Bass Lick of the Week #16

This exercise is another funk groove that’s played with the plectrum. The approach used here is very similar to that used in Bass Lick of the Week #1, so if you have successfully worked through that exercise, you should find that this one comes together quite easily.

Like Bass Lick #1, this line is based on a continuous semiquaver feel. Playing this groove effectively requires you to take the time to study the correct application of the plectrum technique. This involves playing semiquavers using a consistent down-up-down-up picking motion, which you’ll be able to see me doing in the exercise play-through. If you’re able to stick to these picking strokes on the correct subdivisions, you should find that the exercise comes together quite easily. The benefit of playing in this way is that you’ll always land on a downbeat with a downstroke.

As I mentioned in the notes for Bass Lick #1, you can add an extra degree of ‘funkiness’ to plectrum lines such as this one by accenting the backbeat - beats 2 and 4 in each bar. This, combined with the busy, percussive nature of the line, will sound very effective, and is a technique you’ll often hear bassists such as Bobby Vega and Coddy Wright using. You could also try palm muting the line slightly - I applied a little of this on the ascending line on the A-string in bars 3-4.

I recorded this line using a phaser pedal as a tribute to legendary session bassist Anthony Jackson. Anthony famously played a Precision bass with a pick through a Maestro phaser pedal on the 1973 hit song ‘For the Love of Money’, by The O’Jays. I used a TC Electronic Helix Phaser on the recording, set as follows: Speed - 12 o’clock, Depth - 3 o’clock, Feedback 2 o’clock, Mix - 1 o’clock. The toggle switch was set to Smooth. I recorded the line on a Fender Jazz Bass, using both pickups and with the tone turned up full.

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