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Walking Bass Question

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by BigLob, Aug 18, 2003.


  1. BigLob

    BigLob

    Aug 13, 2003
    Dallas, Texas
    I've been playing the SB for about 4 years, but only in school orchestra, and only the classical music they give us. I've had little experiance with bassing aside from occsional glances at this site, and recently when I decided to try out for my high school jazz band. The audition music is the key of Bb Major, fairly easy, but it has a section for walking bass with only note markings like D7, G7, ect. I know what notes these mean, but im pretty much clueless on how to make a walking bass line. I can use any and all help you guys got on how to do this.
     
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    BIGBLOB,

    Welcome to TB! You should find a lot of good beginning walking bass info here:

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=88294

    Check out some of the DB theory links, and report back when you have further questions.




    Edit: edited for spelling. Typing with one hand while holding a squirming 9-month-old is not as easy as I thought it would be...
     
  3. BigLob

    BigLob

    Aug 13, 2003
    Dallas, Texas
    Thanks for the links, i feel like i understand it a whole lot better. However, I'm still in the dark on how to write a walking bass line.
     
  4. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"


    The threads here -- and Chris' outstanding work compiling and maintaining the Newbie Links -- are not a substitute for a teacher and a band. The bass teacher helps you not to reinvent the wheel each time you practice. The band helps you to reinvent the wheel, from scratch, each time you play.

    See, that's the fun part. You don't write one; you take that chart and invent a bass-line on the spot. It's (paradoxically) neither as easy nor as hard as it sounds.

    Edited: Jeez, I sound like I've had one too many! Lemme try again: Listen hard, ask questions, take chances, have fun. If you can do that, you'll improve your orchestra playing and be welcome in the jazz band too. Go get 'em.
     
  5. BigLob

    BigLob

    Aug 13, 2003
    Dallas, Texas
    Alright, thanks a lot. Do you guys have any recommendations on songs i should listen to so i know what its supposed to sound like? (I do realize that is going to be different for each song, but im still not exacaly sure what im supposed to think up.) and another n00btastic question; how does the line corrolate to the song? do you just use the key, or does the resemble the feel of the song?
     
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    An easier way to go about this would be for you to post the chord changes to the songs in which you are supposed to create lines. Then, people could offer specific suggestions about line construction rather than guess how to approach a very broad question such as this one.
     
  7. BigLob

    BigLob

    Aug 13, 2003
    Dallas, Texas
    Haha, that would probably make it easyer. The piece i gotta play for the audition has a few lines of music, then says "Walk or Solo Ad Lib" with the following markings; "D7", "G7", "C7", and "F7", with a few measures inbetween each.
     
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    It's also helpful to know exactly how many measures each chord lasts in order to build a line.
     
  9. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Awright. The chords you have quoted are a "cycle of fifths". They are also the "bridge" to Bb "Rhythm Changes." Do a search around here or elsewhere to be clear about exactly what each of those quoted terms means.

    Here's a recent thread about rhythm changes with a lick over those chords: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?threadid=96289 I point you to it with some trepidation. Here's why:

    a) I'm worried that you will learn the lick without guidance toward understanding the music-theory and jazz-practice which supports it. Phrased otherwise, I'm concerned that you'll cut-and-paste the noise somewhere without really getting it. Find a teacher. We're all really nice here (except when we aren't) but find a teacher.

    b) That lick is a bit unusual, with wide jumps. It might work well as a contrast after you've been chugging along for five minutes while the pianist solos. I would not usually think of using it for my very first chorus.

    There's not "one right answer" here. You're taking the first steps down a path with many destinations. So again, 'Listen up, have fun, ask questions, listen up!'
     
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Most of the time in Jazz and I'm certain it is the case here - you are playing 4 notes to the bar. So each bar has a chord allocated to it.

    Choose notes from the chord on beats 1 and 3 of the bar - root of the chord is always good for 1, especially when changing chords.

    On beats 2 and 4 you fill in with other notes to (hopefully) make a smooth line that doesn't jump all over the place.

    So - you could choose more notes from the chord or from a scale that fits, or chromatic passing notes, that lead up or down to the next chord/note.

    As Samuel says, it is basically very easy in theory - but practically, quite hard to do convincingly - a paradox! The more you know about how scales and chords relate as well as functional hatrmony, the better the lines you can create!

    There are no short cuts to this - unfortunately!!! ;)
     
  11. BigLob

    BigLob

    Aug 13, 2003
    Dallas, Texas
    Thanks a lot guys, this was a big help. Wish me luck at auditions!
     
  12. Hey, Big Lobster

    Quote: "The audition music is the key of Bb Major, fairly easy, but it has a section for walking bass with only note markings like D7, G7"

    Quote#2:"The piece i gotta play for the audition has a few lines of music, then says "Walk or Solo Ad Lib" with the following markings; "D7", "G7", "C7", and "F7", with a few measures inbetween each"

    So, smells like Your audition piece is a "rhythm changes" written in Bb. You can listen standard jazz songs which follow this format. It´s one of the most common chord progressions of a jazz standard and could be found anywhere. Do You have an access to any supply of jazz recordings?
    In that case we could help You by providing a list of rhythm changes songs.

    R2

    a theory link:
    http://www.outsideshore.com/primer/primer/
     
  13. olivier

    olivier

    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    We know the feeling. During my first audition with the big band, I resorted to a written walking bass line for the intro of "C Jam Blues"... I was rather ashamed and I didn't want the rest of the band to know ! In fact nobody cares what's written or not, as long as it's swinging.