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What is a walking bassline?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Albini_Fan, Apr 13, 2003.


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  1. Albini_Fan

    Albini_Fan Banned

    Jan 26, 2003
    Beneath Below
    I'm guessing it's something like going down the strings 1/2/1/2 (Fingers)? What is a good excersize? Can somone give me more information about them?
     
  2. Buy the book "Building Walking Bass Lines" by Ed Friedland.


    See my sig, too.


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  3. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida
    "Walking" is a term used to describe the feeling that quarter notes create in the bass part. Its most often used in jazz.

    You need to have some grasp of music theory to be able to create one. There are many diiferent techniques you can use in creating one.

    By the book mentioned above. I have it and its a pretty detailed book. If you dont want to take the time to learn to create your own lines and just be taught a few riffs to get by, then dont buy the book. This book makes you use all the techniques provided by creating your own lines over chord changes. Which is what you have to do in the real world.
     
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Lots of other types of music do have walking bass lines - like (original) Ska, Blues etc. Even in Classical music!!

    But the characteristic sound is 4 quarter notes to the bar, which move smoothly from one note to the next, even when the chords change - so there shouldn't be any big jumps and ideally you keep moving up or down as long as possible, in "steps" of a tone or semi-tone. So you are stepping or walking through the chord changes, one step at a time - hence walking, rather than running or jumping about. ;)

    Of course there are variations, but the more you add, the less it sounds like walking and you have to be careful you don't lose the feel or swing of the line. The best players can make really simple lines sound great with their feel, rhythmic forward motion and note-choice.
     
  5. JazZ-A-LoT

    JazZ-A-LoT

    Jan 5, 2003
    Running and jumping about is a whole other story.
     
  6. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    A good excercise would be playing the tones that make up the chord you're dealing with for the measure that you're at, just to get you familiar with what the chord tones are, where they are and how they sound against the harmony.

    || Cmin7 | F7 | BbMaj7 | BbMaj7 ||

    The chord tones:

    | C Eb G Bb | F A C Eb | Bb D F A | Bb A F D |
     
  7. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    You can incorporate larger intervalic distances than the ones you have described i.e. half and whole steps, in your lines and it will still swing. A good player can make a line swing that simply incorporates the chord tones of the chord, see the above example.
     
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well, I was just explaining what the characteristics of a walking bass line are and why it's called that - to say it is just the chord tones, doesn't explain what makes it a walking bassline - just play the chord tones and you don't necessarily have a walking bassline !
     
  9. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    No need for me to explain what's already been stated, so your assertion that I'm saying, which I'm not, that walking is just chord tones is ludicrous.

    My contribution is that you need to know what the chord tones are, how they sound against the chord and be prepared to play them in any inversion before you set your sights on chromatic and whole step movement. My specific point to you is that swing is a feel that is not restricted to chromatic or whole step motion, that is if you want to keep things interesting.
     
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think you're being a bit paranoid there - I was just saying that that doesn't help to answer the original question - although as you say it could be a way to prepare to play this kind of thing.
     
  11. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Paranoid??? :confused: Are you stalking me and I don't know about it or did you post to the wrong thread? ;)

    Again, I'm not trying to explain what's already been said, I'm trying to add to what has been said.
     
  12. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida
    Didnt I just say that? ;)
     
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    No - you didn't - you just said four quarter notes in the bar. So, these could be from anywhere - so if you jumped about or just played the same note throughout - it would not be a walking line.

    So I was trying to explain how the feel of a walking bass line is to do with a smooth transition and moving note by note in a continuous direction...etc.
     
  14. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Does this mean when you run out of fingerboard space you switch to an instrument that has a higher range until you reach a point where the sound is only audible to say hamsters and gerbils? :D
     
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well, Paul Chambers managed it pretty well - if you listen to any of his walking lines!! ;)
     
  16. Bruce and Phil: How did this turn into a "my explanation is better than yours" thread?

    Gentlemen, (and I use the term in its broadest sense with the best of intentions), I think your two original answers plus Cass's (all taken together) more than adequately explain what Albini-Fan was looking for. No need for criticism of the other contributors....:p
     
  17. Chris A

    Chris A Chemo sucks!

    Feb 25, 2000
    Manchester NH
    Question asked, question answered.
    We're done here.

    Chris A.:rolleyes: :bassist:
     



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