Bass Lick of the Week #10

This exercise is a slow slap and pop bass groove that has a Marcus Miller vibe.

This line opens with a double stop: G on the E-string and Bb on the G-string. To play these, pluck the G with the thumb and the Bb with the first finger. These notes are then played again as the first bar begins, and the Bb is hammered-onto a B natural while the G continues to ring beneath. The remainder of the bar is a slap groove which uses the G blues scale. Note that the C-C#-D figure on beat three is played with a single thumb stroke: the second and third notes are played as a hammer-on.

At the end of the first bar, the line drops to a low E, which is then tied into the second bar. After the octave is popped, the minor tenth interval is popped (open G), implying an E minor sound. After this the line moves to an F major tenth interval, then an F# major tenth. You can read more about tenths - and how effective they are on bass - in the notes for Bass Lick #2.

The third bar is a repeat of the first bar, but ends on the E at the seventh fret of the A-string. You should keep this E ringing as you pop the octave in the following bar, then slide both notes up to G, then down to F. You’ll need to keep your fretting hand in the octave position as you slap and pop these notes and slide them upwards. The same technique is used in the second half of the bar, from Db to D, down to Bb. This is typical Marcus Miller lick, one that you’ll hear him use very effectively in the opening of his solo from ‘Frankenstein’.

This line was originally written when I was writing material for the Marcus Miller-style piece in my book Giants of Bass Volume 2: 80s & 90s.

To download the backing track and PDF worksheet for this exercise, please visit the Free Stuff section of the website.