Playing Walking Bass Jazz Guitar Comping is really a great full way to comp in a duo setting. The walking bass really helps you lay down the groove and you can add the chords to make the harmony clear but also as accents in the rhythm. All The Things You Are is a great jazz standard to check this out on and you probably are already familiar with the song.
Playing these two layers at the same time is challenging in this lesson I am going to discuss some of the things that you want to check out like playing bass lines over several bars of one chord. Adding variation in the bass line rhythms and dealing with higher tempos.
All The Things You Are – Walking Bass Jazz Guitar
This example is a little faster than what I usually do. It demonstrates how I reuse bigger parts of lines on similar progressions very well. It also shows how I use changing positions when playing on the same chord for several bars.
The First A part – Arpeggio basslines and sliding leading notes
The bassline and chords are clearly displaying that I mostly add the chords on the 1& except on the strong parts of the form like in the first bar. Having the chord on the 1& is technically quite easy and just adds a little extra color and an accent.
The basslines in the first 6 bars are really all constructed from arpeggio notes adding a chromatic leading notes on beat 4 when necessary. This makes the lines very clear and easy to relate to the chords.
On the G7 in bar 6 I have an extra leading note that I slide into the resolution on the Cmaj7. This a great way to embellish the basslines and it will work even at higher tempos where for example 8th note triplets might not be that practical.
On the Cmaj7 the first bar is in the position around the 3rd fret and then moves up to the 8th fret for the second bar. This is one way to deal with several bars of Cmaj7.
Second A – Shifting position and keeping the groove going
The 2nd A also has basslines consisting of arpeggio notes and the occoasional leading tone. Except for the first chord Cm7, which has a more scalar bass melody.
The Transition from Bb7 to Ebmaj7 is aided with an extra sliding leading note from D to Eb.
On the Gmaj7 the bass line is again shifting from 3rd to 10th position and in this case I don’t include a chord on the 2nd bar of the Gmaj7. To me the most important part of playing like this is to keep the bass moving and therefore it is not always essential to have a chord in there.
The Bridge – Walk yourself out of a tight spot
The first part of the bridge is a II V I in G major. The bass and chords are actually playing the exact same movement as in Bars 2-4 This is a good example of a large chunk being “re-cycled” in another key.
This time the Gmaj7 bassline does not shift position in the second bar. this is because I want to stay in the same region for the II V I in E that follows.
In the II V I to E major the F#m is again an arpeggio but this time the arpeggio is shifting up along the 6th string. This makes the B7 in the 7th fret is easy to reach. Playing bass lines like this can be very useful to not “walk yourself into a corner”. Having the B7 up there makes it possible to avoid the Emaj7 which is not so easy to have in there with the low open E string.
The C7 is approached with an slide extra and the bassline is a straight C major triad.
The Last A part
I have an extra leading note on the C7 at the end of the bridge, but in this case the transition to the Fm7 is using a hammer-on instead of a slide to move from E to F.
The Bbm7, Eb7 and Abmaj7 are very similar to the first A.
The descending IV IVm progression
The final 8 bars of the song is IV IVm, III, bIIIdim to a II V I.
The First Dbmaj7 is played in the 4th position but then moves up to play Dbm6 in the 9th position. From here it descends to th 8th for Cm7 and the 7th for the Bdim chord.
The final II V I cadence is again using the same bass line as bars 2-3. This time the final Ab chord is placed on the beat mark the ending of the song. The last bars are a II V back to F incase you want to loop the chorus.
Walking bass etudes and making your own
I hope you can use the exercises and the example to get started making your own Walking bass and chords comping examples. Of course my example can serve as a good etude. You should also used it as a source of inspiration for your own walking bass ideas.
Get Started Soloing on All The Things You Are
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