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Re: walking bass lines, kewl runs,building scales, etc.

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Posted by Rich Laird on February 27, 2001 at 05:48:05:

In Reply to: Re: walking bass lines, kewl runs,building scales, etc. posted by Bob 'Skippy' Blechinger on February 26, 2001 at 03:53:10:

: : How do I establish the understanding of how everything like walking bass lines, runs, and scales mesh together, I mean I can play well, have good dexterity but I have always just followed guitar players. can anyone help me with simple plain understanding of walking lines etc, how do I create one from just about nothing, any suggestions, materials etc that can help,

: Cureus,
: Oh, geez, you don't ask for much, do you? ;-)

: Unfortunately, the subject of constructing a bass line can get quite a bit more technical than I can handle in just one post here on the message board, but I can give you a little bit of a start...

: The first walking bass line that you can learn will go (chromatically): I, III, V, VI, I, VI, V, III, I.

: That translates into (using the low E on the 4th string as a start): E, G#, B, C#, E, C#, B, G#, E.

: More than that, and you start getting into music theory... :-)

: Hope that helps!

: -Bob

Yeah, Bob's right...there's juat a whole lotta stuff that goes into creating good walking bass lines. A lot of it depends on what kind of tunes you're playing, who your're playing with, and all that. It's a combinitaion of knowing some theory and then *creatively* applying the thoery to a specific playing situation.

There is a book called "The Evolving Bassist", by Rufus Reed that has some good ideas that might get you started. It's for both upright bass and bass guitar.
He has some walking lines written out with the chord symbols written over them. I would emphasize, thought, that they're just a beginning...there are soooo many ways to do walking bass - that's what makes it such a gas.

So, make sure you know your chords. Next step is to fit scales in the match the chords. If you're on a Dm7 chord in the key of C, for example, you might want to play notes from the D dorian scale - if you don't see why, it might be time to bone up on that theory!

Once you have that down, you want to try to find ways to bring as much variety and interest into what you're doing - so that your playing doesn't sound like it came out of a theory book. Mix it up with chord fragments, scale fragments, chromatics, and maybe something totally out once in a while.

And you have to do all that with total confidence and precision. Your role is to give the whole band both a rhythmic and harmonic everything has to be right in the groove. Ain't no time to be standing there trying to remember what the hell a flat-9 chord is all about - you've got some kickin' to do!

There....that oughta keep you busy for the next five years or so :)

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