By the pack, I of course mean the common names that everybody cites as their lead influences and idols in the bass world.

This question can really be applied to most any instrument and may even seem worthy of a move, but I'll let that be decided...I'd rather start at the bass up.

I want to know how exactly parts to these songs are created...example at hand will be Jaco Pastorius's part in "Teen Town".



First off: What scale is this? But that isn't the most important question. Given some time I'd figure it out, but others may jump on it like wolves.

I've played bass for 5 years, but strictly by ear: I enter college next year, and I am registered for music classes. I also intend to take outer-college classes, because I've been aching to learn theory for a long time and the books and whatnot aren't working out as well as I'd like. So, with this in mind, I wonder THIS:

The notes may all be in one scale (I assume), but is there any reason why they are played in THAT order? I mean, yeah, that's "the song"....but is there anything important about the relation of...say, note 6 (G) to the following note (D# [or Eb, somebody told me that when it comes to scales, flats-the-business, not sharps])?

It's easy enough for me to play a blues scale or minor pentatonic and just rip it up and down and plug random notes OUT of it...and most of the time, it sounds pretty good. But when I look at creations such as this, I don't know where the structure CAME from.
well a lot of walking bass line rules apply to this i guess, because:

you have to look at the chord progression (if there is one), see if some notes are leading up to the next chord, if he's arepeggiating/ascending/descending the notes in one chord etc.

it seems to me if it had a progression, those first two bars (in guitar pro it puts that riff into 2 bars), would kinda go like "C , E, C#, B" with the C# being out of key, seems like its in the Key of C (probly myxolidian or something similair but i dont feel like working on that assumption)

so lets say that from the first note to the 6 on the A string, you're doing a Cmin7 chord, i believe. He plays the root 3 times(octave once) stressing that it's a C, and he plays 3 on the G string to show the b7th, the 5 on the D string because chords like to have 5ths :P and the 6 on the A to: either lead up to the next chord, or show G as a Min chord, take it how you will, its mostly how it sounds to you.

then break it down like that for each thing. If you ask me, thats a pretty simple riff, he stays around the shape, uses some double stops to stress chords, ascends and descends the scales of the chord he's on, and just does average bassline things, but in this case, much faster.

Maybe that will help....

And the structure came from Jaco's head. Music is all creativity, and theory is only the backbone. You are trying to follow some kind of equation that isn't there. What made Jaco great, was that he could take his knowledge of these scales and make elaborate, beautiful songs. He put these notes in that order because it sounded good, basically.

I hope that helps... and good luck in college.

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Last edited by Incubus_SCIENCE at Jun 10, 2006,
Yeah, I am diving in a little too deep and falling into the "equation" rut. The problem is, I have no musical training whatsoever...save for what I deem audibly "pleasing".

I can't read music, either I'll be hopefully picking all that up in the near future. And I'll save those music sheets so that I can compare them and hopefully learn from them.

Thanks for the responses