Please Give Me Some Tips About Walking Over Sus Chords and Some Bass Lines I Can Transcribe

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by doran.dragic, Jun 21, 2019.

  1. doran.dragic


    Jul 2, 2014
    Hi guys,

    I am having difficulties walking over sus7 chords.

    I understand that I basically need to see F7sus as C minor 7 over F, but I feel like this approach forces me to play more chordal and I'd like to be able to play more scalar sounding lines.

    If I try to play scalar it tends to sound too bluesy. Do the chromatic approach notes work over sus chords? I sometimes feel they're often giving me the colour I don't associate with sus sound.

    Then there's the confusion about the function of the 3rd - after my initial research some say I should avoid it and some say that it shouldn't be played on 1 and 3.

    Can you please recommend me some songs with good sus bass lines, if possible over longer periods of time (4 bars, 8 bars etc.).

  2. Jay Corwin

    Jay Corwin Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    I'm not going to pretend to be a scholar of theory here, but when I'm in doubt I stick with the chord tones. and chromatic transitions if I need.

    I had the same problem about two years ago on a record. this method got me by. I'm sure there are better, and more technical answers though.
  3. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Gold Supporting Member

    Yes - Cmin7 being C, D, Eb, F, G, A, Bb, C. This collection of notes are all supportive of, and consonant within, F7sus...while walking or soloing.
    Nope. The Maj 3rd (A natural) on an F7sus chord is fine, esp. while walking. (I would avoid the Min 3rd - Ab - like the plague.)
    Good Luck and Thanks.
    Febs, vilshofen, Joshua and 3 others like this.
  4. Another approaches is thinking Intervals. Each interval has a colour or a sound. P4th, then P5th, unison, octave, m3rd down, M7th up, m2, etc.

    It’s a simple way to get yourself to think outside the box when you find yourself in a rut overthinking/overplaying scales or chord tones or chromatic runs. Sounds best when mixed in with other approaches. It’s something I picked when transcribing Ron Carter walking lines.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
  5. notabene


    Sep 20, 2010
    SF Bay area
    Is the suspension free standing (a chord color), or a tension resolving to the major. Function may determine treatment.
    craigie and mtto like this.
  6. doran.dragic


    Jul 2, 2014
    Free standing, like in Maiden Voyage.

    Also thanks everyone for their input so far. Does anybody have transcription suggestions? So far I was able to find McCoy Tyner' Passion Dance which features sus chords over more bars.
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Agree with @Don Kasper and @Groove Doctor above. Ron Carter plays the major 3rd under sus chords all the time on records, and soloists play the major 3rd often while soloing over them. In my experience, sus chords are a harmonic color directing the comping instrument to substitute the 4th for the 3rd, but not a suggestion that everyone else needs to treat the underlying harmony differently.

    Not a walking line, but here's Ron Carter playing on a blues with all sus chords. He plays thirds all over the place, and they sound great.

    Listening to what the giants of the past have done is a good start, but I would also suggest either playing with others over sus progressions (best case) or playing with play along tracks (next best) featuring them and simply noting how that color makes you feel you want to adjust your lines (or not) in the aural sense without worrying about what is the "right" thing to do.
  8. Silevesq


    Oct 2, 2010
    Lot's of good comment here!

    I might add just a little, while I agree with avoid the minor 3rd like the plague. I'd prefer to tell you to be very conscious about what is the role of the chord in the piece. In some context, bad chart, the sus chord may actually not be that and be something else. Therefor you could actually use the minor 3rd. This mean unless it is a bad chart and you can analyse and explain why, don't go there. But I feel like I am going off track here.

    Just be careful, and also when when playing the major third what is its fonction in the line you are playing. This relate to your confusion about never, never on 1 & 3... If you are playing the major third but its fonction is also a chromatic approach to the fourth then it changes everything. But if you play the fourth as a chromatic approach to the third it will feel different. Does that make sense? Try it and if possible transcribe example for one bar, two, and even four bar if you can.

    In the worst case avoid it until you hear it or find other way around it. Actually I'd love to hear some of you play on a sus chord or example of line you play. Let's share!
  9. lurk

    lurk Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2009
    15615537931407335715037750173539.jpg 15615537931407335715037750173539.jpg
    I dunno. I'm not a theory whiz, but I'm trying to learn Ron Carter's line on Dolphin Dance, and here's what I got on Freddie's 1st chorus on the part with all the F pedals on the head:
    Those Ab's on strong beats sound pretty good to me. So does the B on the downbeat, for that matter.
    doran.dragic likes this.
  10. lurk

    lurk Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2009
    Sorry posting the same pic twice. I'm a bit of a Luddite
  11. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Gold Supporting Member

    Hi lurk,
    Here is what I hear RC playing at that spot in the first chorus of Freddie's solo ; @1:51 in the YT below.(Yeah... he hits "1" unvarnished Ab.)

    doran.dragic likes this.
  12. vilshofen


    Dec 27, 2007
    Doran probably the mother of all sus tunes, absolutely bristling with them, at 100 mph. Check the "Recordings" forum for Prof. Kasper's magisterial chart - the correct, non-Real-Book one. (Oct. 10, 2014.)
    doran.dragic likes this.
  13. I think that playing the 3rd resolves the sus feeling too much. A sus chord sounds a bit uncomfortable, following your ear will push you toward resolving it. I would stop trying to convert it into other chords and focus on root and 4 with chromatic passing tones, let it feel like a sus chord, or just play a tune without sus chords.
    Just because something seems to "work" because it sounds right doesn't mean it is.
    If you do want to push the major third let things sit before and after without it.
    Dabndug likes this.
  14. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Gold Supporting Member

    Funniest Thing Seen on the Internet Today.
    So far.
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  15. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Gold Supporting Member

    None of the (..."uncomfortable" ???) Sus chords in Maiden Voyage resolve or need to resolve.
    Just sayin', just followin' my ear(z).
    Dabndug, damonsmith and lurk like this.
  16. I'd say that you are not asking for advice, and that I would imagine you can hear those chords for what they are.

    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
  17. Triad Pairs! F7sus = F major triad and Eb major triad.