Bass Lick of the Week #31

This week’s exercise is a heavily syncopated fingerstyle funk groove that works over a D7 chord.

After playing the two D’s on the A-string at the beginning of the first bar, you’ll be descending the G-string using the octave, the minor seventh (C), the major sixth (B), the minor sixth (Bb) and the fifth (A). These notes are played in a syncopated rhythm and all except for the B are preceded with an open G-string. This is a tricky rhythm to master, so I recommend listening closely to the audio when learning this line.

In the second bar, a long bass fill is played. This begins with a double hammer-on from the open D-string, to the F and the F#. These three notes are then followed by the A at the second fret of the G-string. Note the heavy use of chord tones here - D is the root of the D7 chord, F# is the major third, and A is the fifth. After this group of four notes, the F-F#-A sequence is played twice more, then followed by another double hammer-on: open D-string to the G at the fifth fret, then to the A at the seventh fret. Breaking this fill down into these components will help you learn it.

In the third bar we have another descending, syncopated line, although this one is a little different to the line in the first bar - this time the C is the note that is not preceded by the open G-string.

In the fourth bar we have another fill. After playing the D-F-F#-A motif again, we play a pull-off from F to E to the open D-string, then move to the A-string, where we play a pull-off from C to the open A. The final note of the exercise is the F# at the second fret of the E-string. Again, you will notice a heavy use of chord tones in this line.

This exercise was performed on a 1966 Fender Jazz Bass.

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