What is the next step in learning walking bass?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Jay boogs, May 13, 2017.

  1. Jay boogs

    Jay boogs Inactive

    Feb 21, 2017
    I am new to walking bass I recently played along to a jazzy track in dm however I would like to see what the next step is and I'd figure why not ask my fellow bassists.

    Check this out on #BandLab BandLab: Music Starts Here
  2. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    a couple well regarded resources around here:

    51ZMTmCS3kL._SX366_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg 51EEDfSdiUL._SX371_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

    Your recording says "Jazzy in Dm" ...implying you are thinking in scales
    walking bass has more to do with thinking in chords.
    It sounds like you are playing along with a I - vi - ii V.
    If you don't understand what "I - vi - ii - V" means, read the PDF linked in my signature.
    MrLenny1 and Jay boogs like this.
  3. Jay boogs

    Jay boogs Inactive

    Feb 21, 2017
    so what you are saying is that I should have used more chord tones while playing
  4. Page 5 of Ed Fuqua's book.

    Bd7 -----Eb7---------Bd7---------Eb7...........%

    So yep more chords tones. something on each beat. Friedland's book first, as it is good about getting you started, then once started Fuqua's book is a must have.

    I got the 1-2-3-5 stuff from Friedland. And that now is how I think. Fuqua's book is pure standard notation so I transpose his stuff into scale degrees, perhaps not the right thing to do, but, I understand it this way. .

    Good luck.
    Last edited: May 15, 2017
  5. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006

    you are essentially playing "root, root, root, <other tone>"

    that's less of a walk and more hopping in place for 3 beats and then stepping towards the next root

    the basic , super simplified, entry level formula for a 4 beat walking bass line measure is:

    1. root note
    2. passing tone leading to
    3. a chord tone
    4. passing tone leading to next root
    embedded in this formula is of course the assumption that you know your basic harmony and chord tones
    Jay boogs likes this.
  6. Jay boogs

    Jay boogs Inactive

    Feb 21, 2017
    I know chords so after you saying this has given me some insight on what I should do
  7. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    I once asked a skilled jazz player how to learn good walking bass lines
    he said, simply: "Transcribe Ray Brown"
    MrLenny1 and StyleOverShow like this.
  8. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years

    May 3, 2008
    True that. worked up 10 Ray Brown lines once, began to notice his patterns, where bars 4 and 8 had variations (of course).
    MrLenny1 likes this.
  9. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    Since you say you know chords:
    1. Take a familiar melody. Or write one yourself.
    2. Reharmonize. Nothing too fancy if you don't want to go all out. Maybe start easy with basic harmonic functions: Tonic, Dominant, Subdominant (plus its parallel, the II chord), including their variants.
    3. Write a walking bass. Look for the suggestions of the fine posters before me for inspiration.

    Especially #2 will get you really familiar with the harmony from which you can construct your lines. Writing the harmony yourself also ensures you won't get lost as easily.
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