How to walking bass properly (not the beginner formula)

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by DaveYoe, Aug 31, 2022.

  1. DaveYoe


    Apr 27, 2022
    So I didn't play much of walking bass but sometimes I do need it for like rock&roll and jazz or blues songs at church, Im always fine with the simplest formula or arpeggios.

    But now that im getting better as a player i want to learn about how to actually build a real walking bass (not that of 5mintues instant walking bass, or easiest way to, or beginner friendly type of walking)

    But i cannot seems to find anyone actually teaching how to do it in youtube (I know paid lessons will have it tho but yknow)

    So can someone please help me to understand how to actually build a proper walking bass
    JRA likes this.
  2. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Get the book "Building Walking Bass Lines" by Ed Friedland. It's in standard notation, but it's all quarter notes, so it's beginner friendly. Taught me to walk and read all at once.
    Crispus, Staccato, kobass and 23 others like this.
  3. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

  4. Pick one bassist you admire and learn a bunch of the songs they played on.

    You can’t go wrong with Duck Dunn on the Blues Brother soundtrack for soul/blues.

    The double bassist Ray Brown is very beginner friendly for transcribing Jazz walking bass lines.

    Paul McCartney
    - early in The Beatles era (All My Lovin, Lady Madonna, Something) and
    - with Wings (All The Best - a best of album) has a great variety of bass lines.
  5. ProbablyTooLoud


    Aug 1, 2020
    Here ya go.
    This is a walking bass tutorial written by TB member Chris Fitzgerald, who's over on the DB side.

    Attached Files:

    Chris_H60, tpa, Amano and 23 others like this.
  6. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    In my very humble opinion, the Youtube vids you mention will most likely get you 90% of the way there. I certainly have played a number of realbook gigs just walking triads and cliche voice leading.

    I think the difficulty of walking bass lies in its fluent execution, and not its theoretical underpinnings of how to get from one chord to the next. So "just do it." Which, I know, is not the kind of answer you're looking for.
  7. Papageno


    Nov 16, 2015
    For an in-depth introduction to walking bass, I recommend:
    1. the YouTube tutorials of Chris Fitzgerald
    2. Mike Downes's book: "The jazz bass line book"

    There are of course plenty of other excellent resources, like those mentioned above in this thread.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2022
    BBQisgood likes this.
  8. play modes , mess around ! dont listen to me but do !
    johnnynitro likes this.
  9. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    I learned how to walk the bass without instruction. It began when I first heard Big Joe Turner's album The Boss of the Blues, recorded in the early 1950s with members of Count Basie's orchestra. Most of it is swinging blues (no shuffles!), and the blues structures provide a familiar field to begin walking. The idea is to connect the next chord with the current chord in a scalar fashion, rather than simply go from one arpeggio to the next. Good walking involves being able to find a good penultimate note, the note that leads to the chord change.

    There are no short cuts, though. It requires immersion.
  10. Papageno


    Nov 16, 2015
    Exactly: good walking walking bass should not only tell the listener where you are in the harmony, but also and most importantly, where you are going to.
  11. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Columbia SC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.

    At the risk of shameless self-promotion, many folks have found this useful.
    ryco, Crispus, Groove Doctor and 18 others like this.
  12. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Shameless…. :sour:

    …but I do, in fact, find it useful.
  13. pbass2

    pbass2 Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2007
    Los Angeles
    And you will be indispensable to the band once you can pull that off consistently!
    bassbrad likes this.
  14. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty It is not easy to do simple things correctly Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    Jeff Berlin: A sort of universal walking bass line.
    gcb, Ellery and Eli_Kyiv like this.
  15. Stewie


    Jul 3, 2013
    Near Boston
    Study anything by Larry Taylor of Canned Heat. He was the best at it of anyone I’ve heard
  16. ProbablyTooLoud


    Aug 1, 2020
    I finally took the plunge and ordered this book.
    I figure since I've been using your "how to really learn a tune" post and learning a ton from many of your other comments here, I might as well pay you something for all that knowledge.
    Thanks Ed.
    SteveCS, Joshua, Hasty and 2 others like this.
  17. Danny O Danny

    Danny O Danny Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2015
    Georgetown, TX
    Semi Actuated likes this.
  18. You mind linking me to that one? Thanks!
  19. ProbablyTooLoud


    Aug 1, 2020
    I got the title wrong, but here it is:

    REALLY Learning a tune

    This approach totally works.
    Follow the directions and don't take any shortcuts. He also has another one about singing chord inversions, I believe from the same teacher. I'll look for it if you're interested.
    Bass4Gsus, Calebmundy and ole Jason like this.
  20. KenD

    KenD Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2020
    Vancouver Island
    I think this is sometimes referred to as "approach notes" or voice leading.
    Groove Doctor and AGCurry like this.