Joe Dart is a modern day bass phenom. His fingerstyle funk bass grooves are at the heart of the Vulfpeck sound and Dean Town is the MUST KNOW bass line of the modern era in much the same way that Teen Town has been a bass players rite of passage since the original Jaco Pastorius recording with Weather Report in 1977.

In this lesson I’ll be breaking down and showing you how to play Dean Town bass line. I’ll also be giving tips on how to approach learning the entire ‘melody’ section by way of ‘chunking’.

Dean Town Bass Lesson and Tab

The main intro bass line is actually a relatively straightforward pedalling bass on root notes – which I introduce here so you get a flavour for the chord change you’ll be playing along too, as well as the speed and general tonality. What you might find tricky even here is the speed and consistency of those notes. It’s important to relax your hand as much as possible to keep your stamina up. And with the constant run of sixteenth notes, you might want to use one of the slower backing tracks first to get used to moving your fingers in the right rhythm before working up to full speed.

Of course, where the track gets really interesting is Joe D’art’s splendid solo part that characterises the track. Essentially this is an F# minor Dorian scale, which I’ve written as A major.

The main thing about Dean Town’s bassline is that it sounds more improvised than anything else with very little repetition – meaning it is a relatively long piece to learn. I find the only way to approach lines like this is to break them into shorter, more manageable chunks. There are lots of ways to play the notes, so I’ve tried to find the way that minimises hand movement and allows you to relax. Notice also the picking style: you’re looking to get very staccato notes to get the right funky feel.

There are lots of grace notes and little chordal features, and I’m afraid the only way to learn this piece is to work through it piece by piece. Hard work, but rewarding!

Practice Tracks:

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