What Is A Walking Bass Line?
A walking bass line is simply a melodic bass line found mainly in jazz and blues styles in which you ‘walk’ around in quarter notes connecting the chords.
We can create a walking bass line over the following twelve-bar blues chord progression:
Instead of having a few different things to try in this lesson, we are going to learn a written bass line around those twelve bars. This way, you can practice getting used to the sound and the style without having to worry too much about coming up with the notes on the spot. Work through the following bass line and analyse the note choices – this will help you come up with your own lines in the future.
Bar 1: Starts on the root of C and walks down the C Mixolydian scale to F.
Bar 2: Approaches the C in bar 3 chromatically from A.
Bar 3: Walks up the C7 arpeggio and comes back down the scale to F.
Bar 5 – 6: Descends F7 and walks up to C chromatically.
Bar 7 – 8: Walks through the notes of C7 with chromatic tones filling the gaps.
Bar 9: Uses the tones of G7 to lead into F.
Bar 10: Walks chromatically down to C.
Bar 9: Leads back to C chromatically from G.
Here is the TAB/notation for all of the arpeggios and scales we have used in this lesson: