Bass Lick of the Week #37

This week’s exercise is a semiquaver-based plectrum groove, which sounds great with some additional palm muting.

In the first bar, after playing the root note F on the E-string, the majority of the line is played on the D-string. As this line is semiquaver-based, you’ll want to be playing using a consistent down-up-down-up picking motion for this part - see the picking guides for more detail. It can be quite tricky alternating between pitched and ghosted notes when playing on the same string - you will need to have accurate control over your fretting hand in order to switch between the two. At the end of the first bar, a pull-off is played from the Eb to the open D-string. The line then ends on a C, which is played on the A-string. This descending three-note figure is an important melodic element in the line, so take care to play it cleanly, and be sure not to rush it.

In the second and third bars of this exercise the line from the first bar is reused, but transposed up - first to Ab, then to Bb. The same picking patterns will be used here. The only slightly awkward thing about these bars is that the pull-off on beat 4 will be to a fretted note rather than an open string.

In the fourth bar, the line returns to F and the bar begins in the same way as bar 1. In the second half of the bar however, a descending series of pull-offs is played. Again, take care not to rush these - this is quite common when playing continuous pull-off figures.

This line sounds great if you can play it using some light palm muting. To do this, gently rest the edge of your palm across the strings as you play, muting the notes. You will need to experiment with the amount of pressure that you apply in order to replicate the sound on the recording.

This line was recorded on a Fender Jazz Bass. When I recorded it, I forgot that I had my EBS Unichorus pedal switched on - it sounded so good on the finished line I left it on there!

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