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Walking Over Long Chords

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Jazzin', Mar 12, 2006.

  1. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    How do you all go about walking when the chords long, like 4, 8 or especially 16 bars? Should the root be played at beat1 at least every 2 bars? What about changing modes?
  2. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    Root 3rd or 5th generally.
  3. I would say that it's good to aim for the root 3rd or 5th the majority of the time, but if your walking on the same chord for long stretches, sometimes you'll want to create an "away" feeling before you return "home" at the end of the phrase, so sometimes you may deliberately stay away from "home" (1,3,5), but make sure you return before the chord is over :p

    Just my $.02.
  4. Alun


    Jun 6, 2004
    Endorsing Artist - Elixir strings,Markbass amplification
    I'd agree with the above. Although it's still your responsibility to outline the chord clearly, the extra space allows you a bit more freedom so you can think a bit more about the contour of the line (eg keep a descending line going even though it means not hitting a "correct" note at the start of a couple of bars).

    You can also sumperimpose other chords eg over 4 bars of Dm you could alternate the Dm with G7 or Am/A7 or throw a couple of Em7b5-A7 II V progressions in.

    You can also break the time up a bit so over the 4 bars, maybe, instead of four groups of four quarter notes, play a four and four threes, or a six and two fives, or any other combination that still adds up to 16 quarter notes.

    Again, we still need to hold it down so make sure the overall time is clear.
  5. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    It's also completely acceptable to play a pedal on the root--listen to Paul Chambers' work on So What?; he alternates open D with the octave harmonic repeatedly to add flavor. Mingus also rode pedal notes for long passages. Time is frequently more important than outlining the chord changes.

    Alun's suggestion of chord substitutions is a good one as well, although if your soloist isn't too hip and doesn't pick them up, things can end up sounding a little strange, and garnering you some wierd looks from the rest of the band.
  6. Alun


    Jun 6, 2004
    Endorsing Artist - Elixir strings,Markbass amplification
    Very true, I should have mentioned that you should use some discretion with subs and rythmic tricks is the soloist isn't used to them or to reacting to them.

    You can also pedal on the 5th but again you need to be careful not to derail the soloist ;-)

  7. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    Thanks for all the suggestions. But when you all say "root 3rd or 5th" do you mean changing to those modes, or just playing those scale degrees at the begining of each bar?
  8. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    I think they meant that the context of 16 bars of D-7 in So What, the root, 3rd and 5th of the D-7 are the target notes to be played on beat 1 to outline the harmony 'every now and then'.

    IMO, by playing the corresponding modes from those chord tones, D dorian, F lydian and A aeolian (we're diatonically in C Major), you are still playing D dorian because the underlying harmony is static and you're using the same notes, just in a different order. So essentially you are 'noodling in D dorian' and making sure there are nice chord tones on the strong beats ;)

    If you take a number of bars of one chord, often players will add other extensions, or other chords over the top (polychords) to colour the sound.. so D dorian is the foundation, but there are endless possibilities of what can be done with it. I cant offer any advice whatsoever here, I know musicians do this, but I'm not there yet!
  9. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Either way, depending on context, what the soloist is doing, and what feel you're trying to convey. You could pedal on one note, noodle in one mode as has been suggested, or switch to another set of chords entirely, substituting your own set of chords over the written changes. How these various techniques are balanced and used is part of a jazz bassist's style.
  10. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    Walking over "long" chord passages also gives you a chance to really listen to intervals "in" and "out" of the key. Listen to their sounds against the root. Hear where the different notes want to resolve. Have them resolve in another way maybe. Interact with the melody/solo, experiment with rhythms.
  11. WillBuckingham


    Mar 30, 2005
    Couple ideas here that I think are misguided. When your talking about 4 note chords like D-7 the 7th (c) is probably more important in defining the chord, and definitely more exciting and tonally richer than the fifth.

    Also, when you're playing with people that might not be too hip to chord substitutions, you're probably playing with people who would appreciate some help hammering out the form. On a tune like "so what", I like to hammer out a ii7-V7 at the end of every 8 bar phrase. That means e-7 to A7 when going back into the A section, and f-7 to Bb7 when going into the B section. This lets everyone know where you are in the form and helps keep it interesting.

    As for the original post, just walk around in d dorian and see what feels good. Sticking to arbitrary rules will only limit your playing.