Building Walking Bass Lines

Building Walking Bass Lines

This was originally my thesis for my Masters in Education degree in 1991. I was using a self-published version with my then-student, Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith. He told me how much he dug it, so I stuck my neck out and asked if he had any contacts with the band’s publisher, Hal Leonard. The rest is history.

The book outlines the process of building a functioning walking line – find the roots, add the fifth, approach notes, forward motion, as well as supplying swinging accompaniment, recorded with live musicians, not machines.



A walking bass line is the most common approach to jazz bass playing, but it is also used in rock music, blues, rockabilly, R&B, gospel, Latin, country and many other types of music. The term ‘walking’ is used to describe the moving feeling that quarter notes create in the bass part. The specific goal of this book is to familiarize players with the techniques used to build walking bass lines and to make them aware of how the process works. Through the use of 90-minutes’ worth of recorded rhythm tracks available online using the unique code in the book, players will have the opportunity to put the new learning directly into action. This book literally gives bassists the tools they need to build their own walking bass lines.


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