Taking your Bass for a Walk

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by rarbass, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. rarbass


    Jul 3, 2008
    How do you start when writing a walking bass line? I know this has probably been asked before, but I'm really interested in starting to write jazzy, walking bass lines, and I don't know what path to follow, or what I need to know and use...any help would be appreciated.
  2. Marcury

    Marcury High and Low

    Aug 19, 2007
    Mid Hudson Valley, NY
    To start out: chord tones on beats 1 and 3 on 2 and 4 chord tones or notes that lead to chord tones by 1/2 or whole step. The notes on beat 4 should move directly to the next chord tone on 1.
  3. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    As he said above + think linnear. A walking line is about maintaining rythm and making it work harmonically on the strong beats. There's both much freedom and much discipline involved. It really helps to know your chords well so you can become comfortable hitting different tensions that work.
  4. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    A good book on this subject is "Building Walking Basslines" by Ed Friedland.
  5. fretlessman71

    fretlessman71 Still beats havin' a job Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2005
    FoCo, NoCo
  6. dabear


    Mar 13, 2007
    Another very important way for me is to make a counterpoint to the melody. Sing the melody and lay a walkingbass under it that supports. When you accompany a solo, you can extend the harmonics and inspire the solist.
  7. rarbass


    Jul 3, 2008
    Oh good, I have that book :) but it's hard sometimes to sit down and read from a book when many players can just improv these amazing walking bass lines. I guess I'm trying to move too fast again.

    I will take all of the advice here and hopefully be able to get something written. Thanks!

    PS - I was afraid someone would say I need to know chords...is there any simple way to learn chords? Not trying to sound lazy, but if there's a simple way to effectively learn chords, why not?
  8. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH

    If you have access to piano, that will help immensely. I don't know of any shortcuts, short of learning how chords are constructed.
  9. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006

    Well, you have to crawl before you can walk. ;) These players you mention had to go through the same process too I'm sure.

    Slow down........... enjoy the learning process. :)
  10. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

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


    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    First, buy Ed Fuqua's book. :)

    I highly recommend transcribing (or, better yet, commiting to memory) recorded basslines of folks like Ray Brown, Ron Carter and Paul Chambers. These guys are masters at improvising basslines. Keep in mind, however, that improvising basslines like the masters requires a good knowledge of harmony. More specifically, these guys can *hear* the harmony inside and out. No shortcuts here.
  12. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Ray Brown's bass method book is also an excellent resource.
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