Walking Bass rhythmic variations?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by jrklmx(Andrew), Jul 28, 2009.

  1. jrklmx(Andrew)


    Mar 31, 2009
    What are some good examples of walking bass that uses more then just quarter notes?
    I've been playing blues bass and usually do
    1 2 3 tri-pa-let.

    How do you make your bass playing more rhythmically interesting (besides following the written out bass lines/unison riffs)

    What are some of the best spots to insert some rhythm without losing count?
    1 2 3& 4?
    Tri-pa-let 2 3 4?

    Examples please!
  2. onlyclave


    Oct 28, 2005
    Ray Brown, Milt Hinton
  3. Rav


    Dec 29, 2004
    Aurora, IL
    There are a million different variations.

    Lets say for instance your going to walk chromatically up to the next root note. And you already know what 4 notes your going to play if you were just playing quarters.

    Well instead of quarters try playing the same 4 notes but lay the one way way back. Start it on time and let it linger almost like your going to let it ring as a whole note. Then in the last beat or beat + 1/2 play the 2,3,4 walk into the root. Gives a laid back feel then a fast walk to next chord. The more uniform you play the walking notes to each other the more it puts emphasis on the movement and the laid back 1.

    This is just an example ( and one I kind of like the feel to personally) You literally can use 4 notes per chord and completely change the timing any way you want as long as you land on the 1's and it will completely work.

    Just don't get too crazy with it. Smooth and steady.

  4. slybass3000

    slybass3000 Inactive

    Nov 5, 2004
    Try resolving your rhythmic variations on the second or fourth beat of the measure like this: 1 and 2 3 and 4. You can use triplets as well like this : 1 e e 2 3 4. This way you emphasing the strong beats of the feel which are the 2 & 4.

    Anticipation of the first beat is greatly use as well to add some motion.

    Ponctuate the 2 & 4 with slight accents is also very useful especially on repeated notes.

    Hope this helps,

  5. Hookus


    Oct 2, 2005
    Austin, TX
    Just look up shuffle feel, or bossa nova if you really wanted to.
  6. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Here's a few more:
    1) The usual shuffle feel: each quarter note = 3 eighth note triplets, with the first 2 tied ("daaaah-duh, daaaah-duh, daaaah-duh, daaaah-duh"); you can reverse it, so that it's "duh-daaaah" (to be used sparingly).
    2) You can throw in quarter note triplets, occasionally.
    3) You can rake eighth note triplets. (See: Ray Brown)
  7. kingquasar


    Jul 29, 2009
    Personally, I believe when you start adding too much to a walking line, it ceases to be a walking line. I'm from the school of straight quarters. However, to add more rhythmic variation, instead of adding more "notes", try adding little touches like ghost-notes, and "biscuit-drops" between the quarters (following any of the rhythmic suggestions above). Also, variation in articulation can add a lot (accents, slides, etc.) as will changes in register. Keep it cool. Walking lines serve a purpose.

  8. Asher S

    Asher S

    Jan 31, 2008
    Take a look at Ed Friedland's "Expanding Walking Bass Lines" book (second volume). Lots of good rhythmic variation guidance in there.
  9. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Incessant quarter notes bore me. Anything goes.