In today’s bass guitar lesson I’m going to show you how to play Crazy Little Thing Called Love By Queen.
This song has a classic Rock ‘n’ Roll style walking bass line and I’m going to show you how to approach creating the bass lines focusing on just the chords of the song.
I’ve seen it time and time again, once students start ‘thinking in chord sequences’ (rather than single notes) the possibilities really start opening up.
It makes it easier to learn and memorise songs and it makes it far simpler to create and improvise your own bass lines ...using the whole of the neck.
Crazy Little Thing Called Love can be broken down into two core sections and 3 smaller sub sections. The two main sections are the Verse and the Bridge. Learn these first.
Then finally learn the Guitar Solo, Breakdown and Outro because there are a few subtle elements it’s important to know.
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Chord Sequence For The Verse
The most important thing is to learn the chord sequence to the 12 bar verse section first of all. For a bass line just play 4 quarter note root notes per bar.
You can play these root notes anywhere on the neck. To begin with I’d play the D on the 5th fret on the D string, G at the 5th fret on the D string and the C at the 5th Fret on the G string.
The Bb & C (in bar 10) I would play at the 1st fret on the A string and 3 on the fret A string respectively.
There is a stop on beat one of bar 12 - this means beats 2, 3 & 4 are silent.
D Major Triad Shape
To start creating a bass line the best place to start is the ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Triad Shape’. Here it is in the key D. To shift the key just move the shape!
Play the root with a first finger, the third with your first finger and the fifth with your fourth finger, with your fretting hand.
Using Rock ‘N’ Roll Style Triad Walking Bass Line Over The Verse
Here is a simple way to apply the Rock ‘N’ Triad shape to Crazy Little Thing Called Love. I’ve created a simple triad pattern of Root, 3rd, 5th, 3rd.
For Chords which last one bar (or 4 beats) use the Triad Pattern and for chords which last two beats just play simple root notes.
Section 2 - Bridge
This is where things get interesting!
As bass players there are times when we want the freedom to improvise and create our bass lines by thinking in chords and there are times when we need to think in more ‘composed’, set bass lines.
The first 4 bars of the bridge is a simple 4 bar chord sequence where you can use the Rock ‘N’ Roll Triad Shape.Bars 5 - 12 are better if they have a set bass line. Here’s what you need to know:
Bars 5 & 6 uses a 2 bar descending Bb Major Scale.
Bars 9 - 11 use ‘broad triplets’ or ‘triplet quarter notes’. This is where 3 notes are placed in the time of two beats of the bar. To place these notes accurately tap your foot only only on beats 1 & 3 (as opposed to all 4 beats)
There’s a simple descending Rock ‘n’ Roll style walking bass run down in bar 12 which leads back into the verse.
The guitar solo is very similar to the bridge. There are two small differences:
The Chords in bars 1 - 4 have changes. Use the Triad Shape to create your bass line.
There is a ‘Stop’ on bar 12. This leads us into the Vocal Breakdown.
All you have to do is count 11 bars and then play the descending Rock ‘N’ Roll Run Down in bar 12.
At the end of the song there is a two bar repeated section or ‘vamp’. This is where you can really start having some fun and improvising. This loops round and round.
Lesson Wrap Up
If you find it hard to learn or memorise songs, thinking in chord sequences will be a game changer. It will allow you to zoom out and see songs from the 40,000 ft view perspective…
If you need more help thinking in chord sequences or learning songs like Crazy Little Thing Called Love make sure you check out The Bass Lab PLUS.
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Good luck and get stuck in!