Bass Lick of the Week #19

This exercise is a rock bassline played over a 5-4 time signature. It’s played with a pick and sounds great when played with some distortion.

This bassline is in the key of F# minor and is built on the F# blues scale, which is essentially just the minor pentatonic scale with an added note, a flattened fifth. In this case, that note is C. This note is known as the ‘blue note’ and as you’ll hear, it adds a nice, bluesy quality to your lines.

On the first three beats of the first bar we play a simple figure based around the open E-string and the F# at the second fret. Note that the first F# is played as a hammer-on, so you won’t need to play it with the pick. On beats 3 and 4 of the bar we only have one note, a C. This is the blue note, and as you’ll hear, it really stands out.

The second bar begins in the same way, but then features an ascending phrase on the upbeats of beats 2, 3 and 4. As these notes fall on offbeats, ideally they should be played with pick upstrokes, as shown in the video.

Bars 3 and 4 of the exercise are almost identical to bars 1 and 2. The only difference is the descending line in bar 2 becomes an ascending line in bar 4.

This line was performed on my Fender Jazz Marcus Miller signature bass, which sounds great for rock lines. I also used the EBS MultiDrive pedal, set as follows: Drive - 3 o’clock, Mode - STD, Volume - 10 o’clock.

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