Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 41 of 41
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    This thread is for questions and feedback about the Walking Bass Guitar Lesson:

    Walking Bass Lines For Guitar


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    Great lesson! I have a book on comping that explains this concept but this is much easier to understand, because it builds the concept from the ground up, starting with just playing the roots of the chords.

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    Hey Goofsus4,
    Glad you dug the lesson, the cool thing about this method is that you can apply it to any tune you're working on, just pick a standard and work through the steps.

    And if you want to get really crazy you can learn the bassline and then throw the melody of the tune on top instead of the chords, or both!


  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    I liked the lesson a lot. It's kind of funny because I just decided I was going to start working on walking bass a couple of days ago and I was having a little trouble with it. Your lesson definitely came at a convenient time. haha. I'm still having a little trouble with comping rhythms. I can keep the bass and a consistent rhythm with the chords but that can get a little bit dull after a while and I'm having a little bit of trouble with getting some rhythmic variations in there. Oh well. Its only been a week so I guess it comes with time. Thanks again for the lesson.

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    Oh yeah, another thing is working it into chord melody. I'm sure I'm rushing it a little (that's what I do), but I was wondering if you had any tips for working the melody with the chords and bassline. It makes it a lot more complicated because with chord melody most of the time you have to find an unusual voicing to get the melody note. Anyway. Anything you might have will help. Thanks again.

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Great lesson!!!!! The "Step-by-step" is really helpful, for any style of music.
    I would add: there's a video by a jazz guitarist in North Carolina named Kevin Van Sant, you can find it on YouTube (

    It's a sample of the video/email lessons he gives, but it all about Walking Basslines for Jazz guitar. It will give examples of what this author has written about.

    Great Lesson...keep'em coming!!!
    Last edited by neilio; 03-25-2008 at 10:09 PM.

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    Hey DaveMatthews

    If you want to start putting a chord melody under a walking bassline here are three steps to do so:

    1) Work out the bassline, start with a 4 or 8 bar phrase first then connect them to form the whole tune.

    2) Then add the melody on top of the bassline, make sure to play it on the top two strings. So now you have the bassline on strings 5 and 6 and the melody on strings 1 and 2.

    3) Add the 3rd and 7th of each between the melody and bassline on the 3rd and 4th strings. You don't have to do this on every beat maybe just once per chord change to bring out the harmony.

    Hope that helps.


  9. #8
    Great lesson! Just one question, though. What if a chord lasts for more than one measure?

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    For chords that last for more than one measure you can do several approaches.

    1) Play chord tones on beats one and three. So if it's Cmaj7 for 2 bars then you could play the following notes as quarter notes for the bass line.

    C D E F#/ G A B C

    where C E G and B are all on beats one and three.

    2) Use turnaround patterns.

    So if you have Cmaj7 for 2 bars you could use.

    Cmaj7 Fm7/Cmaj7 or Cmaj7 G7/ Cmaj7 or Cmaj7 Dbmaj7/Cmaj7 etc

    So in the first one the bass line could be

    C E F B/ C D E G

    for the second one it could be

    C F# G B/ C B C E

    for the third one it could be

    C G Db Ab/ C D E C

    or any combination of notes you can think of. But the goal is to have the extra chords break up the longer chord and it gives your bass lines more life and interest as you're not just sticking to the chords on the page.

    Hope that helps,

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    The idea of merging walking bass lines with the melody reminds me of yet another reason why playing classical music has cross-over benefits to jazz. The idea of melody on top of just bass strings is the foundation of classical guitar. I was messing around with walking bass lines this morning and realized I'd already been doing this to some degree in my playing of blues, but I just didn't realize it. I'd been calling the walking bass "fill licks." But m78w's lesson made me think of it in a more structured and theoretical manner and that's going to give me some good ideas for comping especially.

    Now, the "chord for more than one measure" thing? I deal with that by just messing around with the order of the bass note line I'm playing to add interest while just staying in the same position. Hammerons/pulloff and slides are also useful for mixing up those same bass runs instead of just playing same notes the same way until you move on to the new chord.

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    Hey, hey! I'm digging this walking bass thing. I may become a bass player. Get one of those big ole acoustic basses, some dark sunglasses, and hang a cig out of the corner of my mouth...nice.

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    Well you'll definately get more gigs than us 6 stringers!


  14. #13
    sbadreau Guest
    Shameless plug: Check out my book "walking bass lines for jazz guitar" by me, Stephan Badreau.

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    Hey Stephan,

    I have previously seen your book on Amazon, and it has some good reviews. Dirk's lesson, has sparked my interest in this approach again (Dirk, thanks for the lesson).

    However, I am a little hesitant to purchase a music book without getting to "see inside" it. Could you possibly provide a brief description of the chapters or just list the table of contents?


  16. #15
    sbadreau Guest
    If you go to DVD and Sheet Music Catalog and search my name stephan badreau the table of content is viewable (I need to get that "search inside" feature on amazon, thanks for reminding me!)
    My approach to this style seem to be different from other material I've see on the subject, which prompted me to write the book. I take a more "guitaristic" angle. The basic premise being, if there are 2 chords in one measure, for example, that already yields 2 of the bass notes needed, you just need to connect the chords with an appropriate bass tone. If only one chord is present I have some tricks I use, like using chord inversions to add a chord, that are all described in the book. Instead of thinking about building a bass line with chords on top, I use the chord changes to guide my bass note choices.
    I hope that helps, let me know if you have anymore questions


  17. #16

    The lesson about walking bass lines is indeed very clearly explained and the step by step method from Dirk is very usefull. That reminds me of a mel bay book I have. I can recommend this book for 100% for this style of guitarplaying: Fingerstyle jazz guitar, teaching your guitar to walk by Paul Musso.
    By the way can anyone tell me if the PGmusic program , Jazz guitar solos is interesting to buy and can we buy it in Belgium or is the only way to get it the internet.


  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    Hey Mike K and William,
    Thanks for the kind words about the lesson, glad you dug it!

    The book by Paul Musso is very well written, it's a book I've used in the past and has lots of great material in it.

    The PG Music program is OK, not great. I love their Band in the Box progam but am not a huge fan of the add ons like Jazz Guitar Solos. Having said that it's not that expensive so if you don't mind burning a few bucks checking it out I'm sure you'll be able to find some use out of it.

    Also it is available only on the internet as a download outside of North America as I understand it. But you might be able to have them mail you a hard copy as well if you pay for the international shipping from Vancouver.


  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    A Wonderfull and very educational lesson

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by sbadreau
    If you go to DVD and Sheet Music Catalog and search my name stephan badreau the table of content is viewable (I need to get that "search inside" feature on amazon, thanks for reminding me!)Stephan
    Interesting book. I have been looking for something along these lines. I may just give this a try.

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    Thanks Matt, great lesson.

    I think after learning some chords and scales, this should be the first lesson towards making jazz music.



  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    I agree, it's a great way to learn the neck, and it makes playing with another guitarist easier as you can keep the pulse and harmony going at the same time.


  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    Great Lesson. I also really liked the Van Sant lesson. It was the best explanation of the technique I've ever seen. this is the kind of lessons I live and breathe for.

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    this was a great lesson! I'm at work right now, but I can't wait to get home and practice!

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    Hi Matt,

    A question about soloing over these blues changes:

    Apart from playing the relevant arpeggios and scales over each chord, could you suggest three different ways to solo over the changes.

    That would really help me.


  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    Here are 3 things you can check out if you've already nailed the basic blues/mixo scales and arps.

    1) bebop scales, add the major 7th note to the mixo scale. you can also add the b9, b3 and b5 if you put them on an off beat.

    2) tri-tone subs. instead of always playing say F7 when it comes around, go between F7 and B7, it's tri-tone sub. this will give you an inside-outside sound.

    3) start exploring 2nd and 3rd choice scales. these could be half/whole diminished, whole-tone, altered, 5th mode harmonic minor, 5th mode harmonic major etc.


  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    Thanks Matt,

    That's helpful.

    How does the Bdim fit in to the harmony, and what scales can be played over it?


  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    the Bdim7 is a passing chord between Bb7 and F7/C, F7 with the 5th in the bass.

    you can play the B whole/half diminished scale over that chord.


  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    Just finished the walking bass guitar lesson 1 - Great lesson!

  30. #29
    Stringbean Guest
    Just a note on my progress with this lesson:

    I've been spending a lot of time with this and I'm getting some good results. Though I'm not quite yet on auto pilot playing it through, my sound is beginning to have some swing.

    Two things I've noticed. First, if I fudge a note or a chord, or even a few doesn't really matter that much. If I get to correct note on the 1st beat of the next measure, the swing feel remains.

    And then from there, I found that I could substitute those fudged notes with some intentionally different notes. I think they are called "licks".

    That's where I'm at, love this stuff.

  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    Cool, thanks for sharing your progress sounds like you're really getting the hang of this stuff!


  32. #31
    great lesson,easy to learn.richard

  33. #32
    Big ups Matt.Thanks so much for all your time and patience,we are lucky to have a guy like you around....and it's free

  34. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by 604bourne123
    great lesson,easy to learn.richard
    then even a better lesson is to memorize it all

  35. #34

    User Info Menu

    Great lesson! I have worked on chord melody music and it's a lot of fun. The most difficult part for me is some of the chords you run into. However I know that sometimes it's easier to arrange a song to suit yourself.

  36. #35

    User Info Menu

    Thanks a lot for posting this great lesson, I have had a lot of fun practicing it the last few days. I'm always looking for ways of improving my comping, which is what guitarists do most of the time after all.

    (Especially liking that turnaround...)

    As a suggestion/begging for future lessons... 1) it would be great to expand a bit on how to create walking bass lines (and some walking bass "licks" for common chord transitions). And 2) some more on approaching chords and fillins that are not always taking the target chord and displace it 1 semitone.

    Thanks again for taking the time to post this lesson. I had always seen the walking bass thing as some esoteric thing only top players could do... but now I'm playing it myself!

  37. #36
    Just wanted to say thanks for this lesson. Very easy to follow, and it gives a good foundation.

  38. #37

    User Info Menu

    This is a great lesson and I've thoroughly enjoyed the site, though this is my very first post. My question (maybe stupid but I'm brand new to jazz) is about the two 7th chords rooted off the fifth string. The F7 at the 8th fret and the C7 at the third fret. Both of these fingerings indicate playing the 1, 3, b7, and 2 (or 9), of the chord scale. Doesn't that make those chords 7add9 (or something like that)? Or, am I just missing something like the nose on my face? (again)

    In Gratitude,
    Mike in Denver

  39. #38

    User Info Menu

    I'm kinda new to reading music but, under step 5, is there a transcription error between the fifth and sixth measure? The tab reads 6(Bb) 7(B) on the E string, but the music reads B, B.

    I know it's probably something that I'm not understanding, but I thought I'd check.

  40. #39

    User Info Menu

    Very nice.

  41. #40

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by dirkji
    This thread is for questions and feedback about the Walking Bass Guitar Lesson.
    Great lesson. Very clear!

    A good next step is to try to mix up the rhythmic approach of the chord stab. Can you stab the chord on the and of four before hitting the bass note, for example? Can you hit the chord and bass note at the same time?

  42. #41

    User Info Menu

    Great lesson. Much as I love the guitar, little in life rivets my attention like a high-hat and a cool walking bass line.