Bass Lick of the Week #42

This exercise is a relatively simple, but melodic line in A minor.

The opening phrase of bar 1 strongly implies the sound of an Am7 chord. This is because all of the notes from this chord are used here: the opening C is the minor third of the chord, the A is the root, the G the minor seventh, and the E is the fifth. These notes not only sound great when played in this sequence, but they also strongly reflect the sound of the chord. After a root-fifth-octave figure, the line moves into the second bar, where some simple phrases based around thirds are played. The first of these - C and E again fit with the Am7 chord. The next two - B and D - are scale tones, but sound good here because of the use of a repeating rhythmic sequence, which the ear expects.

In the fourth bar, the phrase from the second bar is played again in the lower octave, then embellished to become a longer, chord-tone fill (beat four). This takes us back to the beginning of the line.

This bassline was written as a challenge to myself to write something that relied almost entirely on chord tones. Hopefully it will serve as a demonstration of the kind of lines that are possible with just some basic harmonic material.

This line was played on a Fender P-bass, with foam inserted under the strings for a Jamerson-style sound. The tone control was also rolled most of the way off.

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