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Wanted: Jazzy bass line for the blues

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by chardin, Jul 24, 2003.


  1. chardin

    chardin

    Sep 18, 2000
    I'm looking for some suggestions for a walking bass line to a 12 bar blues, especially the first four bars. I want to play the root on the first beat of each bar. My first attempt was to arpeggiate: 1 3 5 7 | 8 7 5 3 | 1 3 5 7 | 8 7 6 5 which leads nicely to the IV chord. This line gets the job done but isn't very jazzy. (I'm looking for a jazzier bass line.) Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. There are many others out there more qualified than me to help, but I'll try to explain how I understand it.
    In a 12 bar with three chords they are usually all 7 chords, ie Dominant 7 (which technically means that you change key each time you change chord).
    Basically, to walk around each chord, you can use any note from that chord , any note from its relative scale, as well as chromatic approach tones - for example the note a half step above or below the root.
    The relative scale for a 7 chord is a normal major scale but with the 7 flatted (becoming the same note as the dominant 7 in the chord).
    In your example you could think of almost all the notes as chord tones (they are are of course scale tones also) but in your last bar you have the 6 which is just a scale tone.
    That is great and will work fine (as you already know) but can I suggest you play each chord arpeggio and relative scale over until you have it clear which notes you could use, not forgetting octaves above and below, and just mess about mixing them up in different orders, as wild as you like, throwing in the half step chromatic approach tones which always give a strong resolution to the root - you will be surprised what you discover. If you stick to your rule of hitting the appropriate root note on the first beat of each bar (although you will discover that you don't always have to do that - another chord tone will work instead sometimes) you'll find there is not much you can do wrong, it just depends on what you find you like. Have fun.
    I too am always looking for new ideas in this area so I look forward to what others might be able to offer.
     
  3. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    A.K.A Mixolydian.

    In addition to that, you can use the blues scale - which consists of 1 b3 4 b5 5 b7.

    You can use a combination of the Mixolydian scale and the blues scale, which basically adds the b3 and b5 to the mixolydian scale.
     
  4. arose11

    arose11

    Sep 30, 2002
    Kalamazoo, MI
    blues scale=:spit:
    i think the blues scale is used too much, it kind of sounds corny when you use it. Thats what some music teachers told me, "If you can, always try and stay away from the blues scale". but im sure the blues scale combined with mixolydian will work wonderfully.

    no one has to agree with me, just my $0.02.

    -andrew rose
     
  5. ConU

    ConU

    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    And I won't.
    What "teachers" told you this?That's a load of
    ****.
     
  6. arose11

    arose11

    Sep 30, 2002
    Kalamazoo, MI
    yeah, my statement was aimed more towards solo improvising, what i said doesn't actually pertain to basslines, more towards soloing. i probably should have said that.:rolleyes:

    anyways :bag:
     
  7. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Same thing applies. Any "scale" can sound good or bad, depending on how it's used. :)

    I tend to think of solos not as being limited by this or that scale, but rather as ideas and concepts that gradually take shape.
     
  8. arose11

    arose11

    Sep 30, 2002
    Kalamazoo, MI
    and that totally makes sense, but me being around beginner trumpet players that only know the blues scale, it gets to be annoying. Does anyone remember those days? i do im only 15. :help:
     
  9. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Not when you use it well.

    Sure, a 15 yr old trumpet player who only knows the blues scale, and doesn't know how to use it, will make it sound corny. But a really good soloist can do a whole solo on the blues scale, and not sound corny...
     
  10. arose11

    arose11

    Sep 30, 2002
    Kalamazoo, MI
    yeah moley thats what i meant okay?! jeez get on my case.:rolleyes:
     
  11. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    If you want it sound "jazzier" start using more whole and half step movement:

    First 4 bars, Blues in F:

    | F G A C | F Eb D C | F G A C | F G Ab A |

    | 1 2 3 5 | 8 b7 6 5 | 1 2 3 5 | 8 9 b10 10 |
     
  12. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    With feel, you should be able to make Root-5 sound "jazzy'...

    Otherwise, I would consider thinking about chromatics('upper/lower') & NOT playing the Root 'all the time' on Beat "1".
     
  13. chardin

    chardin

    Sep 18, 2000
    I was told that most piano and guitar players are expecting the bass to play the root so that they can play other root-less voicings. Is that only true when the chords change?
     
  14. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    That's mainly on the chord changes. But, even if you don't play the root on the chord change, it's not the end of the world. In fact, you could use the pianists rootless voicings to reharmonize. If he's not playing the root, you've got more scope for changing what the root is!
     
  15. ConU

    ConU

    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    For a 12 bar blues,and given the nature of your original post,you should always be playing the root on the 1 of each bar and the changes.Learn to walk before you run.There is beautiful simplicity in the blues,use it!(reharmonization is a little advanced for you right now IMO):)Approach the roots from a half-step above or below occasionally and you'll make it feel jazzier.But I also like your original line,played with conviction it can sound "jazzy".
    Lastly listen to some blues in the jazz idiom,and cop some of it,that's the easiest way.