Today I’m going to be breaking down the main chorus riff from an 80s classic and one of the coolest bass lines of that era.  It’s Footloose by Kenny Loggins and the bass line was played by the legendary Nathan East!

Footloose Chorus Riff

This classic line by the legenday Nathan East is essentially in A – but one thing you’ll notice if you try to play along with the original recording is that it isn’t actually at concert pitch! To truly play along you’d have to learn the song in B flat, which is a real nightmare. Better just to learn it in A to take advantage of open strings, and if you do need to play along with the original simply tune your bass up that half step.

It’s a pretty long melodic line to learn so I’d recommend breaking it into 4 parts and learning each one separately before putting them all together.

The first section is driven off the open A string with a nice little move from a dissonant F# to G – a kind of twist on a classic rock ‘n’ roll walking line. Then we move to the D string for a similar pattern then back down to the A string again (and this move from A7 to D7 is effectively the chord change of the verse)

The second part is very similar but has a really cool bend down for extra flavour. A lot of beginner bassists struggle with bending strings, so check out my tips for bending notes on bass.

The third section has a tasty little chromatic run from C to A – and you could play this wherever feels most comfortable for you. I tend to play all the notes on the E string; it makes it a little easier to play the little turnaround on the open E immediately afterwards.

The final part is very similar again in general technique and style, but includes the punchy little stop that marks the entrance of the chorus.

Practice Tracks

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