In this week's bass guitar lesson we’re going to learn how to improvise Walking Bass lines in less than 5 minutes.
Many students find the term ‘improvisation’ inhibiting… however, I believe learning to improvise Walking Bass lines is straightforward, especially if you use my tool ‘Walking Bass Cell Builder’ that I’m going to show you.
A common misconception is that every single note of a Walking Bass Line is ‘improvised’... when in reality it’s more about building up a ‘mental library’ of bass lines that will work in any given situation.
In this module we’re going to take the legendary Van Morrison song ‘Moondance’ and show you how to build bass lines over the 16 bar verse section.Make sure you also check out the previous eBassGuitar lesson on How To Play Moondance if you wish to learn the whole song from the beginning.
Backing Tracks For This Bass Guitar Lesson
First of all ...If you want to get the backing track used in this lesson it’s available inside ‘The Backing Track Vault’ as part of the Bass Lab PLUS Membership.You can join free today with a 14 day trial - join the Bass Lab PLUS
Understanding The Verse
For the purposes of this lesson we can think of the verse of Moondance as simply 16 bars of an A Minor Chord. To begin with I would ensure you are super familiar with the A Natural Minor Scale:
Introducing The Walking Bass Cell Builder
When playing Walking Bass most bass players have a ‘mental library’ of short Walking Bass Lines that work in any given situation.
Here I have created 5 one bar Walking Bass Lines or ‘Cells’ as I like to think of them as.
All of these ‘cells’ work directly over the chord of Am. There are two simple steps to the Walking Bass Cell Builder:
Learn The 5 Walking Bass Lines (or cells) one by one and loop them until you are comfortable and locked in with the backing track.
Once comfortable, simply ‘randomize’ the cell in any order. This will give you the effect of an ‘improvised’ Walking Bass Line. Don’t forget you can repeat cells multiple times and it’ll work. I.e. You do not need to be changing cell every bar or measure.
For this lesson I have deliberately kept this concept very simple by just using the range of the first 5 notes of the A Minor Scale.
Please do not underestimate the simplicity of this - all of these bass lines are ‘real world’ and exactly the kind of thing I would play live!
Walking Bass Line or Cell 2
Walking Bass Line or Cell 3
Walking Bass Line or Cell 4
Walking Bass Line or Cell 5
Lesson Wrap Up
Learning to improvise Walking Bass Lines in my view is the fastest way of supercharging every aspect of your bass guitar playing.
Learning Walking Bass will enable you to understand how to create bass lines over even the most complicated chords; it will enable you to learn how to use the whole of the fingerboard and improve your timing and rhythm. It has everything!
Inside the Bass Lab PLUS you can gain access to the Essential Walking Bass Course which will allow you to learn Walking Bass from the ground upwards.
The Bass Lab PLUS is a complete program for the beginner to intermediate bass player - Join FREE Today with a 14 day trial.
All Bass Lab PLUS 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!