Fast walking basslines?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Tupac, Feb 20, 2018.

  1. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    Some examples of what I'm going for:

    What exactly is going on with these highly chromatic walking lines? I look up lesson videos for walking basslines on youtube, but they all sound nothing like this. Is it because these are over one chord?

    Any more music like this, or a name to put on this type of walking? I guess bop might be the right term?
  2. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Those are just good, pro-level walking bass.
    Lessons on youtube are kindergarten versions of the same thing.
    Tupac and Lobster11 like this.
  3. I quit.
  4. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    Which chord?
    JRA likes this.
  5. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    It's just jazz but we know how significantly overrated those guys are. ;)
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
  6. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    They are playing the chord changes, like always.

    Root / chord tones are 'releases' and the chromatic /passing tones are 'tensions'
    Beginning walking bass teaches "strong" beats as 1 and 3 , 'weak' beats as 2 and 4,
    and instruct us to play the tension/ chromatic/passing tones on the 'weak' beats 2 and 4,
    and release/roots/chord tones on the 'strong' beats 1 and 3.
    but that's a simplified view.

    Larger rhythmic patterns of tension and release follow the arc of the melodic phrase or the chord cadences.
    So you can build tension/release using the chord/other tones, following these patterns too.
    In faster tunes, because harmony is flying by, you can sustain longer departures from the root/chord tones
    than you might in a slow ballad, for example.
    You just need to be sure that when the melody completes or the cadence comes around,
    you bring back those sweet chord tones to take it home.

    It's one of the drawbacks of that beginners algorithm, you can end up just playing the chords flatly with no awareness or reflection of the contour of the song's larger phrases and sections. Makes it hard / boring to follow.

    I don't think this is the case in either example. Sounds like Jazz guys playing changes to me.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
  7. Those guys are soloing, not walking. You can view it as a distinction without a difference if you like but if I was a singer or a lead player (or a BL) and they played that way outside their solos I'd be looking for a new bassist. No matter your skills, serve the song.
  8. There are many ways to walk, the above are almost considered solo, and in the 1st video you posted the bassist seems to like using 4ths as intervals to convey what he wants to say (but again he is alone, and may change completely when doing support).
    When I back a singer, I take a more supportive role, a couple example below.
    Janet Planet - Live At Cactus Jacks - Satisfy Me
    Janet Planet - Live At Cactus Jacks - Lover Come Back
    Janet Planet - Live At Cactus Jacks - Touch Of Your Love JanetPlanetSings • 26 views
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
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  9. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    If you want to make progress with your walking, here are a few questions you should be asking each time you hear a new song:
    • What is the key signature?
    • What is the time signature?
    • How many bars long is the form?
    • Is the form divided into phrases? (i.e. AABA)
    • What is the chord progression?
    • Does the harmony modulate to different keys?
    • Does this song have similarities to any songs I already know?
    Can you answer any of these questions as they apply to the two examples you posted above?
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
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  10. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    one chord? better give another listen! bop takes chops, but also an ear! ;)
    WBasstrolo and lz4005 like this.
  11. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Whousedtoplay likes this.
  12. BobDeRosa

    BobDeRosa Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 16, 2012
    Finger Lakes area of New York State
    Owner, Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camps
    You work with Janet? She's a good friend and a really popular component of our annual Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camp in Wisconsin.
    HolmeBass and JMacBass65 like this.
  13. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    If the dude could read those lines or at least not look at his hands it would bring up the pro part to a higher level IMO.
    Great playing though— kudos to the ability to being able to accurately improvise.
  14. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    I like your example.
    There are TONS of TONS of good walking bass lines!
    I'm not impressed at all with the "so called" walking soloing bass line from Tupac's first video.
    The contour of that bass line, the note choices, etc...

    The second video get closer to the "mediocre" walking bass lines domain.
    Once again.
    There are TONS of TONS of wonderful walking bass lines played.
  15. BobDeRosa

    BobDeRosa Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 16, 2012
    Finger Lakes area of New York State
    Owner, Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camps
    It's jazz, and they're playing over chord progressions in both cases (listen to the pianists for the changes). Their lines seem to be more chord-tone-based and scalar than chromatic.

    The tempos are high, but Ben is just doing a solo that begins with a chorus or so of walking baseline (which he has probably been playing to accompany his bandmates' earlier solos) and then goes into a more melodic, horn-like solo of his own. The important thing to remember is that he's being featured at this point, so he's free to do whatever works musically, and what he's playing works fine.

    Derrick, at least in the early part of the video (the only part I watched) is just playing a pretty standard, quarter-note walking bass line over a bop tune.

    In both cases, these are master players who have spent thousands of hours practicing this stuff at much slower tempos and building to what you hear now. You can do the same.
    Spin Doctor, Nashrakh, Tupac and 3 others like this.
  16. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    In order of importance:

    1. Chord tones
    2. Approach tones using scale tones
    3. Chromatic passing tones

    That's all there is to it...once you've practiced for years :roflmao:

    You need to know all the chords for the tune including possible substitutions for the original chords. Start with blues because it's the easiest and most common form and then move on from there.
    Nashrakh, ddnidd1 and St_G like this.
  17. When I listen to (the walking part) of the first two examples I'm reminded of the famous Chet Baker quote: "If I could play like Wynton (Marsalis), I wouldn't play like Wynton".
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2018
    Trevpunt likes this.
  18. oren


    Aug 7, 2007
    Salem, OR
    That Glasper video is just a fast blues. If you took something like the line Jeff Berlin shows here and brought it up to that tempo (and had Robert Glasper soloing over it) you’d be in the right neighborhood.

    Also it’s important in this kind of jazz playing to realize that there are different kinds of chords you can substitute while playing a regular progression that can add interest. This post on blues progressions illustrates some of how this magic can work.

    Jazz Blues Chord Progressions And Substitutions

    Have fun!
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  19. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Like Dizzy Gillespie said, 'you can play any note over any chord... as long as you play fast enough'.
    Nashrakh, edencab and mmon77 like this.
  20. Yeah, that was my first thought!

    Actually, I have been really working on my floating thumb technique to get my thumb of the neck pickup, and I see both these guys playing crazy good with fixed thumbs.
    JMacBass65 likes this.
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