Skip to main content

How to Play a Walking Bass Line

Learn how to play a walking bass line in this keyboard tutorial from Howcast.


Hi, this is Stephanie from Tomatoes House of Rock, and I'm going to show you how to play a walking baseline. So, we're gonna use our left hand, and let's do this in the key of C. There's basically 2 things you want to think about when you're starting a walking baseline. The first concept if just going to be outlining the chords, and so that could be a much as just, if we're in the key of C our first chords just going to be C, E, G. So that's already, we've got one sound there. You may want to add in the 7, as part of your outline, so and we kind of hear that sound starting to develop. So, that would be in C, then if we go our 4 chord we're gonna be, that would be F, so we could outline the F then. If we were to put just those together, with nothing else yet, we may need to add some repeat notes. And repeat notes can be really effective again, in kind of pushing the groove forward, because if I just played, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, I still have a whole extra beat before I have to get to the F, so if I just add an extra repeated C at the beginning, we should be all good. 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4.

So, the repeated note can really help you, you may want to add the repeated note if your close to your target note you know that you're going to, and you feel like your running out of notes for beats, just throw in a repeated note, so that might sound like. So you can slip in that extra repeated note almost where ever you need it. It is really effective when you put it sort of at the front of your phrase, especially if you hit is on a root note, it really helps. So that's one thing. If you can just get through the changes, and just to show you, just so you don't forget the 5 chord, we have right there. So, get your hand used to just outlining the chords to start so, once that feels comfortable, we can think about the second idea, which is simply, getting from one root note to the next one. So, I know I have a certain amount of beats for us right now, the first couple of beats that we're gonna do in our blues form, we'd have about one measure on C to get us to F. So, I need to somehow get from C to F, and so a lot times you can just add in, you know, you can just literally climb right up.

So, right because that would be 1, 2, 3, 4, and there you are at F. So, it's good to practice that. Find a couple different approaches for the chords you know that you're going in between, so that's a good one for our C right now. Right? Just straight up, and I threw in one half step there right? I threw in our D sharp or the E flat, sometimes those just can be as effective as the repeated notes when you need a little extra to carry you over. So there's a good line to get us from the C to the F. Let's see how to get the F, back to the C. So, we're here we need 4 beats. So that, I sort of combined, our outlining of the chord, because I went from the 1, to the 3, which is F to A, and then I started stepping up to the C, but you can see, I ran out of beats. 1, 2, 3, 4, C. Perfect. So, going from the C to the F, we're gonna have, and then from our F, to our C we've got. So, right there, we can put them together a little bit. So try a couple of those.

See how you can get from one root note to the next, you may have to walk a little further away, and come back if they are close to each other, but so that's another thing almost more conceptually than in your fingers, that you want to kind of get down in your mind. Then once you've got those few parts you can put them together. So I'll show you a slow walking line just me so you can hear what it would sound like, combining those two ideas; the outlining of the chords and the just, walking up, with some half notes in there. Okay. Now let's here what it sounds like with some music.

Popular Categories