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Walking Bass first experiences

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by guillermo, Mar 3, 2005.


  1. guillermo

    guillermo

    Oct 1, 2004
    Hi:

    Yesterday I jammed with a guy who's learning jazz (like me) he plays piano.
    I think I realized the following:

    "As a bass player looking at the pianinst's chord chart I should try to play the standard, straight chord progression
    and only follow the painist's voicings, substitustions, alterations, rarely. It's good if I'm capable of 'rewinding' his chords back to what they were originally"

    I found that the moment I stoped trying to outline all
    the chords on his sheet (Bb Blues) and played the typical
    Bb blues progression without paying much attention and leting
    myself go, things sounded a million times better.

    I'm also of the opinion that for the Blues we should just play, it has to be felt, it has to sound cool and relaxed.

    I also have a little question, I found this on another thread:

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=159987

    at the bottom, on the reply by pete27408:

    "Like for swing music you probably wouldn't want to walk a line like a bebopper."

    Q: whats the difference between Swing and a bebop style walk ?

    Thanks in advance
    Guillermo
     
  2. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    I will give it a shot, though I am not a pro so proceed with caution. "Swing" can refer to a rhythmic quality of jazz but it can also refer to a specific style of music - "Swing Music". In other words, Bebop swings and Swing swings. But I will assume you are talking about "Bebop" versus "Swing Music"...

    The difference between these two in a larger and glossed over sense is that Bebop typically seems to be faster tempo, and with more non-chord note choices (flatted 5ths and 6ths, etc), not just in the base, but also in the solo instruments' phrasing. Swing Music seems a little more oriented towards chord notes, with non-chord notes being on the weak beat and usually used as transitions.

    John Goldsby's book about the history of Jazz Bass has some good info on this stuff.

    Anyone can correct me on this though, this stuff is still pleasantly out of my grasp (by pleasant I mean I've got a lot to work towards and won't ever be bored, just occasionally frustrated).
     
  3. A swing bassist walks like he is drunk. A bebop bassist walks like he is on heroin.
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    I AM JUST KIDDING, FOLKS!!!!!!!

    :ninja: :bag: :rollno:
     
  4. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Well, it's not just tempo. It is a deeper harmonic vocabulary, a "looser" rhythmic approach. In terms of function, I would say that the bass in swing is a more rhythmic instrument, in bop a more harmonic instrument.

    Guillermo - I would encourage you to find some middle ground. The thing many beginning jazz bassists seem to have a hard time grasping is this concept of note choice and propulsion. Think of your walking line as a quarter note melody that pushes the harmony forward. You can't just "...(play) the typical Bb blues progression without paying much attention and leting(sic) myself go...", you do have to LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN to what the other musicians are playing. It's just like a conversation, if you want to make any sense you have to listen to what the other people are saying and and respond based on what you hear and understand. If all you do is just talk with no regard for what anyone else is saying, you have no hope of making any sense.

    You don't just "outline" the chords, again think MELODY. You have to be able to hear what the progression is (from your playing) but you also have to push the harmony forward. Just arpeggiating nails it down; no forward momentum.
     
  5. Dave Speranza

    Dave Speranza Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    I found that the moment I stoped trying to outline all
    the chords on his sheet (Bb Blues) and played the typical
    Bb blues progression without paying much attention and leting
    myself go, things sounded a million times better.



    I'm gonna say this is most likely a result of your not "hearing" the subs and altered cadences he was playing. Not to say that you weren't physically hearing them or that you weren't recognizing that they weren't just I, IV, and V - just that you weren't hearing the chords properly in the context. If you dont have the sound of a change or cadence in your mind's ear, your walking line will not sound so great.

    The reason why it sounded better when you went back to the basic progression was that you were hearing those changes in your head, so your lines made sense to you and the listener.
     
  6. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    That's kind of like giving somebody a book with a bunch of words in Farsi in it and asking them to write poetry. A walking line is a musical response to your immediate musical environment AND your internal conception of the tune being played. You're having a CONVERSATION with the other players, within the framework of the harmony. Not carrying around littel index cards with sentences written on them that you read whenever somebody else stops talking and looks at you expectantly.
     
  7. proximityeffect

    proximityeffect

    May 17, 2005
    Southeast
    Well, you can't speak Farsi unless you learn the modern persian alphabet. The purpose of the link was just was to give G. a practice tool for walking bebop bass lines. Where did I infer that he should carry "around littel index cards with sentences written on them that you read whenever somebody else stops talking and looks at you expectantly"?
     
  8. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I don't know where you inferred it, but you implied it in the link you provided. That's just a bunch of phrases with chord symbols above them. So you got an Eb7, here's 4 different phrases you can use.

    And yes, you can speak Farsi without learning the modern persian alphabet, just like you can learn to speak English without learning to read or write it until you are 3-6 years old. But over and above that, the point is playing a walking line is not about plugging things in, it's about hearing notes in context.


    Oh, and where in the Southeast? I know a buncha folks around GA and SC...oh and some in NC.