In this bass guitar lesson, I’m going to show you my ‘5 Point Masterplan System’. There’s are the 5 skills that all bass players need to create bass lines that sound and feel great.
For the whole of this lesson we are using a track called ‘Taking It Home’
This track is based on the extremely common chord sequence of I - VI - IV -V. Hundreds, if not thousands of songs have been written using this sequence.
||: I | VI | IV | V :||
Here is the 4 bar chord sequence from ‘Taking It Home’ in the key of C major:
||: C | Am | F | G :||
Just before we move on it’s worth mentioning that all of the examples used in today’s lesson are based 100% on the C Major Scale.
Point 1 - Chord Mastery
The first thing we need to do is be able to locate the root notes all over the neck. This simple chord fingerboard diagram will help you do just that:
1 = C | 4 = F | 5 = G | 6 = A
Point 2 - Groove Mastery
Next we’re going to create our ‘groove’ by lining up to the pattern and play by the drummer’s kick drum. The counting is written above.
Point 3 - Adding Passing Notes
Using the C Major Scale next we’re going add in a simple pass note to connect each chord together. This is either going to be an Upper Approach Note (U/A) or Lower Approach Note (L/A). This example mixes up Lower & Upper Approach Notes across 8 bars so you can see a few different variations of this at work.
Point 4 - Creating Fills
Let’s add in a fill. The perfect place to start experimenting adding fills is at the end of a phrase or sequence. Here it’s bar 4. The fill has a bracket above it.
TIP: Just for variety I’ve created a slightly different bass line for bars 1-3. Try fusing the passing notes from ‘Point 3’ with the fill from ‘Point 4’ and see what happens!
Point 5 - Riff Mastery
Lastly try creating ‘Riffs’ - a repeated pattern that we can move through the chord sequence. This riff is in the style of a Motown song and used the Root, 5th & Octave for each chord.
Lesson Wrap Up
That concludes our lesson for 5 important skills that bass players need! I hope you have learned much. Take your time in doing these exercises and also try to integrate it whenever you play so you can step up a level higher in playing.
Good luck and get stuck in!