Hi and welcome to the next instalment of play better guitar. Last month we started looking at bass lines that would be played on a guitar in a solo guitar setting. We will now look at a basic accompaniment to the bass line as this style is really fun to play and will require a fair amount of practice. The walking type bass line would be used mostly in a jazz setting but always remember that if you are playing with a bassist then it is better to not play his bass line as he might give you the look and proceed to not talk to you ever again, so always be aware to play the guitar part and stay out of the way of the rest of the band.
WALKING BASS BLUES
So here we have the walking bass line and we have included some chords that harmonize a typical blues progression; it is important that you try and think like a bassist for the bass line. Do this by playing some of the notes staccato and some of the notes legato. You really need to feel the bass line… just playing it is never enough, so aim to make it sound authentic.
There is another style of bass line playing for guitar and it is referred to as Travis picking, named after the great guitarist Merle Travis. This style started out of necessity in a solo guitar setting; afterwards you had guys like Chet Atkins who also made this style of playing his own. In short the style focuses on a quarter note beat bass line that alternates between the root and the other chord tones i.e. b7, 3 and 5th. This can be played using the thumb for the bass note or you could use a flat pick with hybrid style flat picking.
Let us have a look at the bass line over some simple changes, this style of playing can be really complicated, so maybe work on the bass line 1st then try and introduce the other notes. This style of playing would be found in folk and country style guitar rhythm playing.
BASS LINE 2
Copyright Kurt Slabbert