Walking Bass For Jazz Guitar – Three Easy Steps
Recently I put together a how-to guide to building walking basslines on jazz guitar. Today’s post is a sneak peek of the first lesson. Find out how to get the full series of these lessons on walking bass by clicking here.
In this lesson, you’re going to learn:
- How to assemble single line basslines on guitar in 3 easy steps
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Though walking bass might seem a complex technique, it doesn’t take much work to get a convincing bassline under your fingers.
As you’ll see in the above video, you can break down the basic approach to walking bass in just three simple steps.
Step 1: Play Root Notes On Beat 1 of Each Bar
The bulk of the bass player’s job is to emphasize the root notes of the harmony. So establishing the sound of the root note on beat 1 of each bar makes a lot of sense for a bass player.
Step 2: Add Approach Notes On Beat 4 of Each Bar
The next step is to add some sort of approach note on beat 4 that leads to the root note of the next bar. It sounds most jazzy when you add a chromatic note as the approach note, however, you can use diatonic notes as well as approach notes. (Diatonic means using the scale notes that relate to the current key).
Step 3: Add ‘Walking Notes’ on Beats 2 & 3
To complete your walking bassline, you just need to add two more notes in between the root note of beat 1, and the approach note of beat 4.
These can be any of the following:
- Diatonic notes from the scale of the given key
- Chromatic notes, or
In the next lesson, you’re going to learn how to play chords at the same time as this walking bass line – sounds hard to do? If you know a few simple tricks, it’s not hard at all. I’ll show you how to do it in the next lesson of this series…
Now the exciting bit:
If you're keen to have a structured, step-by-step approach to learning jazz guitar, it might be worth checking out my online learning system, the FretDojo Jazz Guitar Academy.
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This concludes this free excerpt of my ‘Walking Bass For Jazz Guitar Primer’ lesson series. To get instant access to the rest of the lessons in this new series (as well as a large number of other lessons), they are all included in my new online program, the FretDojo Academy Club. Find out more about the Club here…
Founder, Fret Dojo
World Leader in Online Jazz Guitar Education