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Todd Johnson Walking Bass Line Analysis

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by MarkM13, Aug 4, 2017.

  1. MarkM13

    MarkM13 Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2015
    CT - USA

    I've been working on developing my walking skills. After hearing Todd play and listening to a couple of interviews, I purchased several of his books including "Walking Bass Modules" which has been a great start. Shortly after I found a transcription of "All The Things You Are" he posted in his forum here.

    I decided to analyze it and see how it compared to the modules in the book. What I discovered really helped me quite a bit. Turns out the entire sample line is comprised of three patterns or modules.
    For example:
    • Measures 1 & 2 use the scale fragment 1st 2nd 3rd (scale degrees) followed by a chromatic approach tone.
    • Measures 3 & 5 use the descending scale fragment 1 7 6 5
    • Measures 4, 7,8, 11 use arpeggios
    Every measure follows one of the patterns or a slight variation. In the attached file,I color coded the measures just to demonstrate the reoccurrence of each pattern. While this is Theory 101 analysis, combining it with the modules from the book has been a break through moment.

    Thought I would post it here for anyone working on their waling lines.
    FWIW, I wasn't comfortable just posting someone else's work so I got Todd's permission first.
    He was more than happy to have his line and my analysis shared.

    Attached Files:

    bholder and MalcolmAmos like this.
  2. Thanks for posting. I'm interested in what triggers certain bass line patterns, Be interesting to see what led to the different patterns. I'll see if I can come up with "a pattern of choice" between major, minor, A, B, C's, etc.

    Later... it's later...

    Green is mostly minor, red is mostly major.
    Green is mostly 1-7-6-5
    Red is mostly 1s, 3's, 5's and 7's

    Looks like - see minor and 1-7-6-5 is the go to bass line.
    Looks like - see major and the natural 3 comes into the bass line along with the root and the 5. Nothing remarkable about that, however, I do like the use of the 7-6 with no b3 in the minor chords.

    I also like the use of both natural and flatted/sharped notes in the same bass line, i.e. 1-3-5-#3. A sharped 3 is just a 4. Interesting.... Will give that flatted/sharped a try. Have to go back and see if that is a leading note.

    Interesting to see what others come up with...
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
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