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.
P.S. For a complete guide to Walking Bass Lines be sure to check out the full course here
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:
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:
C Maj7 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:
C Maj7 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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