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Walking Bass Lines

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Youngspanion, May 17, 2011.


  1. Youngspanion

    Youngspanion Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2003
    Staten Island, NY
    I got invited to a jam this week and the keyboardist asked me if I know walking bass lines. I don't. So I turned to my book "The Bass Player Book" by Backbeat Books. In there on page 92 is a section on walking bass techniques. The first example is a four bar walking bass line over the chords C7-Em7-A7-Dm7-G7. The Em7 and the A7 are both in the second bar and have two beats each.

    Heres what I don't understand. The Em7 uses E-Bb. Thats a diminished note. The Bb is. I don't understand why that is used. Also for the A7 they use an A-Eb. That also is a diminished 5th. Can that work? I thought one would use the notes that make up the Em7 chord and the notes from the A7 chord.
    Help?
     
  2. devine

    devine

    Aug 22, 2006
    Owner: Scott's Bass Lessons
    Hey man,

    The Bb on the Em7 chord is just a chromatic passing note leading to the A7. Exactly the same for the A7... the Eb note is just a chromatic passing tone going to the Dm7.

    For instance if we had this chord sequence...
    C Am7 |Dm7 G7 |C ||
    Using chromatic passing tones we could play a bass line like this...
    C (Bb) A (Eb)|D (Ab) G (Db) |C ||

    Hope that helps.

    I've also done a couple of tutorials you could check out here...
    Part 1 - YouTube - Walking bass Lesson Pt1 (CRASH COURSE!) with Scott Devine
    Part 2 - YouTube - Walking Bass Lesson Pt2 (CRASH COURSE) with Scott Devine

    Cheers man,

    Scott.


    Free Online Bass Lessons - Scott's Bass Lessons
    SCOTT DEVINE-BASS PLAYER-COMPOSER-EDUCATOR
     
  3. Youngspanion

    Youngspanion Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2003
    Staten Island, NY
    Thanks Devine. I'm in the middle of your tutorial now.
    Pt. 1.
     
  4. Youngspanion

    Youngspanion Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2003
    Staten Island, NY
    So I see how the Chromatic above the next chord works here. In the last bar of G7, before it turns back to the C7, it ends on the B. Chromatic Below the next chord. Very interesting. Now to understand enough and be able to improvise on the jam. I'm gonna dig around your web site and see what else you advise.
    Thank you for a very good lesson.
     
  5. The Bb is also implying a substitute chord
    You're also likely to see an E-7b5 (or E half diminished) in that context - it's aiming for the D- along with the A7
    You can find the chords within the appropriate harmonic minor scale:
    D E F G A Bb C# D
    E G Bb D
    E G A C#
    D F A (C)D
     
  6. Youngspanion

    Youngspanion Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2003
    Staten Island, NY
    You just confused me. LOL. What do you mean "substitute chord?"
     
  7. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Dallas
    a tri-tone or "flat five " chord substitution is common in Jazz.
    I works like this:
    find V-I type of chord change, like A7 - Dm7.
    Repalce the V chord with the Dom7 chord built on the b5 of the Root:
    A7-Dm7 becomes Eb7-Dm7

    why it works:
    A7 = A C# E G . the 3rd & 7th are C# and G
    Eb7 = Eb G Bb Db. The 3rd & 7th are G and Db(C#)

    since both chords share the 3rd and 7th tones (tho their places switch),
    the "sound" of a V-I cadence is preserved.
    Plus the bass note now move chromatically to the I chord
    (Eb->D)
     
  8. devine

    devine

    Aug 22, 2006
    Owner: Scott's Bass Lessons
  9. Youngspanion

    Youngspanion Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2003
    Staten Island, NY
    Thats the way to go Scott. Thanks.
     
  10. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
  11. True, but not quite what I was talking about
    The Bb is suggesting the use of an Eb-7b5 chord instead of just an Eb-7
    They serve the same purpose (resolving to the A7) but the b5 has a different personality about it
    Definitely not something you need to think about playing while you're still starting out walking, but definitely something you would want to be able to understand in analysis

    +1
     

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