Walking Bass Lesson With Funky Triplets: Two Simple Tips

2018-11-13T11:19:55+00:00November 9th, 2018|6 Comments

This week we’re going to look at some of those cool little triplet drops you’ll hear in more advanced walking bass lines. I spent forever trying to work out the best way to add them into my playing and in this lesson I’ll give you two simple tips that will get you on your feet.

The Chord Progression

In this lesson we’ll be using a simple 251 chord progression in C major as our backdrop for applying these triplets. That gives us Dm7, G7 and Cmaj7 for a bar each and we’ll use A7 as a turnaround bar:

Tip #1 – Triad Drops

So there are a bunch of different ways you can add triplets into your walking lines but the majority of them involve playing through the notes of the chord you’re playing over. That means using good old chord tones.  So for my first tip we’re just going to look at a simple way of dropping  down the notes of  a triad.

To begin with need to know the notes of a triad. If you need any help with understanding triads just check out this lesson.

For our basic major and minor triads on a root note of C we would have the following:

C Major:


To create our raked triplet we need a different fingering than the popular shapes above. Let’s try a couple of patterns starting at a high root note, descending through the notes across three strings:

The major triad will be used for major based chords like the maj7 or dominant 7 and the minor triad will be used for minor 7 chords.

So now we can add those triplets into some sample bass lines through our chord progression. We’ll add one to each chord in turn below:

Dm7 Triplet:

G7 Triplet:

C Maj7 Triplet:

A7 Triplet:

Tip #2 – Open Strings

So that’s one quick way of adding triplets into your lines. The other way is pretty similar but we’re going to use an open string as a ghost note.

With this triplet we’ll play two chord tones raked across two strings followed by an open string. So this all takes place across two strings. Applied to a Dm7 chord we might have the following:

This is a really easy way of applying triplets because we only have to think of two chord tones. We could apply this technique to our chord progression again with the following lines:

Dm7 Triplet:

G7 Triplet:

C Maj7 Triplet:

A7 Triplet:

So that’s two simple ways of adding triplets into your walking bass lines. Now there are obviously many different ways to add triplets. It’s just a rhythm after all, but by focusing on a couple of simple techniques to begin with, you can get started, build up a bit of confidence and then start to diversify by adding more choices into your vocabulary.

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  1. Jorge Martins November 9, 2018 at 3:08 pm - Reply

    Not only a terrific bass player but also a very good tutor, thanks for your input it has made me more confident

  2. douglas wiegmann November 9, 2018 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    Great lesson Mark. Thank you!

  3. Justice November 9, 2018 at 8:09 pm - Reply

    Please can I get a link where I can download this lessons for free

  4. Tom Blackwell November 10, 2018 at 1:13 pm - Reply

    Good lesson. Well done. Thanks from South Carolina USA

  5. Matjaz November 11, 2018 at 10:42 am - Reply

    Is it possible to download pdf.

  6. Ronen Agranat November 11, 2018 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    Excellent lesson, thank you!

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