Today, I’m going to share with you 7 things you need to work on if you want to learn walking bass. These things will help you build the foundation needed to learn walking bass successfully.

Sweet Georgia Brown

During This lesson we’ll refer to the Jazz standard Sweet Georgia Brown. Below we have the chord chart and track:

Chord Chart:

Practice Track:

Number #1: Notes On The Fretboard

There’s no real way around this, you’re just going to have to know the notes on your bass! You will be weaving your bass line through a chord progression. Test yourself by playing the root notes for each chord in the progression first, then move to the octave of each root. As you play through the chart you’ll see just how important this knowledge is.

Watch Video Here

Number #2: Chord Tones

Chord tones are the notes of a chord and you can’t outline the chords in a walking bass line without them! Scales and chromatic passing notes are great, but they all work around the chord tones. By learning arpeggios you are learning the chord tones, learn the triads and seventh notes to master this. To practice this, just play the corresponding arpeggios for each chord in the progression.

Watch Video Here

Chord Tones Essentials Course

Number #3: Harmony Knowledge

By having an understanding of how chords work together in a given key, you’ll have a great foundation for building a weaving line. You’ll know what scale will work over the chords and what pentatonic, arpeggios and modes will sound good. If you’re confused by some of the chords mentioned in this video, then take a look at my video on Jazz Harmony.

A great way to really learn about theory is to learn to read music, if you want to get into this then check out the Simple Steps to Sight Reading course.

Number #4: Listen To Walking Lines

Listen to great walking bass lines from Jazz and Blues artists for inspiration, sometimes we an get a little too caught up the the harmony and theory that we forget what’s most important; listening! I recommend checking out Ray Brown, Ron Carter, Paul Chambers and many more. So listen to the recording of this piece before attempting to play it just from the chart.

Number #5: Write Walking Lines

Improvising requires you to compose a line on the fly, this is why we need to get into the habit of writing our own bass lines to the chord chart provided using all the scales and arpeggios we’ve learned. Do this as a exercise to get yourself into this mode, take your time and work it out bar by bar.

Number #6: Learn Walking Lines

Learn pre-composed walking bass lines, this will help you build up your vocabulary. As you learn more, you will see certain lines and phrases popping up time and time again. This is also a great way to see how other players work around the chord progressions.

Number #7: Two Feel

Work on your two feel before moving on to walking in four, it’s less stressful to start with then four as you are constantly moving and having to plan one step ahead. Two feel gives you space and time to think about where you’re going and sounds just as good when starting out. Here, you play two notes per bar on beats 1 and 3 as shown in the example below.

Practice Track:

Simple Steps to Walking Bass

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