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Old 07-19-2013, 10:15 AM   #1
UseYourThumb
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Thumbs up Walking a jazz line?

Alright, so I'm just looking for a little direction here. It seems like I can fake it pretty well but I feel like something's missing.
I played bass instead of guitar for this song in my normal trio. Let me know what I can do here:
Alfie- jazz trio
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Old 08-08-2013, 01:28 PM   #2
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Walking bass is (in it's very basics) made up of 2 components.

Chord Tones and leading tones.

What you want to do is analyze whatever chord progression you are playing over and find the smoothest transition between chords. Like for example, if you are playing over a Am7 leading into a D7, a good way to play over that (if we are playing with a normal quarter note rhythm) would be for example A - C - E - Eb and then landing on D when the D7 comes.

The reason why the Eb works is cause it's a leading tone into D7, most of the time you can get away with playing a note a semi-tone above or below a chord tone if you land on a chord tone afterwards.

I could go into more detail about this, but i think that is a good start. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.
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Old 08-17-2013, 11:30 PM   #3
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Thanks for that. That's a real great explanation for someone recently being introduced to the skill but I was looking for a little different. While you described the theory behind walking, I'm asking for something that will break my boring lines that are throughout this video. I really don't want to be stuck playing chord tones and leading tones in the same register for entire songs.
I hope you understand what I am saying.
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Old 08-18-2013, 09:40 AM   #4
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It's a matter of experimentation and exploration.
Guaranteed, you're going to sound good if you hit chord tones on beats 1 and 3 and passing tones in 2 and 4. But you're right: How do you mix this up?

1. Think about inversions of chords:
Instead of seeing Am7 as A-C-E-G, think of it as C-E-G-A or G-A-C-E. This will cause your brain to not focus on seeing Am7 and instantly going "A. HIT THE A. ITS THE ROOT YOU HAVE TO PLAY THE ROOT. A. A. A." Which a lot of bass players fall into and this is the main factor which tires out walking lines and makes them uninteresting and not melodic.

Thinking in terms of inversions also leads to my second point
2. Use larger (or smaller) intervals.
When we're learning walking bass lines, we're trying to think of whats the smoothest way to get from point Am7 to point D7 (huehuehue) and most of the time the answer is something scalar.
A-B-C-C#-|-D
A-A-B-C-|-D
Or arpeggiated like the instance in the 1st reply. But once you try to get out of that and make more disjunct lines that still hit chord tones and passing tones in a logical way (I won't define logical because that's part of the experimentation and partly understanding voice leading in certain circumstances. You really just develop an ear for it over time) you come up with interesting and melodic lines ezpz.

We should get on Skype some time and talk about this more in real time if you'd like some more in-depth lessons on walking.
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Old 08-21-2013, 08:00 AM   #5
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That is starting to clear things up. Thanks a lot for the in depth reply. I think I know where I can go to next and practice for a bit. Your effort is greatly appreciated
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Old 08-21-2013, 04:27 PM   #6
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Check out this book. I don't have it, but it's gotten good reviews, and seems to be a well balanced and straight forward approach.

http://www.amazon.com/Walking-Bassi...a/dp/1883217504

My personal feelings, if you want a more "jazzy" type sound, would be to lose the frets, play over the FB and put a piece of foam at the bridge to squelch the sustain a bit. Also, you can't go wrong with the Aebersold play along CDs. And listen as much as you can to the great jazz bassists.
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