Essential Walking Bass Techniques

Learn how to compose and play effective walking bass lines

by Frans Van Der Hoeven

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9 lessons

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personalized video feedback, every lesson


you will have access to this course for 1 year


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This program is written to help you compose and play well balanced walking bass lines. You will learn to outline the harmony of a song in an effectieve way, develop a sense of gravity in your lines and using rhythmical variations. Furthermore, this course will help you to develop an efficient practicing routine.



2 hours

Skill Level

Backing Tracks
18 Backing tracks especially recorded for this course


Certified from the Conservatorium van Amsterdam

Personalised video feedback every lesson

Watch the video for more information or go directly to the course content:

Content of the course:

Lesson 1 : Playing Two-Beat Bass Lines
In this lesson, you will learn about the basics of walking bass playing. We will go into:
- Function of the bass
- Composing a line using the root and the fifth
- Examples
- Composing a line on a I-V Chord progression
- Composing a line on a basic blues in F
- Assignments
- Balancing the direction of a line
- Thinking melodically 
- Damping the strings and fills
- Consistency
- Dubbing each note

Lesson 2: Walking Bass-Lines with Quarter Note Pulse
In this lesson, you will learn about how to create walking bass lines with a quarter note pulse: How to Create Baselines with a good “gravity”. We will go into: 
- Chord-Based and Scale-Based Lines
- Direction in Your Lines
- Enhancing the Fourth Beat of the Bar
- When to Change string within a line
- When to Change Position within a line
- Composing a line on a I-V Chord progression
- Examples
- Adding a passing tone the major and mixolydian scale
- Composing a line on a basic blues in F and Assignments

Lesson 3: Playing on Changes Pt. 1
In this lesson, you will learn about changes and how to connect them with a good walking bass line that outlines the harmony clearly. We wil discuss several techniques such as: 
- The Diatonic Approach
- Chord Based Approach
- The Chromatic Approach
- The Tritone, Sounding Horizontal
- Combination of Approaches and Assignments

Lesson 4: Playing on Changes Pt. 2
In this lesson, we will further explore chord changes and take a look at how to outline more complicated chord progressions. We will go into:
- Composing a Walking-Bass Line on a Half-Diminished Chord
- Using Chord Tones for Outlining a Half-Diminished Chord
- Using Chromaticism for Outlining and Connecting the Half-Diminished Chord
- How to Compose a Walking Bass-Line on a Diminished Chord
- The Diminished Scale / Whole-tone / Half-tone
- Applying these Concepts to a Song and Assignments

Lesson 5: Rhythmical Variations Pt. 1 : Using Triplets
In this lesson, you will learn about how to use rhythmical variations in your basslines. We will go into:
- Four Basic Rhythmical Variations
- Demonstrating the Right Hand
- Adding “Ghost” Notes
- Accuracy of the Triplet Feel
- Using the Left Hand for Triplet Variations
- Applying all Techniques to a Blues in F and Assignments

Lesson 6: Rhythmical Variations Pt. 2 : Syncopations and Triplets
In this lesson, you will learn about how to integrate syncopations and triplets into your basslines. We will go into:
- Using Syncopations
- Syncopating every note
- Using Triplets in your Walking Bass lines
- Dividing the Triplets over 3 Strings
- Dividing the Triplets over 2 Strings
- Combination of Previous Techniques, Triplets and Assignments

Lesson 7: Outlining Harmony
In this lesson, we will have a look on how to interestingly play more bars of the same chord. We will go into:
- The Bridge of “Rhythm Changes”
- Composing a Bass Line on a minor pedal
- Using Big Jumps, Chromatics and Assignments

Lesson 8: Playing Pedals and Fast Tempi
In this lesson, you will learn how to make use of pedal points and how to play fast tempi. We will go into:
- Pedal Points
- Advice on how to play fast tempi
- Sequences and Assignments

Lesson 9: Practicing Tools
In this lesson, we will explore tools that will help you to practice scales, intervals, chords and technique. We will go into:
- Daily / Weekly Exercises
- Scales
- Different Fingerings
- Intervals
- Chords
- Seventh Chords
- Rhythmical Variations
- The Circle of Fifths and Assignments

What online students say about this course:

Otso Helasvuo, Finland:
"I am enjoying this course very much! It gives me a solid practicing routine"


Tommy Westerkamp, The Netherlands:
"Very good lessons and personal feedback!"

How it works

The course is a series of related video lessons, each structured around a specific topic or topics. By the end of this course, you will have developed a strong sense of direction in your daily study routine.

Weekly video lessons
After joining the course, you will be able to view a new video lesson weekly. Each video lesson consists of:
- Examples that musically define the sound of the topic you are studying in each video
- A study routine section in which we first discuss how to study the specific topic of each lesson. We will then play several exercises specially written to show you how to structure your daily study routine
- Assignments that will help you consolidate and practice what you have learned in each video.

Weekly assignments
After each lesson, you will be asked to study, practice and then video record yourself playing an assignment which may consist of several exercises. When ready, you submit the video of your assignment. The process of having to record yourself every week, significantly helps to internalise the material discussed in this course - quickly and naturally.

Weekly feedback
You will then receive a video with individual and personalised feedback to each assignment, every lesson. The personal feedback that you receive will enable you to improve and clarify any questions that might arise during your weekly study. You can view the feedback as many times as you like.