Bass Lick of the Week #5

This exercise is a rock bassline that is played with a plectrum. You’ll also hear that I used an octave pedal on the recording of the line.

After opening the line with two crotchet notes, D and F, a semiquaver-based picking pattern begins. When playing this, it’s important that you adhere to the picking strokes indicated between the staves - for continuous semiquavers, this should be down-up-down-up. Sticking to this sequence means that you’ll always land on a downbeat with a downstroke, which is the most comfortable way to play using a plectrum.

The key to success with this line is being able to alternate between ghost notes and fretted notes while playing the continuous picking rhythm. This is done by fretting the note as normal, then lifting your finger off it slightly in order to play a ghost note. This is all done with the fretting hand and is simpler to do than it might sound.

The line ends with a D minor pentatonic fills in the fourth bar (D, F, G, A, C). Slides are important when playing this fill, so try to include them as shown in the notation/on the video.

I used an octave pedal when recording this line, which as you’ll hear, sounds very effective. There are many great octave pedals available, but I used the Boss OC-2, set as follows: Oct 2: Off, Oct 1: Full, Direct Level: 3 o’clock.

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