Five Blues Walking Bass Lines To Learn
By Kevin Guin
One thing all bass players need to do is learn how to drive a blues band with a shuffle and also play a fat walking blues line. In this small collection of blues walking bass lines I concentrate on several things.
The first thing I want to mention is to learn how to walk your bass lines beyond a single octave. If you can play a line in G blues up to the 12th-fret and beyond then you are getting into two octave lines. This gets you around your fingerboard and increases your range, which in itself is a very interesting element to add to your bass lines.
Also, when you carefully identify each note in a line that you are learning and understand what note that is to the chord, then you are covering a lot of ground on your bass. That’s power-packed bass line learning!
The second thing is to start to introduce chromaticism into your lines. The most important thing in this instance is to understand that when you are walking quarter notes, whether it’s blues or jazz walking bass, it is beat one and beat three that are the strong harmonic beats.
When you understand how to feel where these strong harmonic beats are in your walking bass lines you can then place almost any tone between these strong harmonic beats – and that’s where your skills with chromaticism will take a massive leap forward.
Search your feelings Basswalker…you know it to be true!!
The third thing is to experiment playing alternate chord tones instead of roots. This puts a palpable tension into the phrasing of the soloist and when you weave your way back into strong harmony again there is that subtle, slick resolution with a great payoff.
Yes, I know that sounds like heresy to your “roots” but it’s a heck of a lot of fun!
Anyway, ladies and gentlemen, I hope you can take apart these five blues bass lines and identify each note, sing each line, and make them work for you.
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