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Easy Bass Lines for Jam Sessions? Come Share!

Discussion in 'Tablature and Notation [BG]' started by SilverDrive73, Jan 1, 2014.

  1. SilverDrive73


    Dec 31, 2013
    My friends and I have a little garage band and sometimes we like to just do some jamming off the top of our heads. Usually we will just do blues and the bass line I came up with is something like this:


    I repeat it and move that around the neck while we play. I was wondering if you more experienced players can lend a hand to a beginner and share some of your first bass lines that you used to jam with friends. (All genres welcome)
  2. Seriouscat123

    Seriouscat123 Banned

    Jun 26, 2013
    Try Jailhouse rocks bassline or jonny b goode its pretty basic 12 bar blues, and many other songs are the same style of that era.
  3. Icculus

    Icculus Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2010
    Brotherly Love
    I'm not that experienced, but I just make sure I know the key and chord changes first. Then, you can start simple and work from there. I'll mostly play the pentatonic notes (especially root, 5, and 7) until I feel comfortable adding more flavorful notes. You can introduce those other notes first as passing tones and listen closely to how they sound with the other instruments. If you think it'll work, try to incorporate the flavorful notes into a line. Your bassline is a solid starting point, especially because you added the flat 5 on the walkup (a staple in blues), but you don't want to repeat it note for note for a 5+ minute jam or it will get very repetitive and boring to the listener. The more you can change it up, the more you will engage the listener to be active and follow along with what you're playing. By listener, I mean bandmates as well as audience.
  4. Icculus

    Icculus Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2010
    Brotherly Love
    Some examples of what you can do with your line…

    Play it your way for the first time and vary it the second time. Then the third time, play it same as the first, and the fourth time you can add a second variation. So now you have 3 versions of your bassline and you can work them into a pattern… A, B, A, C where each letter corresponds to a variation. Maybe on the fourth go around, you play this before going back to the start:


    You play the G that you normally start on, but on the octave, and go from higher pitch to lower pitch in order to make it sound like you're taking it back to the beginning.

    Long-winded explanation aside, the point is that we can't really tell you the basslines to play because it depends on what your bandmates are playing. Just play what you feel, trust your ears, start simple, and add on a little at a time. Eventually, you will KNOW what notes will sound good before you play them. Another thing you can do is play some distant variations of a bassline you already know (hence, my signature). I was jamming with some guys the other night and realized that I was playing warped version of "Disco Inferno". It just sort of happens.
  5. bass_case

    bass_case Maintain low tones. Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2013
    Miami, FL
    Some moderate tempo 12-bar blues standards:

    - Green Onions
    - Kansas City
    - Sweet Home Chicago
    - Key to the Highway
    - Hideaway

    All are I-IV-V except Key which has a slight variation. Hideaway is a blast, it's like five tunes in one. By Freddy King, check it out.