#1
Hi.

I've been into jazz for only a couple of years now and I'm still just a beginner in the field, so keep that in mind.

I'm just asking for y'all opinion on this walking bass line. I pretty much just tried to connect chord tones with chromatics for a flowing bassline.



TAB left in just in case I screwed up the notation somehow.

I guess the question is just: if I pulled this in a jam, would I get shot? It's supposed to be a line in ii-V-I. I guess the ii and V chords have kind of a 11th feel to them, but I wanted to connect the tones with as little gaps as I could, so I guess they're 11th chords now. Any feedback would be appreciated.
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#2
Without context, it honestly looks like V-IV x2 in G? It looks okay as a bassline but I don't have any context otherwise.
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you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
#3
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Without context, it honestly looks like V-IV x2 in G? It looks okay as a bassline but I don't have any context otherwise.


The context is pretty much just that it's a bassline I thought about recording so I could improvise over it, nothing fancy

And I see what you mean. The idea was that it moves from D to F and then chromatically to A to cover the Dm chord, then from D to B to G to cover the G chord, and then from G to E to C for the C chord and then repeat, but I might have messed up the idea.
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#4
I haven't looked at your post yet, but in big band writing the general guideline for a walking bass is:
(Assuming 4/4) 3 chord tones and one non chord tone that either leads up or down to a chord tone of the next chord. All crotchets.


Get good at this first, then have a play around with different rhythms and stuff.
Last edited by GoldenGuitar at Jan 9, 2016,
#5
Well I certainly followed none of those guidelines I don't really have any education in jazz in particular so I've probably missed a lot of tips like this. Thanks.
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#6
Crotchets and minims tho :') Can't remember the alternate names for quarters and eighths without looking them up atm.

Walking up/down scales is an okay practice too, but chord tones on 1 and 3 definitely makes things clearer from my experience.

Favorite walking bass moment:
Db|Ab|Gb|Db| x2 Ebm|Ab|Db|Bbm|Gb|F|Bb

Bass went Gb-Db-Bb-A-F-C-A-F-Bb.

2¢!
Glad to cross paths with you on this adventure called life
Quote by Jet Penguin
lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
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you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
#7
walking bass is 99% for texture and movement, so using tones that clash with the chord will bring unnecessary attention to the bass
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#8
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The context is pretty much just that it's a bassline I thought about recording so I could improvise over it, nothing fancy

And I see what you mean. The idea was that it moves from D to F and then chromatically to A to cover the Dm chord, then from D to B to G to cover the G chord, and then from G to E to C for the C chord and then repeat, but I might have messed up the idea.
That means the chords are changing in weird places. 3 beats on Dm? 2 beats (across the barline?) for G??
It's also normal for walking bass to hit the chord root first. Not always, but more often than not.

It looks to me more like a ii-V-I-IV in C (Dm-G-C-F), 2 beats per chord, but you need G instead of G# on beat 3 (bars 1 and 3).
#9
Quote by jongtr
That means the chords are changing in weird places. 3 beats on Dm? 2 beats (across the barline?) for G??
It's also normal for walking bass to hit the chord root first. Not always, but more often than not.

It looks to me more like a ii-V-I-IV in C (Dm-G-C-F), 2 beats per chord, but you need G instead of G# on beat 3 (bars 1 and 3).


I did realize that myself shortly after posting But I've had a lot of helpful insight from this thread. I started learning jazz bass about yesterday so I'm not sure what I expected, but this has all been pretty helpful.
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#10
To me it sounds like Dm or D major - C major. And to me it sounds like it's in the key of D.
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#11
Well, this is certainly getting interesting. I'm so clueless about writing basslines that it can be interpreted in 3 different keys.

But I guess mags kind of outlined my problem here - I didn't really listen to the line. I didn't try to improvise or hum over it or anything, I just kind of wrote it mechanically. I tried to write something in C, I came up with a line that sounded good to me, but I didn't pay attention to it further to see if it actually sounds like it's in C.

Now that we're here, can anyone name drop some jazz standards with nice bass playing? Maybe something tonal and relatively simple, so that I could study further how these things work in context.
Quote by Jet Penguin
Theory: Not rules, just tools.

Quote by Hail
*note that by fan i mean that guy who wants his friends to know he knows this totally obscure hip band that only he knows about with 236 views on youtube. lookin' at Kev here
#12
You don't necessarily need to use chromatics, unless you run out of notes to "walk" between the chords. Of course you CAN, but it's perfectly fine for most if it to be completely diatonic.
Last edited by Elintasokas at Jan 9, 2016,
#13
Quote by Elintasokas
You don't necessarily need to use chromatics, unless you run out of notes to "walk" between the chords. Of course you CAN, but yeah.


I am completely ready to admit that I overuse chromatics a lot.

Is it a common practice to use the seventh of the chord in the bassline by the way?
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Theory: Not rules, just tools.

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*note that by fan i mean that guy who wants his friends to know he knows this totally obscure hip band that only he knows about with 236 views on youtube. lookin' at Kev here
#14
Quote by Kevätuhri
I am completely ready to admit that I overuse chromatics a lot.

Is it a common practice to use the seventh of the chord in the bassline by the way?

It doesn't matter. The walking notes are just something you connect the important strong beats with. (which most often are the root note of the chord)

When you write a "walking bass" it doesn't really need to be strictly walking up and down either. You can mix it up with fifths jumps, octaves, outlining a triad, whatever else, unless the style, of course, calls for a strictly walking bass.

But like Hail said, the more dissonant your bass line is (using chromatics) the more attention it usually gets from the listener. Walking from a bass note to another diatonically always sounds fine.
Last edited by Elintasokas at Jan 9, 2016,
#15
Quote by Kevätuhri at #33768805
Now that we're here, can anyone name drop some jazz standards with nice bass playing? Maybe something tonal and relatively simple, so that I could study further how these things work in context.



But why stick with jazz only?


Rock 'n Roll in general is known for having more walking bass than normal.

General guide here.
Glad to cross paths with you on this adventure called life
Quote by Jet Penguin
lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
Quote by Hail
you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
#17
Start by writing a chord progression, then figure out your bassline. It doesn't have to be entirely chromatic movement. You can use scales and arpeggios in combination with chromatic approach tones to get to the next chord. Try to land on the root of the chord right on the beat that it changes to that chord so that the progression is super clear.
#19
That looks useful, I'll check it out. Thanks for the recs.
Quote by Jet Penguin
Theory: Not rules, just tools.

Quote by Hail
*note that by fan i mean that guy who wants his friends to know he knows this totally obscure hip band that only he knows about with 236 views on youtube. lookin' at Kev here
#20
from ii to V you could do

4/4 all quarters

Walking down: DCBA G DAFF# G DCAAb G

Walking up: DEFF# G DFAAb G DEFD G

If you're moving in 5ths going up the arp and then down a half step always works, like the second walking up example
Last edited by Duaneclapdrix at Jan 10, 2016,