Descending diatonic walking bass pattern

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Bubba Krank, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. Bubba Krank

    Bubba Krank Guest

    Jul 10, 2017
    I'm learning how to walk a bass line. My study has shown that one option to descend a P5 is to walk down the scale. I would characterize this as 1-7-6-5 with the 7th being the note appropriate to the chord. My question is the pitch I'm referring to as the 6th. I also have, in my notes, that this note should be the 3rd of the following chord. If this is correct it would change the third note that you would play when going from C7-F7 or C7-fm7. Would someone be able to explain this discrepancy for me, please. I'd really like to understand and better inform my own choices.
    Thank you
  2. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    That would depend--is the tune in the key of F minor? Otherwise, no, you would not change the note if you want to keep it diatonic. The function of the note in the following chord is irrelevant.
  3. Scruffy_Johnson

    Scruffy_Johnson Inactive

    Jun 29, 2017
    Mr. Moses is right.

    OP, is the C7 the Dominant of F Major or F Minor? When you have that information, then you can make a better choice. If the Key is F Major, probably A-natural would work best. If the Key is F Minor, probably A-flat would work best.

    The Bass Line attempts to set up the next chord. Or something like that.

    Is this the first two-measures of a 12-Bar Blues?

    You could even descend: "C, Bb, G, Gb". And then "F" on the downbeat of F7 (continue down: "Eb, D, Db". End on "C". à la Bernie Worrell - "Flashlight".

    Or: Descend "C, Bb, G, E". And then up to "F" on the downbeat of F7.

    Or: Asscend "C, D, D#, E". And then "F" on the downbeat of F7.

    Or: "C" (on your A-string), Drop to "Open-E", G, Gb. And then "F" on the downbeat of F7.

    There are more...
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017
  4. Here is a version I made of "All the things you are" taking the modulation of bar 9 and repeating to create a 12 key nightmare... a perfect vehicle to practice your descending diatonic lines!

    In the first 6 bars you have | Fm | Bbm | Eb7 | Abmaj7 | Dbmaj7 | , all in the key of Ab, so yo can play this line:
    Then at bar 9 you have Eb mayor for 6 bars, then Bb, F, and all 12 keys going up 5ths.

    Attached Files:

  5. Here is another example taking the first 8 bars from "Autumn Leaves", again in 12 keys.

    You can use these descending diatonic lines over each chord:

    Attached Files:

  6. If you play both exercises in 12 keys, you'll have your answer right under your fingers. Good luck!
  7. Scruffy_Johnson

    Scruffy_Johnson Inactive

    Jun 29, 2017
    Can you tab these?
    Mushroo likes this.
  8. Chris204T


    Feb 4, 2014
    Dallas area
    If you're learning how to walk a bass line, I think you'll find some useful info if you watch this video. He is playing electric bass guitar, but the information is the same. Anyway, it might give you something you can use, and it just take a few minutes. I've only been playing a couple years, and I wish I'd seen it sooner. Forget about the cheesiness and listen to what he says.

  9. I can but I won't!

    Playing improvised bass lines is all about knowing what notes are you playing and how they relate to the chord changes. The only way to really get into this is by playing the very same ideas all over the neck and in 12 keys. I´m sorry but in this case "the long way" is really the shortest (and the only it works).
  10. That's a fine lesson but only deals with "one-chord-per-bar-moving-by-fourths". I HIGHLY recommend this series of videos by Chris Fitzgerald, very comprehensive and extremely well presented:

    (by far the best material I've found on the subject!)
  11. Scruffy_Johnson

    Scruffy_Johnson Inactive

    Jun 29, 2017
    It was a joke! Perhaps you missed my previous post?
    Zermelo likes this.
  12. busted!
  13. The tonality of the next chord isn't nearly as important as the key, in making this determination.

    Say you're in F major, and it is C7-F. Play in F major.
    But if it is in F major, and the chords are C7-Fm7, then the Fm7 probably functions as a pivot ii to get you into E flat. Still, you play from the C down to the F in the key of F major. Why? Because the changing role of the F chord to a pivot chord doesn't occur till it lands on it. It does no good to forecast the shift. It is only confusing.
  14. Scruffy_Johnson

    Scruffy_Johnson Inactive

    Jun 29, 2017
    Not necessarily a hard and fast rule.

    One could easily utilize an "Ab" in the first 2 measures.
    1) Pitches from the F Minor Scale - F, G, Ab, Bb, C, Db, Eb, F.
    2) Or, this 8-note Scale: F, G, Ab, Bb, C, Db, Eb, E-natural, F. You need to use that E-natural judiciously.

    ||: Gmi7(b5) | C7(b9b13) | Fmaj7 |Fmaj7 :||

    It'd be better to use "Ab" throughout:

    ||: Fmi7 | Bb7 | Ebmaj7 | C7(#9b13) :||
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017
    Zermelo likes this.
  15. sean_on_bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    Funny, i would actually remove the key from the equation in this case, but the context of the thread seems to require us to be "diatonic." I play the changes, not the key, at the end of the day. The key simply offers some sort of context for the changes(and melody...and written music). In a C7(measure 1) to Fm(measure 2) situation, i am going to use the A as my 6th in measure one(C7), and Ab as my 3rd in measure two(Fmin). Not to say the Ab is wrong in measure 1. In the right context and on the right beat(or between!) an Ab could be used measure 1 to taste. Probably not a note i would use to resolve to the Fmin though(like on beat 4 of measure 1).
    Scruffy_Johnson likes this.
  16. That "C7" speaks only of the quatriad of that chord, but no one plays just 1-3-5-b7 in that case. Being a dominant chord resolving to a minor it would very likely an altered sound so your higher structure could include b9, #9, #11 and b13. Thinking this way I could use a C altered scale: | C - Bb - Ab - Gb | F ... |, or F harmonic minor: | C - Bb - Ab - G | F ... |. So your A as the 13th of that C7 would sound veeery off.

    The "easy" answer would be to strenghten your chord-scale relationships in order to interpret correctly each chord symbol. The key of the song (or the "local key" of that passage) are very important!
    Seanto, Lee Moses and Scruffy_Johnson like this.
  17. Scruffy_Johnson

    Scruffy_Johnson Inactive

    Jun 29, 2017
    You are correct in "removing" the Key - at least from most "Jazz" tunes. They are usually filled with unresolved harmonic progressions.

    One needs to be aware of the potentially loaded Dominant Seventh Chords -- Extensions!

    A "C7" may or may not have a "walking bassline" with an "A".

    The example I posted:

    ||: Gmi7(b5) | C7(b9b13) | Fmaj7 |Fmaj7 :||

    Could just as easily utilize the F Harmonic Major Scale over the first 2 chords - F, G, A, Bb, C, Db, E, F.

    Always refer to the Melody!!!
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017
    Seanto likes this.
  18. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Gold Supporting Member

    +1. Put this on a T-Shirt and a Coffee Cup and I'll buy one of each.
    Nicely articulated and expressed.
    Seanto and Scruffy_Johnson like this.
  19. sean_on_bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    Ok i do see where you are coming from, and you are right that in certain context the A might sound strange. I suppose it depends on what the melody is doing?
    Zermelo likes this.
  20. sean_on_bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    Agreed 100%.