Bass Lick of the Week #25

This week’s exercise is a fingerstyle funk line that features double stops and some challenging phrases that use open strings.

The first bar of this exercise is a lick that uses the G blues scale (G, Bb, C, Db, D, F). When playing this, it’s important to play all hammer-ons, pull-offs and slides as written, as they will help with the fluidity of the line. Note that the final note of the bar is the open D-string. Using an open string at this point will enable you to position shift into the lower register for the second bar.

In the second bar, a chromatic ascending phrase is played from the seventh of the implied G7 chord (F) to the root (G). This is followed by a phrase which is played using open strings. You’ll need to be careful to mute these effectively as you don’t want them to ring into one another too much. Again, the use of open strings here allows the position shift back into the higher register for the third bar.

The third bar is almost identical to the first, but the figure on the fourth beat is different. This time, a hammer-on is played from Bb to C. This note then slides up to D - all three notes are played in one smooth motion.

In the fourth bar some double stops are played - these are two notes played together. In this case, the notes are the seventh (F) and major third (B) of the implied G7 chord. These notes are plucked twice: after playing them a second time, each note should slide downwards a semitone, then back up. On the second beat of the bar, the open string figure from bar 2 is used. The third and fourth beats of this bar are the same as the first and second. The phrase in this bar is similar to Jaco Pastorius’s bassline on his composition ‘Liberty City’.

This line was played on a Zon Sonus 4-string bass. I favoured the bridge pickup slightly, and added a light boost to the bass control.

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