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> Walking Bass Question
Jonas Tamas
post Feb 3 2013, 02:19 PM
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Hi Matt, I have a question for you, and the answer can be interesting to a lot of players: what are the main music theory rules for coming up walking bass lines on the guitar? Do you have any instructional material about this?

I'd be interested to see your walking bass lines for a regular 12-bar blues cycle, and your suggestions for more complex harmonies as well, for example if we take an A13 - F9 - Bb13 - D9 cycle. Some general rules would be very nice as well. Thanks in advance!


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The Professor
post Feb 3 2013, 02:43 PM
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Hey
That's a great topic! I basically have 4 steps for learning any bassline, with some variation. They are as follows

1. Play the root for each chord on the 1st beat of every bar
2. Play 1 chromatic note on beat 4 leading into the root on the downbeat of the next bar, this can be chromatic above or chromatic below
3. Add a second chromatic note on beat 3 of the bar, this can them form 2 below the next root, two above the next root, one above and one below the next root, or one below and one above the next root.
4. Add a scale or chord tone on beat 4 to finish the walking bassline.

So, you end up with R-CT-CH-CH where R=root, CT=Chord Tone, and CH=Chromatic note.

Now, sometimes the chromatic notes will end up being diatonic to the chord you are on, but I would think of them as leading into the next chord.

Which brings me to the final point, when walking basslines, try and think of beats 1 and 2 as outlining the chord you are on, and then think of beats 3 and 4 as leading to the next chord, so they can be chromatic as long as they resolve to where you are going

Hope that helps! Here are some video and text lessons for further reading.

http://www.mattwarnockguitar.com/introduct...ar-video-lesson

http://www.mattwarnockguitar.com/how-to-wa...lines-on-guitar

http://www.mattwarnockguitar.com/how-to-pl...-note-exercises

http://www.mattwarnockguitar.com/walking-b...-and-summertime


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Jonas Tamas
post Feb 4 2013, 01:20 PM
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QUOTE (The Professor @ Feb 3 2013, 01:43 PM) *
Hey
That's a great topic! I basically have 4 steps for learning any bassline, with some variation. They are as follows

1. Play the root for each chord on the 1st beat of every bar
2. Play 1 chromatic note on beat 4 leading into the root on the downbeat of the next bar, this can be chromatic above or chromatic below
3. Add a second chromatic note on beat 3 of the bar, this can them form 2 below the next root, two above the next root, one above and one below the next root, or one below and one above the next root.
4. Add a scale or chord tone on beat 4 to finish the walking bassline.

So, you end up with R-CT-CH-CH where R=root, CT=Chord Tone, and CH=Chromatic note.

Now, sometimes the chromatic notes will end up being diatonic to the chord you are on, but I would think of them as leading into the next chord.

Which brings me to the final point, when walking basslines, try and think of beats 1 and 2 as outlining the chord you are on, and then think of beats 3 and 4 as leading to the next chord, so they can be chromatic as long as they resolve to where you are going

Hope that helps! Here are some video and text lessons for further reading.

http://www.mattwarnockguitar.com/introduct...ar-video-lesson

http://www.mattwarnockguitar.com/how-to-wa...lines-on-guitar

http://www.mattwarnockguitar.com/how-to-pl...-note-exercises

http://www.mattwarnockguitar.com/walking-b...-and-summertime



Awesome, thanks so much for the detailed answer and for the links to your instructional material as well. Your homepage is full of very useful lessons, so a big thumbs up!


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David.C.Bond
post Feb 5 2013, 12:52 PM
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Walking basslines should contain chord tones on the strong beats, thats the main 'rule'. On the weak beats you can either use more chord tones, or scale tones, or chromatic passing notes.



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Gabriel Leopardi
post Feb 5 2013, 12:57 PM
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Great question and fantastic answer! Thanks Matt for all these stuff! I will have to dedicate some time everyday to learn all the great things that you are sharing here with us! smile.gif


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The Professor
post Feb 5 2013, 01:26 PM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Feb 5 2013, 11:57 AM) *
Great question and fantastic answer! Thanks Matt for all these stuff! I will have to dedicate some time everyday to learn all the great things that you are sharing here with us! smile.gif


thanks glad you dug the material, basslines are fun to work out, and we often get new insights into chord movement and soloing lines by working them out. Nice side-effect!


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