3 Jazz Walking Bass Line Approaches

Jonny May
Quick Tip
Level 2
Level 3

Learning Focus
  • Accompanying
  • Basslines
  • Groove
  • Improvisation
Music Style
  • Jazz Swing

Learn 3 essential approaches for walking jazz bass lines over the 2-5-1 chord progression.

Approach 1 is called 5ths, and it is the simplest approach because you only need 2 notes for each chord. This approach uses the root and 5th of each chord.

Approach 2 is called triads & upper neighbors, and it uses more interesting colors to connect your chords. This approach outlines each chord, plus you use the upper neighbor of your target chord to “connect” your chords in a more interesting way.

Approach 3 is called steps, and this approach uses more half steps and whole steps to create a more melodic sounding accompaniment.

You’ll also explore beautiful rootless voicings in your right hand and an essential swing groove called Stock Swing Groove or the Charleston.

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