Walking Bass Lines (Bass Builders)

Building Walking Bass Lines (Bass Builders)


15 year old upright player and looking for advice
(Bass Instruction). A walking bass line is the most common approach to jazz bass playing, but it is also used in rock music, blues, rockabilly, R&B, gospel, Latin, country and many other types of music. The term ‘walking’ is used to describe the moving feeling that quarter notes create in the bass part. The specific goal of this book is to familiarize players with the techniques used to build walking bass lines and to make them aware of how the process works. Through the use of 90-minutes’ wo…

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15 year old upright player and looking for advice(r/Jazz)

Jazz bassist here. Here are a couple things that helped me out a lot. They may seem pretty obvious, but some people overlook them.

  1. TRANSCRIBE TRANSCRIBE TRANSCRIBE. There’s no better way to learn than figuring out what the masters played. Speaking of which,

  2. Listen to the masters. Get your hands on as many recordings of Ray Brown, Charles Mingus, Paul Chambers, Scott LaFaro, Jimmy Blanton, Christian Mcbride, Oscar Pettiford, etc. as you can (there are literally hundreds more that I could list here, but find them for yourself! It’s a fun journey finding bass players and music that you like).

  3. Read as much music as you can. Ed Friedland’s book to walking bass lines gave me a great start (…). Then, go from there and find other stuff you like! Pick up a real book and start memorizing changes and build walking lines from there. The Charlie Parker Omnibook is a little more advanced, but there’s a lot of good stuff in there. The possibilities of this one are endless, so grab some music and start reading!

  4. It looks like you’re already doing this, but find a teacher you like studying with and study with them. Bring them things you’re working on outside of class and force them to help you with them (transcriptions, difficult passages of music, etc.).

  5. Learn your theory! Knowing how to differentiate different types of chords and different inversions will teach you what to play where.

  6. This one is probably the most obvious, but definitely the most important. PRACTICE YOUR ASS OFF! All of the things you work on are useless if you don’t take them to the woodshed.

Learning music (especially jazz) is a lifelong endeavor, and though it might just “click” for you one day, it’s never something you stop improving on. I study jazz bass at the collegiate level, so feel free to PM me if you have any questions. I hope this helps. (:


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Ed Friedland

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Hal Leonard

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Building Walking Bass Lines (Bass Builders)

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