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jazz bass

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by maxy, Jul 14, 2004.

  1. maxy


    Jun 24, 2004
    I was wondering if someone could clearly point out the concept behind walking bass or jazz bass.

    I mean is it on the spot thingy?(i mean be playing with the mind racing around...)
    Am i supposed to be knowing charts?
    i have a 5 string but is it adv. to play from 5th pos rather than one coz the highs are ease to get to?

    Just give me the method or supposed concept of walking bass line. i am doing from ed friendland's book but it explains only tech. or walking lines.
  2. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    I think you should do a talkbass search, you'll cmoe up with a whole load of info :)
  3. the basic idea as I see it is to outline the changes in the song while keeping a strong rhythmic pulse...usually walking lines consist of notes of a scale that relate to the current chord played in quarter notes (four notes per measure in a 4/4 tune) ...that is very simply broken down
  4. You'll usually want to play the root of the chord each time the chord changes. Before each chord change, you want to approach it from a neighboring note. If you've got a quick change, then there may be no space for a note to lead in to the change. An example would be the II chord on beat one of some measure, then the IV on the second beat. No time for an approach without disrupting your walking rhythm. From there, it's up to you to fill in the gaps.
  5. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    unless you've got notes already written down for you to sightread, its gonna be all improv over the chord changes. usualy its all in quarter notes and you would play the root note of each chord at the begining of each chord change. after than you can play notes in the scale of the chord, but try to keep mainly 3rds and 5ths. when leading into the rootnote of the next chord try to have that to be the leadingnote into the next chord meaning, a semitone or a tone under the next root note. it's also ok to have it over the note if you are coming down into it. these rules arent very strict, you break them, they are just here to help. more like suggestions. feel free to do what ever you want.
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Jazz bass lines are generally improvised unless there is a written line - but even then, when it gets to solos, it's usually a case of making up your own line based on the chord changes and what you hear from the other players. So - it's very much about listening and providing sympathetic accompaniment to wherever the soloist is going....until it's your turn to solo of course! ;)

    Generally, that's a big yes! - unless you have good enough ears to be able to make up a line to whatever you hear instantaneously - no matter what is thrown at you!! Charts are a big help when you're starting out playing Jazz - - even later, a quick glance can clarify that you know what's going on....? ;)

    I like using a 5-string, as it is easier to transpose tunes and lines - but it could be a disadvantage as well - getting locked into patternss rather than thinking about notes - most Jazz is played on 4-string DB - so 90% (at least!) of Jazz you hear will be like this.

    I would say Ed Friedland's books are a good start for getting into Jazz - learn as much as you can from them about walking lines and it'll all serve you well, when you progress further - most Jazz is walking lines - but the concepts are useful anyway and apply to whatever you do.

    But - what else do you want?
  7. maxy


    Jun 24, 2004
    Yeah thanx. But one question.

    Should it be on the spot thingy. Like i can practice but in concert if somebody gives a new chart shud i be able to play it the 1st time i see it properly? It that what jazz bass is about? The idea frightens me.
  8. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    alot of pros will have gigs where they had just received the chart before the show and will not be able to practice it. but you have to be really good to be able to sightread something you've never practiced before perfectly, and even improv on it too.
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well - there's no way I'm a pro or anything like as good - but I was playing a Jazz gig last Saturday night and had several charts put in front of me (about 30!!) that I'd never seen before and had to make up bass lines on the spot - as well as playing solos on a few of the tunes.

    It's not that hard - a lot of Jazz tunes have similar chord changes - and the more you do it, the easier it gets. :)
  10. Vorago

    Vorago (((o)))

    Jul 17, 2003
    Antwerp, Belgium
    Well, since this is a thread about Walking Bass, and I didn't want to start yet another thread on this, I'll ask my question here...So, my teacher thought me the basics of Walking Bass, the problem is, I can't practice it! Is there a good book (but really a good one!) on this subject ? I also need some chords without a bassline, on which I can create my own...any suggestions? (I have already heard the suggestion about recording your own chords, but without decent recording material this is kinda hard..)
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well - that's what the Aebersold play-alongs with CDs are designed for! I also use a microcomposer, which allows me to programme in chord sequences and a drum track (really just a metronome) loop it and practice walking lines to my heart's content! :)
  12. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    get a fake book in C concert and Bass clef, and practice walking over the chord changes.
  13. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    This happens to amatures a great deal of time too. Not so much having to sight read, but creating your own line over chord changes.

    There have been many a gig where I was handed a set of charts before a gig and told to go to work.

    Being a professional really has little to do with it. Its all about how well you know your instrument and what it takes to create a bass line on the fly. (theory, chord recognition, etc)
  14. Slot


    Oct 17, 2003
    Sydney - The Shire
    Its not the sort of thing you can really learn on a forum, but a concept that might that help you get started is this;

    Use root notes for beat one

    Use a chord/scale tone or chromatic tone for beat two(one that sets up beat 3)

    Use the 5th for beat 3

    Then use a chord/scale tone or chromatic tone for beat 4(one that sets up beat one of the next bar)

    When you really get your **** down, jazz bass isnt structured as such. But a concept like the one above can help you get your fingers and brain moving in way similar to how a more experienced player would react when given previously unseen changes.

    Just remember that the main concept in jazz walking is thinking ahead. If you're only thinking about the next note, then you're stuffed. You have to be constantly thinking 'whats the smoothest hippest way i can get through these next two(three, four etc) bars'. Once you start thinking ahead, it suddenly turns easy.

    errr but if you dont understand chord scales and arpeggio's, maybe its best you delve into that stuff 1st. Otherwise its a bit like trying to run before you can walk
  15. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    hehehe, i just found that funny. more like trying to learn how to walk before you can stand! :D
  16. BenderR


    Jun 1, 2004
    Tucson, AZ
    Let me suggest this as a way of building the concept. Start with a piece of staff paper & write the changes above each measure. Next, put the root of each chord change as the first beat of each measure. The fourth note should be a leading tone to the next change and that can be a half step above or below. If you can't smoothly use a leading tone as described try to move into the next root using a fourth or even try a different chordal tone. There is no law that you absolutely have to start every measure on the root.

    If the changes are vertical (I, II, III, IV or the like) you may not be able to move gracefully between chords without a lot of half-step movement. Sometimes I find myself going back & forth over a pitch (G, F#, G, G#, A).

    Once you have the first and fourth notes of each measure figured out and written down, the notes that come between should become easier to derive. You might occasionaly have to play the same pitch two beats in a row to get the timing to come out. Sometimes you may see the need to bend the rules slighty. Walkng involves rhythm, shape and pitch. Sometimes in the name of shape you find yourself playing a note that might seem out of place theoretically. A good example would be a walkup from Am to Dm. If you used A, B, C, C#, D it can actually sound surprisingly good because the C# leads into the D and the whole thing has a nice shape to it.

    Probably the best rule comes from Duke Ellington, "if it sounds good it is good". Season to taste and serve at room temperature.
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    This reminded me of the Bonzo Dog Dooda Band tune :

    "Jazz, Delicious Hot, Disgusting Cold"