In this bass guitar lesson I’m going to show you how to take the humble arpeggio and use it as a device to create useful and above all cool sounding bass lines. We’re going to cover a simple yet extremely powerful device called ‘The Bass Guitar Arpeggio Slide Hack.
One of the traps I’ve seen so many students fall into over the 15 years of teaching the bass guitar is they practice scales and arpeggios as ‘detached’ technical exercises and often struggle to see how to integrate them into their bass lines.
In this lesson I’m going to show you 5 examples of how to take a simple rock bass line and develop it using triads and arpeggios.
The ‘secret sauce’ is tweaking the typical fingering and sliding into either 3rd or 5th… this is a simple ‘hack’ to stop a triad or arpeggio sounding like a dry technical exercise. Make sure you look at the tab to get the optimal fretting for this concept.
Just for total clarity I refer to a triad as meaning the Root, 3rd & 5th and arpeggio as Root, 3rd, Firth & Octave of each respective chord.
Don’t forget the backing track we are using for this lesson is called “Taking It Home” and can be found inside Backing Track Vault, which is in the Bass Lab PLUS Membership.
Simple Rock Bass Line
This is the basic chord sequence and groove used in this lesson. Master this simple I - VI - IV - V pop chord sequence first of all using a standard 8th note rock groove.
In this first example we are going to use a simple 3 note triad for each chord. Slide forward into the 3rd of the chord. The Tabbing below will show you exactly what frets to play.
To develop this a stage further we are going to simply use the 3rd and 5th of the arpeggio as a fill on the 4th beat of the bar.
Next we are going to use the full arpeggio. We’re going to slide into the 3rd of each chord on beat 2+ and create a simple fill on beat 4.
This example slides into the 5th of each chord. It’s very much reminiscent of the style of Motown or James Jamerson.
In this final example idea I’ve created a pumping 8th note style bass riff. This idea is particularly effective when hitting the chorus section of ‘Taking It Home’ to build the energy and intensity.
Lesson Wrap Up
Understanding how to create bass lines using scales, arpeggios and triads is super important skill for bass players to master. Often a simple tweak like the ‘Arpeggio Slide Hack’ is the difference between having a dry sounding exercise and something that sounds super cool in a band or song setting.
If you’re a beginner to intermediate bass player and want to take this lesson to the next level we have a whole bass line creation course called The Rock Pop & Motown Bass Line creation course. inside the Bass Lab PLUS membership. - Join FREE Today with a 14 day trial.
All bass lab courses are easy to understand and simplify complex ideas so bass players in the early phases of learning can make rapid progress and achieve results that impress their friends and family fast.
Good luck and get stuck in!