Walking up a Hill....

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by davegr8house, Jan 30, 2002.

  1. Hello Guys,
    I have been working on Walking Bass lines with my teacher. I am composing them on paper and trying to come up with different lines other than my "little bag of tricks" all Bass players have. I know I need to keep beats 1 & 3 within the cord scale. I have noticed Mr. Ray Parkers little saying that states not playing the root on 1. OK, cool. I can see mixing it up....BUT... how? Is there a rule of thumb as to starting on 1, 3 or 5 of the scale when walking? All the lines I do "at this time" start on 1 or octive...sorry Ray:rolleyes: Thank you for any advice.


    If the world didn`t suck we would all fall off...
  2. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    My man, that's a helpful hint, not a rule of nature.

    How you lead between chords depends on lots of different things, including:
    * Tempo
    * Pace of changes in the tune --compare "Epistrophy", to cite one recent example, with "Maiden Voyage"
    * General mood of tune -- compare "In the Mood" with "Footprints" -- they're both blues changes, but rather different, eh?
    * How long/far into the tune you are
    * More, more, more . . .

    Consider, for example, this Paul Chambers-esque lick for the first several bars of a blues: C (on G str) C# D C# | C Bb A Ab | G F E D |Bb B C Gb etc. This repeatedly violates the "135" model you've stated. The author (me) and inspiration (PC) should both be severely chastised by the "135" Council. However, it works great because there's enough time/space on the change to move away from straight arpeggio tones.

    Can't wait to see what Ray says.
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    OK, I'm a butthead, that IS a cool lick BUT all the notes landing on beats 1 and 3 ARE in the chord scale for a C7 chord! :confused:

    C D C A G E Bb C

    Bar 2 also fits the chord scale for the F7:

    C A

    Bar 3 also fits the chord scale for Gm7/C7:

    G E

    I know what you're trying to say but you picked a bad example :)

    That's a good lick BTW, I think I'm going to mess around with that one :cool:
  4. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I'm not in disagreement with your teacher. What he is showing you is a good exercise. This exercise teaches you two things; How to keep track of the harmony with your line, and how to 'aim'.

    The next step that I take students through after the one you're on is to either have them reverse the idea and put chord tones on 2 and 4, or if the student's soloing ideas are together enough, to take a melodic line and edit it down to 4 beats per measure. Further exercises would include emphasis on Ed's 'proximity' notes -- notes that are common or move a half step between changes. Never hitting the root on one, yet still maintaining the sound of the changes. Taking bop type lines and editing them down to walking lines, taking quarter/half note melodies and work them into a bass line, etc.

    Then work on listening to the melodic voice when you play (find some poor sucker to do a duo session with you) and open your ears to what he is playing and consider yourself a counter-melody as opposed to a semi-tonal bass drum. After that you can work on compositional development 'from below', wherein you can play with dynamics, octaves, tension v. tonic, etc, etc, etc.

    Bass lines, in the end, are counter-melodies. All of your harmonic/melodic study will apply. And the good news is that it only takes a lifetime to realize how far you are from where you want to be. May The Force (or at least a boomy room) be with you.
  5. WOW...lot of information here. Thank you. I can see where your coming from.I still have a lot to learn. My walking has always consisted of 4 cord and a minor type songs. I am now studing Jazz and Theory and can see that it is a lifetime commitment;) I do try to do as Ed has said about playing what is in your head but it seems to come out scales. I know that is what walking is forsay but I want to come up with some "how`d he do that" runs. Being a newbie I also understand this will not happen tomorrow. Samuel`s little run he spoke of is nice. I will work more on that today.
    As far as writing the lines down on paper, I really enjoy that. I try to write them without a Bass and then see if my Brain got it right. This forces me to THINK, not look for patterns on the Neck. I have come up with some cool stuff this way.
    I can say this. Being a newbie, when coming to the Talk Bass Dark Side. I too got the..GET A TEACHER !!! statement that seems to be an everyday thing now. Doing just that has helped my playing greatly. I read music better, I`m actualy writing now, I have a somewhat good sence of the fingerboard up to Thumb position. I can play with a Bow AND enjoy it.....I look forward to every lesson because now I can see how little I know about Bass. I learn something new every lesson. The Theory is killer at times but with every chapter its making more sence. SOOOooo, Keep the get a teacher foot in the ass thing going. It does work...Thanks


    If the world didn`t suck we would all fall off.....
  6. Thanks Ed,
    My understanding is growing. I think I must start listening to more DB greats and hear how Walking is done in order to grasp new ideas. Have a good day.


    If the world didn`t suck we would all fall off......
  7. ...Uh...Yes sir. What I ment was I need to listen to more Bass Players than I do. I listen to alot of Ray Brown. He is the Man as far as I`m concerned but I know there is alot more out there than he. I will be sure and pick up the Lee konitz you suggested soon. Thanks


    If the world didn`t suck we would all fall off....
  8. The best advice i never received as a youngster was to never underestimate the incredible amount of knowledge to be gained by transcribing bass lines, and not just the solo, off your favorite records. This will show you all the "rules" and the 10 million meaningful ways of breaking them.