Jazz Organ Walking Bass Lines
Welcome to this lesson on walking bass lines on the Hammond organ.
We’ll be covering some useful walking bass theory and if you’re new to walking bass lines also check out the related lessons below.
Walking Bass On The Hammond
Walking bass is the most common type of bass that you will hear in jazz and jazz blues on the organ. We’re going to play a bass note on every beat and sometimes we will add additional approach notes to enhance the rhythmic feel of the bass lines.
Chord Tones On Strong Beats
When walking bass, it’s important to outline the harmonic structure of the underlying form. We play the root in the bass on the first beat of each chord change. If a chord last longer than 1 bar, we aim to land a chord tone on the first beat of each bar.
Chromatic Approaches In Walking Bass
Chromatic approaches are very common in walking bass lines. We can use the same approaches from right hand improvisation to construct our walking bass lines.
Scalar approaches utilise the notes of the scales associated with the underlying harmony. Scalar approaches can be either a half step or a full step. We explore examples of this and then apply the concept to the jazz blues in F.
Interval Jump Approaches
We can also incorporate interval jumps into our bass line contours. Approaching the target tone from a 5th above or a 4th below is a strong approach to use in bass lines.
Another common approach style is to create an enclosure around the target note from above and below. This is a common device found in right hand improvisation and the same logic applies to constructing walking bass lines.
Walking Bass Line Examples File Type: pdf
Incorporate chromaticism into your bass lines by approaching the chord tones from a half step above or from a half step below.
Familiarise yourself with the scales relating to the underlying harmony and add scale-based passages to your walking bass.
The enclosure is a useful device when constructing walking bass. Study the examples in this lesson and listen to notable recordings for more inspiration.
Some of the most notable figures in jazz organ are Groove Holmes, Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Jack McDuff, Charles Earland, Shirley Scott.
More recent players include Tony Monaco, Larry Goldings, Joey DeFrancesco, Pat Bianchi, Mike LeDonne, Jared Gold, Brian Charette, and many others.