How to Play Walking Bass Lines 🎹😃 │ Jazz Piano Lesson │Left Hand Lines for Any Chord Progressions

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Hi. Today I’m going to show you how you can play walking bass lines whenever you’re playing jazz piano. And in order to do so it’s smart to understand how the bass player is playing. Sometimes he’s playing on one and three and sometimes he is playing on all the four, so that means that he’s walking. I’m going to show you an example. For this I’ll need some help… so can I have some bass on this please? and maybe some saxophone… and some drums… Thank you! So this example now is when the bass player is not walking, he is playing on one of three only. See if we can listen to the bass only: Let’s play now the same thing when the bass player is walking. So now he is playing on 1, 2, 3 and 4: Sometimes it sounds like the bass player is onto something… when he’s running, like playing on up-tempo tunes, it could sound like this: And that’s how the bass player is normally playing his bass lines in various tempos. Sometimes the bass player is not showing up at the rehearsal and the band they ask you to become the bass player just for a while. So it’s smart to know how to play some bass lines yourself even though most likely you are going to play with the bass player. So I’m going to teach you now how to do that. The first thing that I’d like to do is to think that I’m connecting the chords. Of course all the jazz standards got some chord changes and what you do then is you’re connecting them by playing great bass lines. For example let’s say the chords were Cmaj7 to G7 to C: And you can do that, you can create a simple bass line by just playing the C scale: Not so very interesting not so very jazzy, maybe, but you get the point. I was now playing on the C. I was playing… starting with C: and on the G, I was starting with a G: So that’s how the bass lines works in a nutshell, but of course there is a lot more to it. So first thing is that if you want to go ascending all the way you got to add some extra notes. For example, let’s say you want to play the same chord changes: from the G you want to go ascending, still. Then there are just four notes: or three notes actually before you get to the C again. To make this fit so that you hit the C next time you got a one beat then you need to add an extra note. You could do that by adding the note between the second and the third note of the scale. In this case is a Bb: And that’s very common to do. Also I like to think of it like… we’ve got 3 chord types and then you’re just playing the major 7 scales. I think that’s a lot easier then to think about Dorian and Mixolydian and all those modes. So I’m thinking when I’m playing a major 7 chord: that’s one chord type, and then you’ve got the minor 7: and then you’ve got the dominant 7: three chord types and then you play three different major 7 scales. So for the major 7 chords you can just play the roots major 7 scale like this: This is the C scale over C major 7 chord. If it was a minor 7 chord you can play down a whole step and then thinking that you’re playing the major 7 scale starting from Bb, in this case: but still you can play this same scale starting from C: And if it was a dominant 7 then you can go up a 4th and thinking that you’re playing a major 7 scale starting from, in this case F: That’s the scale but you’re gonna play the scale from C: All right, same notes. So I think that’s going to help a lot if you manage to think like this. The next thing is that sometimes we’ve got more than one chord into a tune or into a bar in a tune. There are lot of chords in all the tunes, of course, but sometimes you have more than one chord in a bar and then you can add 4 tricks. You can go up, let’s say you want to play a II-V-I progression now, let’s say you want to play a Cmi7: to F7 to Bb: that’s a II-V-I progression. If I won’t play this I have different options to choose from. I can play now a half step above the next chord so I can play like this: Cmi7 going to F7: but now you can go through the F#: with my bass line, so it’s going to be like this: And then you can do the same when you go down to the Bb: going through the B, right? That’s a simple II-V-I progression. Or you can go down a half step under where you were supposed to land so if I’m going from Cmi7: to F7: I can go through the E: and same before the Bb: like this: That’s 2 out of 4. The third is to go a whole step under. You can do that by doing like this: so a whole step: but then you’ve got to be aware of the dominant 7 because if you’re playing a whole step under the next one that’s going to sound pretty awful because you’re playing the 3rd of the F7 in this case, like this: so if I’m playing like this: it’s gonna clash. For the dominant 7 if you’re playing a whole step under you got to stay a half step under when you’re playing the dominant 7: So, like that. The last one is to play a whole step over where you’re landing, like: And then of course, this is just your left hand, with your right hand you’ve got to syncopate a lot. So to make it sound more jazzy you got a swing and make it more syncopated and when you do that it’s going to sound like this: And with your left hand you can add some more tricks as well. You can play “ghost notes” with your left hand. I like to be a ghost sometimes so I like to play “ghost notes”. You can do that by just emphasis or just play it very shortly before the landing note. Let’s say you wanna play from Gmi7: you can do like this: Is a very simple trick but it’s very effectful as well. And you can combine that by playing arpeggios as well with your left hand: So, if you’re going to go from a Gmi7 to a C7: And the last example is if you want to just play the octave: The last tip I want to give you today is that you should think of varying the range where you’re playing your bass lines. So by default I’m playing my bass lines down here, but sometimes I’m moving all the way up here, and sometimes I’m moving all the way down here as well. And you do this because you want to create more tension and release. But, keep this in mind, this is just an effect that you can use from time to time. Anyway, I’ve created now a recording where I’m playing and demonstrating all of this, so let’s have a look: At last I’m going to teach you how I usually practice the walking bass lines, and the good thing about the walking bass lines, is that you can practice this with your left hand at the same time as you do something else with your right hand. For example, you can play cards: Or I sometimes practice the bass lines when I’m babysitting: And even when I’m sleeping I’m practicing the bass lines: So you can always practice your bass lines. I created some bass lines exercises for you that you can download for free. And if you’re one of my students you can download even more exercises. Just click on the link that you can find under this video. Thanks for watching. I hope that you found this inspiring. If you liked this video, please, hit like, subscribe and share and whatever you do, have fun, don’t be too serious and more than anything else: take care of you music! This is Gjermund Sivertsen. I will see you next time.

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