Bass Lick of the Week #40

This week’s exercise is another funk groove that’s played with the plectrum.

Much of this exercise is rich in chord tones and strong supporting notes from the D Mixolydian mode. In the first and third bars, the line opens with a hammer-on from C to D (the minor seventh and root note of the implied D7 chord). These notes are then followed by B - C an octave higher, which are the major sixth and minor seventh - great choices when playing funk lines. There’s also a slide up to the major third of the chord (F#) on the third beat, and a pull-off from the ninth back to the octave on the fourth beat.

In the second bar the root note is played, then a chromatically ascending line is played from the major third of the chord, back up to the fifth, perfectly setting up the third bar.

In the fourth bar, double chromatic approach notes are used to ascend to the major third (played an octave higher here as a tenth), after which the line decends through the Mixolydian mode from C, on the D-string. Note the use of the minor third-major third (F-F#) interval on beat four - again, this is very common in funk lines and you should add this to your repertoire for when playing over dominant seventh chords in particular.

In terms of playing this line with the plectrum, you should take care to follow the picking strokes shown between the staves. Every beat starts with a downstroke, and if you are playing continuous semiquavers - as you will be throughout most of this line - you should be following a down-up-down-up picking motion. You can read more about this application of the picking technique way back in the notes for Bass Lick of the Week #1!

This exercise was recorded on a 1966 Fender Jazz Bass. Some compression was added digitally.

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