In this bass guitar lesson we’re going to learn the Stevie Wonder classic ‘Isn’t She Lovely’. This song is often seen in many different musical contexts from a straight ‘pop song’, to an instrumental piece which jazz musicians improvise over, to solo bass arrangements by players such as Victor Wooten.
On the outset the bass line can sound very complicated... but the trick is to understand the simple structure which is running through the whole of this piece.
Once Isn’t She Lovely is simplified it’s a great tune for beginner to intermediate bass players to understand and master.
In this lesson I’m going to show you how to simplify the bass part to Isn’t She Lovely into 3 core ideas or elements.
Isn’t She Lovely Backing Track
The backing track used in this bass guitar lesson can be found as part of ‘The Backing Track Vault’ inside The Bass Lab PLUS membership. To join FREE today with a 14 day trial click here - join the Bass Lab PLUS.
The 3 Core Ideas
To simplify this song here are the 3 core elements I suggest you discover:
Shuffle Groove - it’s important to understand that this piece is based on a shuffle groove or feel. This means each beat is divided into 3 or triplets. The basic shuffle groove I suggest you learn is written out in the first 3 notes of each bar.
16 Bar Chord Sequence - There is one 16 bar chord sequence which repeats throughout the whole of this song. I suggest breaking it down into two 8 bar subsections. (Bars 1-8 & bars 9-16)
Unison Phase - In the last two bars of every 16 bar sequence there is a two bar musical phase where the whole band plays the same notes together. This is largely based on triplets (3 notes per beat) and the E Major Pentatonic Scale. I suggest using the one finger per fret fingering system and playing it slowly to begin with and gradually ramping up the tempo.
Improvising Bass Lines Over Isn’t She Lovely
This song is very versatile and there are many different approaches you could take to creating bass lines over this piece. Learning Walking Bass is a great place to start and will give you many ideas that will fit.To give a simple idea to get going (from The Rock, Pop & Motown Bass Line Creation Course inside the Bass Lab PLUS) I’m going to demonstrate a device called ‘The Two Note Chromatic Approach’. This is where you approach each root note from two half steps above. These are the last two notes of each bar written out below.
Lesson Wrap Up
Isn’t She Lovely is a great tune for beginner to intermediate bass players to learn and it’s a fantastic vehicle for starting to learn how to improvise and develop your own bass lines.
If you want to take the contents of this lesson to the next level I suggest studying the Essential Walking Bass Course or the Rock, Pop & Motown Bass Line Creation Course inside The Bass Lab PLUS.
The Bass Lab PLUS is 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!