Summertime – Simple Walking Bass Tutorial
In this lesson we are going to apply a simple but effective walking bass. A nice place to start out with walking bass lines is to create lines using just the root and 5th in combination with either chromatic or whole step approach tones.
Playing just the root and 5th will help to build your hand independence and prepare you for more advanced study of walking bass lines.
For the purpose of this tutorial we will keep things simple to provide an accessible introduction to this style of playing.
You should also understand that you don’t have to stick exclusively to the bass line, you can temporarily step out and then back in. This is useful when the harmony is static or repetitive, for example, in bars 3/4 and bars 5/6.
When practicing walking bass lines, or any medium to up tempo tune, you should play with the metronome on beats 2 & 4.
In jazz music, the strong beats are on beats 2 & 4, whereas in classical music the strong beats are beats 1 & 3. Playing with the metronome on 2 & 4 will improve your sense of time and also develop a stronger sense of swing.
In jazz bands, you will hear that the drummer hits the hi-hat on beats 2 and 4. If you practice with the metronome on beats 2 and 4, you will become very calibrated with this which will help you stay in time when you are playing in an ensemble setting.
- Try to play as quietly as possible so that the metronome or iRealPro is louder than your playing. This will help you become calibrated with the metronome and your ability to feel the time, not just count it.