Bass Lick of the Week #12

This exercise is a fingerstyle funk bassline that reflects an F# dominant seventh chord. It also uses trills and double stops, both of which are common ingredients in funk lines.

This line opens with an A# played on the ‘and’ of beat 4 of the count-in. After playing this note, slide upwards to E, then allow this note to continue ringing whilst you play the A# above it. This creates a double stop chord. These two notes are the minor seventh and major third of the F#7 chord, and sound very effective when used in this way. After playing these notes, you’ll need to quickly slide back downwards in order to start playing the ascending bassline on the E-string. You might prefer to think of the B# in this line as a C, although it’s actually more accurate to refer to it as B#, since a C# follows it. In the second bar, a descending line is played. After playing the two F#’s at the beginning of the bar, you’ll need to play an open A, then hammer-on to the E at the seventh fret of the same string. Although A is not part of the chord (A# is), it’s heard very briefly. Note that an A is used again on the fourth beat of this bar: a hammer-on from A to A#. This move - from the minor third to the major third - is very common in funk grooves over dominant chords and you’re sure to encounter it frequently.

In bar 3 a trill is played between A and A#, the minor and major thirds again. To play the trill, simply hammer-on and pull-off as rapidly as you can between the two notes. This trill is followed by the ascending line on the E and A-strings that was also used back in the first bar.

In bar 4 we play another descending line. This is similar to the line in the second bar, but features a root-octave-root figure on the D#. At the end of this bar you’ll need to play the A#, which will then slide up to E in order for you to repeat the line.

This exercise was performed on a Fender Precision bass strung with flatwound strings.

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