Specific Bass Line Help and Analysis Difficulty

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Cd627, Jan 4, 2015.

  1. Cd627


    Jan 4, 2015
    Hey folks, I've been on here on another name for years, lurking, but I lost the password to it.

    I've been trying to do a walking bass line analysis of Vince Guraldi's arrangement of "O Christmas Tree", as popularized on the Peanuts Christmas special. I've had general problems trying to analyze high register notes being played by acoustic bass. I'm not sure if it's a matter of slight tonal difference or what, but some notes seem like ghost notes that I can't figure out. It's hard to hear them even when you slow the speed way down (I use Audacity). This particular track has a fair amount of "higher up on the neck" stuff and I just can't understand all of the notes. Since it's a walking line, there is some chromatic motion going on so I can't just assume that diatonic logic will help me. Does anyone have any advice/software for figuring this stuff out? It's pretty frustrating.

    Song Reference:
  2. OK its jazz. That to me means chord tones; find a groove and stay out of the way of the melody instruments. Augment do not compete.
    That sends me to Google to find a chord chart. From that I develop a basic generic bass line that will flow and stay out of the way. As to walking, I use a chromatic note above or below the next root (R-3-5-X) and let that walk me into the next chord. Notice when the bass plays his solo its more melody, then when another instrument takes the lead he backs off into that chord tone walk.

    IOW.... I don't try for note for note. See if this helps. https://www.acousticmusicarchive.com/o-tannenbaum-chords-lyrics

    Yes you found a capo version - not a big deal. Take the C, F, G7 to Nashville numbers (C is 1, F is 4 and G7 is 5. That Am is 6) which gets the sheet music into the key of 1. Then using Nashville numbers play it in any key you like. Let's say you want it in D....

    Nashville #'s 1, 2,... 3,..... 4, 5, 6, ...7,........ 8
    Key of D.......D, Em, F#m, G, A, Bm, C#dim, D

    Your sheet music C's are now D's. The F's are now G's etc. Mark the old capo'ed version with the chords in the key of D.

    I don't try to go note for note; why not? For one thing my ear is not that good. So I find another way. Now this may be way out of your comfort zone, if so forget what I said.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2015
  3. Cd627


    Jan 4, 2015
    Malcolm -

    Thanks for the reply. I actually have sheet music for the song. I'm essentially trying to classify the approaches, per chord. The progression basically is

    1, 2, 3, 6, 2, 5, 1 (Twice) Then two 2, 5, 1 cycles (3, 6, 2, 2, 5, 1) and then the first part again.

    I'd like to be able to see it as

    Ascending (Scalar) Descending (Arpeggiated) Descending (Scalar) Ascending (Scalar) etc. There is a lot of chromatic going on. I've been trying to improve my walking jazz bass game. I have some pretty good guesses for what the notes SHOULD be or what COULD work but I guess it bothers me a little that I can't hear the exact ones.
  4. Some need to be exact, some don't. Keep doing what you are doing, it'll come together. For what it is worth - I dumb down all of Willie Nelson's songs. And I'm at ease with less is more.

    When I played just rhythm guitar the old guys told me to read a chord from left to right, i.e.
    D7b9 OK It's a D with a b7 and b9 note. Get the D first then worry with the b7 and if you can get the b9 fine, but, my first responsibility is the D.

    I'm sure today, on my bass, I'd get the D7 but the b9 would not make it. And I'm OK with that - and I understand that would drive you crazy.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2015
  5. Cd627, I can send you my transcription of the bass line. What a great tune.
  6. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    You can try to use software like the Amazing SlowDowner to keep the pitch but slow down the song enough that you
    can hear those notes more clearly, and then transcribe them.

    I personally find transcription very time consuming. I would rather invest the time in learning to improvise from the chord changes. I may transcribe small parts of others peoples' solos that really inspire me, but a note for note transcription isn't something I'd invest my time in.

    That's just me.