Bass Lick of the Week #43

This week’s exercise is a rock bassline that sounds great when played with a pick.

This line makes for a great workout for your plectrum technique as it features some string crossing, a continuous semiquaver feel, and some hammer-on figures. When playing this line, be sure to start every beat with a downstroke, and follow a strict down-up-down-up motion with your picking hand. In some cases - such as on the third beat of bar 1 - you’ll play a ‘silent stroke’. On this beat, you’ll play the first two ghost notes with down and up strokes, then the B on the third semiquaver subdivision is played with a downstroke. This note is then hammered-on to the C#, so the picking hand does not need to play the string. However, it should still go through the upstroke motion, ready to begin beat four with a downstroke. Despite the relatively long-winded explanation, this is a relatively simple thing to do, and it’s likely to be the thing that feels most natural. The important thing is understanding the concept of ‘silent strokes’, and where they can be useful.

This line was recorded on a 1966 Fender Jazz bass. Both pickups were used and the tone control was set almost to full. Some compression was added digitally after the line was recorded.

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