuck it out this far. Although the book is a "beginner" method for walking, it is still quite a bit of work training your mind to process music this way. Coming back to it later, you'll find it's much easier from all the work you've put in.
  2. tortburst

    tortburst Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2007
    New Jersey
    I'm having this same problem. It was easier when the chord says G, and you figure out a way to approach a G. They're listed out for you in Part 1
    • chromatic approach
    • double chromatic approach
    • scale approach
    • Dominant approach
    so as long as you know where all the roots are on the fretboard you can train your hand to go on auto pilot pretty much.

    Now with the advanced resolutions, chordal movement, chromatics, 3rds on the chord change, etc.., to learn in part 2 it's not as easy to go on auto pilot and feel my way to the chord tones.

    I'm trying to find a way to put it all into a structure in my head.
    1. See the chord
    2. Know on the fretboard where ALL the approachable chord tones are
    3. Know on the fretboard where any of the approach notes would be
    4. Flow from the previous chord to the next using the above like a map

    It's going to take a lot of thoughtful practice.
  3. NCD


    Mar 19, 2011
    A different approach...

    I had the book already and was on lesson 17 when I found out that this thread exists. I read 14 pages of the thread so far and the brain has gone numb... but I'll be sure to finish it later. For the moment, I realized I'm doing an approach that I don't see being discussed.

    In short, I'm building on skills to do walking lines that are melodic and my personal goal with the book is to be able to use the skills taught in a way that comes alive within it's own melody. Because that's my goal, one of the things that is a concern to me is the concept of range.

    When I do the Roots only exercise, I'm all over the neck intentionally to remind myself of the vast possibilities. IE here is my practice progression for DGEA, the first part of Standard Progression #1:


    The general idea is to remember that there are always MANY choices for how to build a walking line, not just the one closest to where you are at the moment or repeating the same R-8 all the time.

    As you can imagine, the complexity will become exponential as we add the 5th and then get into approaches. As it becomes more complex, the possibilities become endless...

    And isn't that the whole point? :)

    Ed, I do have to say that I started learning the line to Darling Dear just because I love the way it flows from the heart and soul when you're in that groove but I can also see how it could be a six month study in the techniques you teach here in this book too!

    Thanks for writing it, it's really opening my eyes to what can be possible.
  4. edfriedland


    Sep 14, 2003
    Austin, TX
    You're most welcome. Thanks for taking the time to learn from it.
  5. DONZI97


    Dec 24, 2008
    Algonac Michigan
    Dude. :eyebrow:
  6. zenrad

    zenrad Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2009
    Bergen County, NJ
    Um...I bet if you read the thread, or at least this page you may figure it out. Oh yeah, another clue is contained in the thread title.
  7. Lambic

    Lambic Squeaky Pedals McGee

    Apr 28, 2010
    Flanders (Belgium)
    I can't find the post the two above here are replying to (I went through all 18 pages for that!), and can't remember ever having read it. :confused:
  8. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    That means it's been deleted either by the original poster or by a mod.
  9. bump! anyone still working on this!?
  10. wrench45us


    Aug 26, 2011
    I just started bass with the intent of learning to play walking bass lines.
    Ed's book was one of the 1st I bought. I backed off a bit to learn to improve sight reading and get some playing in with Ed's bass book. Jump blues follow some walking and it's a little easier knowing the blues changes cycle, rather than the way standards move about.
    I have the attention span of an insect, combined with persistence, so I get back to Ed's book about every 3rd day, The other 2, I'm working with Jay Hungerford's walking bass lines book with standards to again improve staff reading and get a practical taste to see how practically the various approaches can take shape.
    I want to hear and play the walking lines so I can soak it in a bit.
    Plus I find at this stage, I tend to go pretty blank when Ed's book just shows chord changes and I'm expected to fill in the line. I know that's the goal of the 'training', but it's a bit much at this stage. But like I said persistence -- by next year, I'll have it.
  11. Lambic

    Lambic Squeaky Pedals McGee

    Apr 28, 2010
    Flanders (Belgium)
    It was getting too difficult for me, but I keep an eye on it, expecting to return to it soon. Well, as soon as possible. :bassist:
  12. Hey Ed,
    I ordered your book today. When it comes should I start at the begining of this thread?
    I actually ordered two of your books, and have one. Thanks.
  13. NCD


    Mar 19, 2011
    Definitely still on it, though life has sidelined most of my bass playing for several months. I've moved, trying to restart a business and build new clientele, etc.
  14. chanson

    chanson Supporting Member

    I find the times I get stuck most on a walking bassline is when it is the same chord/root repeated over two or more bars. I kind of get tripped up, and I feel like my lines lose fluidity. Especially if it is in Eb or something, where the is really only one Eb in the first position (unless you have a 5+ strings).

    If I were going from one bar of B7 to two bars of Emin, and then one bar of Amin7, what would you all (especially Ed) suggest I play? I'm at the point in walking where I comfortably use R, 3, 5, 7, and chromatic notes, still trying to get scale tones down.
  15. AMp'D.2play

    AMp'D.2play Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    I've had mine for a good year or so now. I refer to it at least 1x a week (more so when I first got it). Haven't even gotten to Part 2 where Ed gets into scales & modes. Part 1 can be difficult enough not just playing the exercises but understanding the whats, whys, hows, wheres, etc. It's sometimes frustrating getting tripped up at regular speed on one of the standards in the back of the book when all I'm trying to play are Rs & 5s!

    The cool thing I've noticed is that every now & then while playing a rock/blues song in a cover band setting, without even giving it much thought I'll throw in a variation for a few measures that'll sound really cool. Then I'll realize that it's something I picked up from Ed's book.

    So, despite my occasional frustration, the material in the book is sinking in after all.
  16. edfriedland


    Sep 14, 2003
    Austin, TX
    For Eb, I suggest you get comfortable playing the octave on the G string. Shift up to the 6th fret and you've got R-5-8. You can't live in 1st position forever.

    There are so many possibilities for B7 - Em7 - Em7 - A7 I can't tell you them all. But with two bars of one chord, I suggest varying the approach so you don't play the same ideas in both bars. Bar one you could do R-app-5-app, bar two you could do R-5-8-app.
  17. chanson

    chanson Supporting Member

    Thank you, Ed
  18. chanson

    chanson Supporting Member

    Been spending about 30 minutes a day trying to get the walking down, stuff having a tough time. It's just hard to navigate through the cord changes, especially in real time. Throw in the whole moving up and down the neck factor in, and it gets real tough. For me at least. Those static chords really throw me off, much harder than it seems.

    If I sit down and take my time (not in real time), I can write a flowing, bassline that incorporates many different techniques (chromatic, double chromatic, scale tone, 7ths, 3rds, etc.) but when I try to play along to an actual recording or to a metronome, I just can't find that notes in time. Obviously practicing more is the answer, but does anyone have any other advice to help?
  19. Lambic

    Lambic Squeaky Pedals McGee

    Apr 28, 2010
    Flanders (Belgium)
    Earlier in this thread, Ed already suggested the use of some software that allows you to slow down the play-alongs without altering the tuning. Not mentioned, but also very useful software (and for free!), is Audacity.
  20. edfriedland


    Sep 14, 2003
    Austin, TX
    I like Amazing Slow Downer but there may be other options that are free. ASD handles the audio very well, it doesn't get that chorus sound that some software causes.

    Regardless, you should practice out of time until you get more familiar with the changes and where they lay out on the neck. Trying to play in time before you know where to go will just be frustrating. There is no time line, you move on when you're ready. Walking bass is a challenging skill, you have to know your fingerboard well, understand the harmony, and know what notes to choose. Then, you have to make it swing. A little bit more going on than learning Blink 182 tabs... so, take your time, be patient, and know that you are learning every step of the way.

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