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Walking Bass / Hills and Valleys

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by chardin, Jun 2, 2003.


  1. chardin

    chardin

    Sep 18, 2000
    A jazz walking bass line has "hills and valleys" as the line goes up and down the neck. In your experience, how many beats should a "hill" go for before going down to a valley? 2 bars? 4 bars? Do whatever you want?
     
  2. JazZ-A-LoT

    JazZ-A-LoT

    Jan 5, 2003
    Sometimes I sit on the hill for a while sometimes not at all some times both, just dont go up and down too much.
     
  3. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    7 and a half bars.
     
  4. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    I personally like big long hills but be careful that you don't under-emphasize the chord tones when you do this. Sometimes i find when a bassist tries to make a big "hill" they play all that notes in a scale and the chord progression isn't as obvious. If that makes sense.
     
  5. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    another technique i use in my basslines is to go up a little bit and then come down like half or a quarter of the way i went up and then go back up higher.
     
  6. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Sounds like you'd need a couple extra strings on your bass to do that comfortably ;)
     
  7. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida
    Is that a technically correct answer or just how you do it?

    Im asking because I thought Jazz was predominatly improv and you could stay up in the hills and down in the valleys as long as you wanted as long as the line still moved.
     
  8. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    It really depends on what is going on in the moment and what chord you are going to next.

    For example, if it's the middle of a horn solo, you might want to keep things simple (ie, not too many hills and valleys; keep the terrain a bit flatter for the moment) so as not to step on any toes.
     
  9. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I'm sorry, I guess I was feeling squirley that day.

    You're right, of course - it's totally up to the 'moment'. Often times, I try to balance the soloist. If they play high, I'll play low, and vice versa. Other times I might match them, register for register. I try to totally react to what the soloist is doing.

    If you have a map for your walking line before you start, you won't be listening to what's happening at the moment. And then you're just not being honest.
     
  10. ...and when they were up, they were up,
    and when they were down, they were down,
    and when they were only halfway up -
    they were neither up nor down...

    :meh:

    - Wil
     
  11. ConU

    ConU

    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    Forward motion,a line that propels the music.Rhythmic inventiveness.The bass must clearly anchor the harmonic structure with keen focus.