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Bass Lines With Jaime Vazquez: Groove Variations Part II (Chord Progression)


Bass Lines With Jaime Vazquez: Groove Variations Part II (Chord Progression)

Meet Jaime Vazquez –

Welcome to the 2011! There will be a lot of great bass lines articles for this year! So, stay tuned for Full Bass Attack!

We’ ve been working with groove variations over the one chord vamp, but this month, we will work with the chord progression. Remember, we can make groove variations without losing the idea and the essence of the song. Many bass players play the same groove over the chord changes to keep the same rhythmic pattern for the song. It’s ok with that, but don’t be scared to experiment. Groove variations will add more personality to your bass lines. Let’s work it out!


It’s the main groove for the early 1990’s hit called Two Princes by the Spin Doctors. See how bassist Mark White use muted notes, slides, hammer-ons and a lot of syncopation for this great funky groove.

Fig. 1b

Here’s the variation for this amazing groove that sold millions of copies around the world. Noticed how Mark plays with more syncopation without muted notes. A whole new thing over the same chord progression.

Fig. 2a

In the 70’s there was a hit upon its initial release, I’m talking about Love Rollercoaster by The Ohio Players.

This bass line is a classic for funk bass players. The use of octaves is a trademark for this song. The cool thing is that you can make fills during the 4th beat of every bar.

Fig. 2b

Don’t forget the slides from below, they give a smooth sound to the groove. As you can hear, this is a very aggressive bass line, full of motion. Be accurate on every chord changes.

Fig. 3a

Is an example from the legendary American rock band called The Allman Brothers. This is the groove from the bridge section of Jessica, one of their original songs. Lamar Williams did a great work by simply laying down the groove and always locked with the drums.

Fig. 3b

Lamar did some variations using the chord tones. He was very influenced by players from James Jamerson to Stanley Clarke. As we can see, Williams’ style was more traditional.

Fig. 4a

This is a cover version of Billy Roberts’ Hey Joe played by bassist Noel Redding (Jimi Hendrix). He played the groove with the same rhythm motive at the first two bars, then he flows with the song.

Fig. 4b

As we can see, Noel starts to increase the intensity of the groove. Take care with the staccato note at the 2nd beat of bar two. This technique adds a more tight rhythm to the groove.

Expand your vocabulary on your own grooves by using the chord tones, chromatic notes, scales,
modes, etc. Experiment with some rhythmic variations on fills too. At last, you will have a fresh and
a more interesting bass line for the rhythm section. Keep Grooving!

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