walking bassline formula?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by azeng808, Aug 9, 2005.

  1. azeng808


    Dec 12, 2004
    Well I enjoy listening to jazz (I play trombone in jazz) but I would like to learn how to create walking basslines, because I might want to try out for bass next year. Is there any "formula"? I know so far that the first note is the root but after taht I am confused about the aproach notes coming from a half step up or down and etc. Can anyone explain ?
  2. Buy the "Building Walking Bass Lines" book by Ed Friedland. I can't recommend it enough, I have only had it a month, but it has helped tremendously. By no means am I pro, but I am starting to feel confident enough to join in jazz open mic nights.
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Have you looked at any other threads around here...? :meh:
  4. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004

    Ed explains a number of ways of constructing a line, any one of which sounds a bit dull used by itself. The key is in learning all of them and mixing them up, practicing them until at some point you can do it without thinking in terms of formulae.

    About the approach notes and formulae: An easy way to create a walking line is to use chromatic approach tones. Say you had a bar of Dm, a bar of G7 and a bar of Cmaj7. You might want to use chord tones for the first three beats of the bar of Dm, then use an approach note a semitone away from G7 to lead into the bar of G7, use chord tones from G7 for the first three beats of that bar, use an approach note a semitone away from C, etc.

    So that line might go...

    |D F A G#|G B D Db|C E G etc.

    But if you did that all the time it would sound dull as hell.

    What Ed's book is really good for is it gives you the tools to analyse what other bassists are doing (unconciously or not) when they play a walking bassline.
  5. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    IOW, no, there is no "formula." That would be kinda antithetical to the spirit of jazz anyway, no? However, there are a number of techniques that you can use. Friedland's book is a good place to start. Chuck Sher's book The Improvising Bassist has some good stuff too.
  6. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    If you are interested in formula's, classical training would be the way to go. There, you Will find no end of formulas.

    As jazz is a spontaneous art form, you will have to shell-out serious wages to jazz muzo's to play your formulated music.
  7. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    There's good spontaneity and bad spontaneity though. Good spontaneity in jazz is almost always informed by extensive prior study of theory.

    The original poster wanted to know if there was any short cut to creating good walking basslines. No, there's not. But there's a sensible way of getting there and a dumb way of getting there.

    The dumb way is to flail about trying to spontaneously make a jazz sound. I've got some hilarious tapes of me doing that as a kid.

    The sensible way is to examine each of the ways of approaching walking over changes, practicing them to completely internalise them, so when you come to do it for real, you can come up with something that's both spontaneous and good.
  8. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand

    The long, slow way is always the best way.

    Shortcuts have a habit of catching up on ya, in one form or another.
  9. frankosaurus


    Feb 27, 2002
    San Jose
    Here's the closest thing to a formula that I've found... for F and Bb blues...

    (follow the pdf links to "244 million Bass Lines")

    ...These were actually very useful to me when I was first learning double bass and coping with the physical aspects of the instrument.

    I also worked on some of the transcriptions of Ron Carter's Aebersold records. He has some great lines.

    Ed Friedland's books are good... I would complement them with transcriptions from jazz CDs.
  10. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    The ron carter bass lines from Abersold are great. See, the thing with formulas is that they start to sound "samey" and then you check out a Ron Carter or Ray Brown transcription of a blues see what they do to it