#1
 Hi All!

I have several questions about walking bass in jazz:

1. in jazz standards, when I create a walking over m7 and maj7 chords, should I apply modes over them for the walking purpose? or is it enough to relate a major scale(Ionian) for maj7 chord and minor scale(Aeolian) for m7 chord?
for example, when I create a walking over gm7 chord in Cm scale, should I apply a phrygian mode over it? or just a minor scale(Aeolian) over it?

2.regarding dom7 chords in minor scale, Could I use a (normal) mixolydian mode for any dom7 chord even in minor scale for the walking purpose? Or should I apply a mixolydian b9 b13 mode or another variation of it for dom7 chords in minor scale?

3. I attached a document with 2 instructional walking bass choruses with chromatic approach over blues standard. what is the theory behind them? what are the scales/modes and rules behind them?

Thanks!! 
Attachments:
chromatisism walking.pdf
#2
Why do you need to change the scale? If you are in the key of C major, just emphasize the chord tones and use notes in the C major scale in between the chord tones.

Same thing applies to the minor key.

In a minor key you want to use a b13, not natural 13, over the dominant because that's the minor third of the key and that's what creates the minor sound. Now, whether you should use b9 or natural 9 depends. If we are in the key of C minor and you are walking up from G to the tonic, G-A-B-C will sound a lot more natural than G-Ab-B-C.

I would really suggest getting a good grasp of functional harmony (because bass is the foundation of harmony). You don't need to think about modes when we are talking about functional progressions. Just use chord tones and add notes from the key scale between them, or maybe add some chromatics.

So know what function the chord has and choose the other notes based on that. You want to focus on the main chord tones (root, 3, 5, 7), not that much on the different extensions, because bass is the foundation of harmony. If you use an extension in the bass (and put an emphasis on it), it may actually completely change the function of the chord. For example Cmaj9 with the 9th in bass will actually function as a D13sus4.


When it comes to using chromatics, the most common way is to use a chromatic approach note before the chord change. So for example if the progression is Cm7-F7, you could of course just play something like C-D-Eb-G-F. But now there is a whole step between the target note (F) and the note before it. It may sound a bit smoother if we approach the target note chromatically (a half step below or above the target note). So we could change it to C-D-Eb-E-F or C-Eb-G-Gb-F or something like that.

You could of course use chromatics between the chord tones of the same chord too, for example if the same chord is going to last for a couple of bars. Let's say we are just going to play a walking bassline over a Cm chord. We could play something like C-Bb-A-Ab-G-F-Eb-D-C, etc. Why would we want to use the chromatic line from Bb to G? Because this way the G will fall on a strong beat. It will get more emphasis because it falls on the first beat of the bar. It would sound a bit weird if the note on the first beat was an F or Ab or D or any non-chord tone. The first beat of the bar gets emphasis and you pretty much always want to play a chord tone on it. Otherwise you may accidentally change the function of the chord.

Now, what is happening in the bassline that you posted?

Well, let's check out the first four bars.

F7        Bb7        F7
F A C B | Bb B C E | F F# G G# | A C F A


The B in the first bar is a chromatic approach note (resolves down to Bb chromatically). The second bar is a bit weird because while the first beat is a Bb, the C and E on the third and fourth beats clearly imply a C7 chord (the dominant of F). The B natural on the second beat is a chromatic approach note (resolves up to C chromatically). The chromatic line in the third bar is approaching the A in the fourth bar. We want a chord tone on strong beats so this is why it makes sense to chromatically walk up from F to A.

The note on the first beat of the bar is what matters the most (and this is most of the time going to be the root). The other notes are just a way of getting from one chord tone to another chord tone (in the beginning of the next bar).

The rest of the bars follow the same principles.

Scales aren't really that useful, especially when the chords are changing pretty fast. You can basically ignore them and just focus on playing chord tones and using your ears. I don't think scales are a good starting point for walking bass.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Apr 16, 2017,
#3
Thanks for this great answer!!!!

By changing the function from C major to D13sus4, Do you mean it could happen if I put the 9th of the cmaj9 (D) on the first beat of the measure? On the 3rd beat is it right to do so?
#4
MaggaraMarine 

Good explanation! Thanks!
 
 I always think of this song for that style of bass playing:

;spfreload=10&spfreload=10#t=201.081

As I was walking on my bass one day..........
#5
Quote by Aor82
Thanks for this great answer!!!!

By changing the function from C major to D13sus4, Do you mean it could happen if I put the 9th of the cmaj9 (D) on the first beat of the measure? On the 3rd beat is it right to do so?

The first beat usually gets most emphasis so what you play on the first beat of the bar is usually the most important note. So you may not want to play a 9th on the first beat because it may change the function of the chord. Then again, I'm sure you can make it work. But the general rule is, play a chord tone on the first beat of the bar. That will always work.

When it comes to the third beat, that's not as important as the first beat, but people usually still suggest playing a chord tone on it. But as you can see in the bassline that you posted, the third beat of the third bar is a G over an F7 chord. Why it works is because it's part of a chromatic line.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115