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Skips in a walking bass line

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by chardin, Aug 26, 2003.

  1. chardin


    Sep 18, 2000
    My walking bass lines have 4 quarter notes to the bar (in 4/4 of course). Sometimes I hear bass players throw in 16th or 8th notes; I guess for rhythmic interest. I've been listening to Tyrone Wheeler's bass lines on Jamey Aebersold's "Maiden Voyage" play along. He throws in lots of "skips" into his bass lines.

    What note(s) should be used for the skip? Tyrone seems to use mostly open strings and the skip is more of a ghost note than anything else. What other choices are there? Should a skip always be a ghost note?

    Some players seem to do this more than others. On Jamey Aebersold's "Volume 1", Rufus Reid doesn't play hardly any at all. Is it OK to just play 4 quarter notes? What is the etiquette? When is it too much?
  2. Seppie


    Aug 14, 2002
    Austria, Vienna
    i think it gives character to the piece...some live and spice...
    but to much of this "skips" played in the false moments can ruin the swing/groove feeling...
    so it is mostly a personal thing...when and what...
    when i play such "skips" i play them mostly as dead notes or play some note (mostly a character tone) from my line doubled to give it more emphasis....

    gruesze sebastian
  3. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    Mike Richmond's "Modern Walking Bass Technique" is a good reference and practice book for this kind of stuff. Be carefull though not to hide a tendencie to have fluctuating tempo by throwing skips and gosts. Practicing quarter notes at various tempi and tonalities is not futile. (Foghorn would have stated that with more wit, but you get the idea.)
  4. chardin


    Sep 18, 2000
    Thank you Mr. Goodbar for the link. I tried doing a search but if you don't know what key words to use, you're out of luck! :)
  5. I can't tell you exactly how often to use a device; but it is my experience that when players discover a device there's a tendency to overuse it. I'm speaking of myself at a younger age when I say that. Just do it, and stay aware of how other musicians react.