Bass Lick of the Week #48

This week’s exercise is a slap groove that’s played over a shuffle feel.

This line is in the key of E minor, but starts on a non-scale tone, the Bb. This note is the ‘blue note’ and works because it comes from the E blues scale. As you’ll hear, this is a very striking note to begin the line with. After slapping the Bb and popping its octave, you’ll play three ghost notes on the second beat. As we’re in a compound time signature (where each beat naturally divides into three instead of two), these notes will be played with a triplet rhythm. The remaining two beats of the first bar are played in a similar way.

In the second bar you’ll play a G, followed by a low E on the first beat. Keep this low E ringing whilst you pop the E power chord on the second beat - these notes should be popped using the first and second fingers together. The first and second bars are then played twice more.

In bars 7 and 8, tenth intervals are used to imply chord changes. In bar 7, we play a C on the E-string, then pop the E on the G-string, a major tenth above. Tenths are the same as thirds, so these two notes suggest a C major chord. On beats two and four of this bar we’ll again be using the three dead notes as described above. Bar 8 features the same idea, but with a D major chord.

This line was recorded on a GB Guitars Rumour bass. This instrument has a low action and is perfect for slap grooves such as this. I recorded through the Tech 21 dUg Pinnick preamp and added compression digitally after recording.

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