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How to Throw Down a Walking Bass Line



This month we will cover how to throw down a walking bass line…

The Walking Bass Line… With all of the mania for chops, chops, and more chops in bass playing there is always a lurking danger of a loss of subtlety in the practice room. While we are hammering away at two-octave 16th-note runs with that machine gun triplet slap figure on the end it becomes more and more possible that musical gestures of varied or unusual dynamics/phrasing or space fall by the wayside. 

But if we’re talking about subtlety and sophistication in music it’s hard to beat walking bass lines. The satisfaction and sheer joy of artistic creation that walking lines bring to the bassist as well as to the listener add up to a powerful musical message. 

The purpose of the video lesson today is to throw down a walking bass line for you as an example, to give you an overlooked and much needed bit of advice for the feel of your walking lines, and to provide several easy bass exercises that you can do to start learning how to play walking bass lines on any standard. 

Before getting on with things I would like to say that there are two concepts that I find helpful in communicating to students how to think of their game plan for learning walking bass. They are mainly helpful for beginners and intermediate players and I call them Insistence and Flexibility.

Insistence is for beginning walkers and refers to how you shouldn’t be spending time trying to think out your hand positioning or anything else that steals your attention while you are walking bass. You must instead make everything that you do conform to the insistence of the quarter note feel. Trust me, Grasshopper, you can kill a quarter note with a blade of grass! 

A simple Jedi mind trick for your quarter notes is to banish any thoughts of your fingerboard hand and simply concentrate on making your quarter note pop with the sound of the drummer’s stick hitting the cymbal.

You need to think of your plucking hand or even just your finger itself striking the note exactly as that stick hits the cymbal. 

To boost your awareness of this “insistence” principle, simply listen to your favorite walking bass player and actually tap your thigh for each note in the entire tune. Try it! It’s amazing when you try to concentrate on every single note in the tune and suddenly find your mind wandering. A walking bass line is a constant act of creation and it requires massive abilities of concentration. 

Flexibility refers to a time when you are already a journeyman bass walker but now need to have more refined interactions with the rhythm section or the soloist.

For example, if the drummer is accenting the soloist or creating certain bits of musical mayhem (as drummers are known to do!) that puts the bassist in a position to make decisions about how to react. 

Click to download the lesson materials – any questions, please visit me online at

I want to return to these concepts for walking bass lines in future articles, so please stay tuned. 

Here are some very helpful activities that I outline in the video lesson for those of you who are just now getting into your walking bass lines. If you are not used to singing the roots of the tune in time then you will want to start there first. Do it without your instrument at first and add your bass later on. That is exactly the type of thing to get you going on building the ear-bass-mind connection that you need to play bass lines freely and naturally. 

When you can get through a practice tune by singing the roots then you can start in with roots and fifths. The thing about roots and fifths is that you can play a bouncy two-feel with them using only a slight, occasional rhythmic push or dead note and it’s fun as heck! That high-spirited bounce in a two-feel bass line is a highly elusive treasure to possess and when you get into it you’ll never want to be without it.

As you get going with quarter notes remember that one of the best plans of action is to make them pop when that stick hits the cymbal.

And when you work to add that characteristic percussive “click” with a deft finger mute, just make sure that you don’t play it with any slop! It’s better to not define it as an eighth or a triplet or a sixteenth note. Just play it sharp and short and when you use it to introduce fat quarters it will do great things for your time-feel and your drummer might even buy you blueberry pancakes after the gig.

Playing walking bass lines is a highly sophisticated type of bass accompaniment and even the best bass players have called it a lifelong learning experience. The best thing about it is that even a simple line played well can make all the difference in the rhythm section and your band members will truly appreciate your efforts.

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Remember… if you have any questions, you can always contact me online at | View more of my Bass Musician Magazine Lessons | And check out my Try Before You Buy

Bass Edu

BASS LINES: Triads & Inversions Part I



Jaime David Vazquez - Lessons For Bass Guitar

Triads & Inversions Part I

Hello bass players and bass fans! In this issue, we are going to study the triads and their inversions.

It is very important for all bassists to understand and master the triads, but it is even more important to understand their different inversions.

In Part I, we are going to learn what the triad is in fundamental position.

The Formula consists of root, third and fifth.

Degrees of the Triad

Major Triad: 1 – 3 – 5
Minor Triad: 1 – b3 – 5
Diminished Triad: 1 – b3 – b5
Augmented Triad: 1 – 3 – #5

Fig.1 – The C, Cm, Cdim & Caug triads
(Fundamental Position)

BASS LINES: Triads & Inversions Part I
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Bass Edu

Premiere! Bass Playthrough With Foetal Juice’s Bassist Lewis Bridges – From the Album, Grotesque



Premiere! Bass Playthrough With Foetal Juice's Bassist Lewis Bridges - From the Album, Grotesque

Premiere! Bass Playthrough With Foetal Juice’s Bassist Lewis Bridges – From the Album, Grotesque

Bassist Lewis Bridges Shares…

“Gruesome’s sparse intro marks a stark contrast from the intensity of the rest of the album.  The original intention was to keep the bass simple but colourful, however as I worked on it, the lines grew more expressive and the more striking flourishes began to emerge.  The intensity builds into a harmonic minor passage that takes us into the drop — a signature death grind cacophony.  This is where Foetal Juice thrives.  You’re getting a full-on right-hand barrage to in the face to take you into a groove-laden mulch-fest.

I owe my throbbing bass tone to the Darkglass Alpha Omega pedal borrowed from our sound engineer, Chris Fielding (ex-Conan), mixed with the clarity of the tried and true Ampeg SVT CL.

As mentioned earlier, colourful basslines are important, especially in a one-guitar band. Chucking some funny intervals and odd flourishes here and there brings life into the brutality. There’s no point sounding brutal if it’s not gonna be fucking evil too!

Recording this playthrough was hard work. This was not the fault of James Goodwin (Necronautical), who was kindly filming and is ace to work with, but because in true Foetal fashion, we had stinking hangovers — and that jam room was hot!”

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Youtube: @Foetaljuice

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Bass Edu

Bass Lines: The Circle



jaime Vazquez

Bass Lines: The Circle…

Hello bass players and fans of bass! This month we’re going to study “The Circle.”

The Circle of Fourths can also be called “The Circle of Fifths or just The Circle.

Practicing the scales, chords, and ideas in general via the circle has been a common practice routine for jazz musicians and highly recommended.

It is a disciplined way of working through all twelve keys.

Plus, many bass root movements to jazz and pop songs move through sections of the circle.

Fig. 1 – “The Circle”

See you next month for more full bass attack!

#bassmusicianmag, #basslines, #bmmbasslines, #groovemaniac, #thecircle, #thecircleoffourths, #thecircleoffifths,#scales & #chords.

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Bass Edu

Approach Notes – Part 5



James Rosocha

Continuing our lesson of Approach Notes, Part 5…

In continuing with the concept of approach notes being applied to chord tones, this lesson approaches the root, third, fifth, and seventh degree of each arpeggio inversion by incorporating a double chromatic approach from above, and a single chromatic approach from below. 

The first examples approach the root of a G major 7th arpeggio as a double chromatic from above and a single chromatic approach from below -before continuing to the third, fifth, seventh, double chromatic from above/ single from below to the root, continue to the third, fifth, and come back down.

The next example approaches the first inversion of G major 7th arpeggio.

A double chromatic from above/ single from below approaches the third, continue to the fifth, seventh, root, double chromatic from above/ single below to the third, continue up to the fifth and seventh, and back down.

The third example approaches a second inversion of a G major arpeggio.

A double chromatic from above/ single from below approaches the fifth, continue to the 7th, root, 3rd, double chromatic from above/ single from below to the 5th, continue to the 7th, root, and back down. 

This final example approaches a third inversion of a G major 7th arpeggio.

A double chromatic from above and below approaches the 7th, continue to the root, 3rd, 5th, double chromatic from above and below to the 7th, continue to the root, 3rd, and back down.

Be sure to pace yourself with these lessons to avoid burning out.

Being overly ambitious with your practice schedule can lead to unrealistic expectations. Try learning one approach note concept and one chord type a week. Change your practice routine as necessary and tailor it to your needs as a musician. Good luck!

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Bass Edu

BASS LINES – The Blue Notes (Minor Blues Scale)



jaime Vazquez

Hello bass players and bass fans! Happy New Year 2024!

In this issue, we are going to study the blue notes.

In blues, jazz, and rock, a blue note is a note that (for expressive purposes) is sung or played at a slightly different pitch from standard. Typically the alteration is between a quartertone and a semitone, but this varies depending on the musical context.

The blue notes are usually said to be the lowered third(b3), lowered fifth(b5) and lowered seventh(b7) scale degrees. The lowered fifth(b5) is also known as the raised fourth(#4). Though the blues scale has “an inherent minor tonality, it is commonly ‘forced’ over major-key chord changes, resulting in a distinctively dissonant conflict of tonalities”.

Blue notes are used in many blues songs, in jazz, rock and in conventional popular songs with a “blue” feeling.


The A Minor Blues Scale

1 – b3 – 4 – (#4/b5) – 5 – b7

A – C – D – (D#/Eb) – E – Bb

The grades(blue notes):

b3, (#4/b5), b7

C, (D#/Eb), Bb

See you next month for more full bass attack!

#bassmusicianmag, #basslines, #bmmbasslines, #groovemaniac, #thebluenotes, #minorbluesscale & #bluesscale

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