This is the first in a series of lessons devoted to creating your own basslines. This lesson deals with doubling the bass drum pattern of a song and the pedalling rock style.

Lesson Plan

Today we will focus on creating riffs from a linear perspective rather than the short motif style explored in the creating bass riffs lessons. While focussing on rhythm, this lesson will cover:

  • Where to start when creating a bass line
  • How to double the kick drum pattern to find the rhythm
  • How to adapt the rhythm to get the right feel for a track

Creating A Part From A Chord Chart

Imagine you have been given the following chord chart at a gig and need to come up with a suitable bass line:

Firstly, make a note of the elements you can’t change, including the:

  • Key
  • Style and feel
  • Tempo
  • Chord progression

In our chord chart, these are:

Key – C major

Style – Straight pop

Tempo – 110bpm

Chord Progression:

Intro[: I | V | ii | vi V :]

Pre Chorus
IV V | vi | IV V | I
IV V | vi | IV | V

I | V | IV | IV
I | V | V | V

To begin building a bass line, you need to know what rhythmic pattern you need. The kick drum pattern will give you an indication of the groove and can be doubled on bass to solidify the rhythm. If we pick apart the first drum pattern from the video we get this:

(1) + 2 (+) (3) + 4 + 

( ) = Kick drum beat 

From this, we can build a basic bass line using just the root notes from the chart.

The video has a few examples of how different kick drum patterns depict a different feel on the bass. Have a play through them to see how changing the rhythm can give a completely new feel to the original chord progression.

Note Length

Rhythm isn’t just about note placement, it also includes note length. The amount of time you hold a note for has a huge effect on the overall feel of a song. There are two main ways to play a note, they are:

Legato – Holding a note for its full length

Staccato – Cutting a note off short

These are both extremes and it is much more common to play somewhere in the middle and end a note just before the next. Have a play around with different note lengths to get a feel for when each one would work best.

Backing Tracks

Drum Beat #1

Drum Beat #2

Drum Beat #3

Drum Beat #4

Drum Beat #5

Drum Beat With Fill

Song Drum Beat

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