1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Walking bass lines resources?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Zerozeddy, Feb 23, 2005.

  1. Does anyone know any good websites (or books) that can teach a basic understanding of walking bass? My approach of playing random chromatic things ain't really acceptable...
  2. Why not? ;) ;) ;)
  3. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Uh, I dunno...
    There's more to walkin' than random chromatic lines?

    Someone long ago posted a link to Adam Nitti's site; IIRC, there was a "Walking Bass" primer. IIRC, it was a pretty decent introduction.

    As far as books go-
    Jamey Abersold

    Ed Friedland's "Walking Bass" books

    Mike Richmond's "Walking" book, etc
  4. Oo, good stuff thanks, I'll check those out.

    Just had an associated thought: what would be really, really useful would be downloadable drum/git or drum/piano accompaniment and their associated chord charts.

    Anything to avoid actually doing any work/practice etc.
  5. I *think* I'm right in saying that the Aebersold books come with CDs with piano/drums/bass split between the two channels so you can "drop out" either the keys or the bass and play along. Damn useful IMHO

    :D :D
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well, I think this is the big thing about walking bass lines - you have to do the work and there are no short cuts really.

    The more time and effort you put in, the better you get and it really shows...:meh:

    So you can tell who has got the experience and how much time they've put in - by how well they construct their lines.

    So - the "greats" of Jazz DB can play a line that sounds melodic, makes perfect sense, tells you where the harmony is going, always holds your interest and which swings!!

    Whereas - those who haven't put the time in - usually just sound random!! ;)

    So - there is a lot of work to do - so you need to know all the chord tones available to you in any situation - plus any scalar or chromatic passing tones that will make sense - then you need to resolve chord changes etc. etc.

    It's a lifetime's work - and without putting in the work you'll never do it!!
  7. Yep, the harder you work the luckier you get. ;) ;)
  8. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Abersold puts out transcription books of what players like Paul Chambers played on their "play-Along" series.

    Ed Friedland has a great book called "Building Walking Bass Lines" that I use with my students.

    There are others, but I am familiar with these and like them.
  9. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    It's a program, called Band-in-a-Box.

    It's the ultimate practice tool, and it's exactly what you're looking for.
  10. +1

    However, what's needed is some resource material on how to construct lines around basic chordal changes and harmonies. Then our practice would be focused vice "Random-until-we-figure-it-out"

    That is, I believe, what the original question was asking. I find it hard that so many say, "work hard" and then expect someone to just "figure it out" on their own.
  11. Kurisu


    Nov 19, 2003
    Saskatoon SK
  12. Dynna


    Oct 23, 2004
    The best thing I ever did for my walking & bass playing was to get Gary Willis' book "Fingerboard Harmony for Bass".

    The gist of it goes as such(but get the book too, if you can)....

    First, I'll assume you play a 4 string so the examples I give will be numbered/noted that way.

    1. Starting on the low F note (1st fret low E), play a Dmin7 arpeggio(D-F-A-C) all the way across the neck using only fretted notes and no open strings, and then back down. STAY IN ONE POSITION(don't move up the neck). The highest note you will play is C (5th fret G string).
    2. MEMORIZE the SHAPE. Do this however you need to. Take it in sections, and memorize triangles or squares, whatever you need to REMEMBER the shape.
    3. Then play a G7(G-B-D-C) arpeggio starting on the same low F, across the neck(only fretted notes) and then back down. The highest note you will play here is the B(4th fret G string). MEMORIZE the SHAPE.
    Once you are comfortable with the shapes, and can play them at a good speed....
    4. Play a Dmin7 arp(off of the low F) to the high C note. SWITCH chords, and play a G7 going back down(starting on the high C) to the low F.
    5. Once that's comfy, switch the order and play the G7 UP, and Dmin7 DOWN.

    Here's where things get cool...

    6. Start on the low F note. Play FOUR notes of the Dmin7 arp going up. Then SWITCH to the G7 arp, and continue going UP. You will hit the high B note on the 3rd note. Start going back down by hitting the G note. Then switch back to 4 notes of the Dmin7. Continue to alternate the Dmin7 & G7 arpeggios, 4 notes at a time, going as high AND low as you can before changing directions.
    You will notice that certain LOOPS start to show up, where you will repeat the same shape patterns. In that case, start the exercise on the A note(5th fret low E) and go up, followed by the C(3rd fr A), and then the D(5th fr A).
    7. Once THAT is feeling pretty good, then you will substitute every 4th chord tone(Dm7 OR G7), with a PASSING tone. This will be a note that is NOT part of the Dmin7 OR G7, but LEADS YOU into the NEXT chord tone of the chord that you are changing to.

    Chord: Dmin7 pass G7 pass Dm7 pass G7 .....
    Notes: F - A - C - C# - D - F - G - Ab - A - C - A - G# - G - F - D...

    Three things to note here...

    ONE- When you play these chords "in position" you should ALWAYS play the low G note with your middle finger, which also means anything on the 5th fret is played by your pinky. ust play ONE FINGER PER FRET.
    TWO- When you play the Ab or the G# you should always PULL any notes outside of the "one finger per fret" rule back into the 4 fret area. When you play the Ab note going UP, reach with your first finger to the 1st fret on the G string and then PULL it back onto the A note. Like wise, when you go down to the G note from the G#, reach with your 4 finger to the 6th fret on the D string, and pull the G# back to the G note on the 5th fret.
    THREE- Anytime that run into a situation where the next chord's chord tone is more than a whole tone away (G7's D going UP to Dm7's F) then your note choice HAS to come from the key of C. Dm7 and G7 are derived from the key of C. You passing tone in this case would be E.

    8. Now that running passing tones on the fourth chord tone is comfortable, start inserting passing tones on the second AND fourth chord tones. Continue to go up and down across the neck as far as you can before changing directions. Here's an example of the notes(and sounds) that you are looking for when you substitute passing tones on the 2nd and 4th chord tones.

    Chord: D p D p G p G p D p D p G p G p D.....
    Notes: F - G - A - Bb - B - C - D - E - F - G - A - A# - B - A - G - F# - F.....

    If there is any way that you can play along with the Dmin7 & G7 chords while you do this, it will make for a substantially shorter assimilation time. Get someone with a piano or sequencer to record 5 minutes of four counts of Dm7 then G7 then Dm7, and so on. Get them to do it at a speed that you will be comfortable with.

    If there was ONE thing that doing this series of exercises did for me, it opened my ears to note choices that I had never considered. I found myself instinctively throwing passing tones into places that I previously never would have imagined. And I didn't even have to think about it. They just came out. I also got to see the fretboard in a way I never had before. I understood it, and struggled WAY less with finding different note choices when I started repeating what I'd done before.

    I hope this helps, and please let me know if you have any questions. Make sure you understand all the steps previous before you move on to the next.
  13. From the "Blanket Scale" thread Kurisu recommended:

    "Define the basic tonality that is happening during each harmonic or tonal "area", and assign a single "blanket scale" to cover the entirety of that area.


    Ex. "All The Things You Are" first 8 bars:

    F- Bb- Eb7 AbMa DbMa D- G7 CMa


    If you are thinking of playing motivic shapes within a blanket scale, you only have to think of playing out of Ab major for the first 5 bars, and C major for the last three."​

    "Only" have to think of?!!! I really don't get how Ab major is the tonal base of those first 5 chords (and then changes). Trial and error till you find a scale that vaguely works?
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well you weren't follwing the debate and so have missed my point!! :meh:

    So I wasn't addressing the original post - I was replying to the comment : "Anything to avoid actually doing any work/practice etc."

    That was why I quoted it in my post - that's how this whole "discussion" thing works.... :eyebrow:
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    No - functional analysis of the chords - that is - what function is each fulfilling in the sequence.

    You know that 7 chords are the V (5) chord of a major scale - so the Eb7 must be functioning as a V - so the sequence here starts VI-II-V-I - a very common sequence which you come to recognise straight away, after time!

    So - the Ab Maj is the I chord and hence the key for all that part - easy! :)
  16. My problem with this book is the speed that you are expected to play. On about page three, Gary gives all the note positions for all the arpegios of all the scale tones, across the fretboard, and tells you to learn them all - so far so good. His definition of being able to play them is 240 bpm - 4 notes a second. I haven't got past that page yet.
  17. Dynna


    Oct 23, 2004

    Then the thing to do is to record yourself playing the chords sequnces he gives you for yourself at a speed you CAN play.

    Truth be told, I didn't use the CD. I maybe should have, or should now, but at the time I played through the series of changes he lays out with just my bass.

    It's not about the speed. It's about the notes.
  18. Dynna


    Oct 23, 2004
    In the key of Ab, using ONLY the notes from Ab, you derive Fm-Bbm-Eb7-Abmaj7-Dbmaj7. You can play this sequnce by using the note from the Ab major scale. The chords sequence Dm-G7-Cmaj7 uses notes from the C major scale.

    If you know your Ab scale, you can play that first chord sequence in ONE position(using your middle finger on the 4th fret of the E string as the Ab reference point). You don't even have to reach beyond one note per fret. Then you just shift your position to the middle finger on the third fret of the A string(technically you're going to play the D note on the 5th fret on the A string, but the C major scale starts with your middle on the 3rd).

    The Willis bbok teaches you how to determine which key sections of a song are in. Then it teaches you how to memorize tunes like All the Things You Are using key centers as your guide. And for that tune, it becomes WAY easier. Oh yeah, and he teaches you how to play those changes(sort of the point of the book).
  19. Ari


    Dec 6, 2001
    I second that recommandation - this Willis book is excellent, period!

    I'm far from being able to pull out nice walking bass lines yet, but this book has helped me a lot in improving my walking skills.

    Basically what Willis teaches you is being able to visualise the harmony on the fingerboard, no matter where you are and what the changes are.

    Before studying this book, I knew my arpeggios only in one octave and one position, for example Cmin7 starting with the first finger on C. If then the harmony changed to Amin7 I had to move my first finger on the A to visualise the new chord. This gets boring cause you generally play the root on beat 1, and you miss the passing tones that indicate the change of the harmony.

    If you do thoroughly the exercises in the book (of course it takes time and effort) after a while you should be able to start any arpeggio starting with any finger, from the lowest to the highest note available under one position (6 frets area)
  20. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    But you're not answering the question asked!!

    So he asked how you worked out that it was all in the key of Ab from just seeing those chords - and I have already given the answer above, a while ago - in that you analyse the function of the chords.

    Dominant 7ths are always V chords in a major scale - so you know the Eb is the V and then you can infer all the others from that!