Walking Bass Lines & Octaves Bass
In this lesson Jon takes us through some left hand variations on a 12 bar blues including walking bass lines and the New Orleans style tuba bass lines.
Shuffle Left Hand Patterns
So far we’ve mainly been playing a simple shuffle-style left hand pattern which uses the root, fifth and sixth. After a while you don’t notice it, as long as it’s done right it hums along in the background.
Walking Bass Patterns For The Blues
However, there are lots of other options available for the left hand. One of these is a walking bass pattern where we play octaves in the left hand. It’s great to practice this regularly so that your hand becomes familiar with the feeling of stretching an octave:
New Orleans Style Bass Lines
There’s no limit to the range of left hand phrases that you can introduce. As you move away from a strict shuffle, you start to get closer to a New Orleans kind of feel. The role of the bass in early New Orleans marching bands was played by a tuba and this style is mirrored in the New Orleans piano style.
If you start utilising variations in the left hand, which is propelling the music, and move from one variation to another it’s another way of adding and sustaining interest in what is essentially a simple three chord, twelve bar structure.
Walking Bass Lines Patterns File Type: pdf
Walking Bass Line Transcriptions File Type: pdf
Octave Walking Bass Demo File Type: midi
Shuffle & Octave Bass Demo File Type: midi
New Orelans Walking Bass Demo File Type: midi
Playing this kind of walking bass line requires you to be comfortable with playing octaves in the left hand.
If this is tricky try playing scales first with both notes together as Jon suggests in the video.
There are two main patterns for the New Orleans bass line that Jon uses in his example. The first one is in the first four bars and then he switches to a different pattern in the next four.
- Playing along with recordings can be a great way of working on your feel.