Most people think that the late, great Duck Dunn played the bass line to Green Onions by Booker T And The MGs, but in fact it was Lewis Steinberg.
When I came to prepare the lesson I isolated the bass line in Anytune software and was surprised to find that it’s just a quarter note based line. As well as playing it this way in the first video below I’ll also play it how it’s commonly played by cover bands (and how I played it for years). Once you get beyond the intro (and be careful, on different versions of the song this intro can be 4 bars long!) the bass line is just a simple 12 bar line that’s repeated over and over without variation for the duration of the song.
I class this as a Level 3 bass line. (The scale I use is 1 to 10 – a Level 1 bass line might be a predominantly half note ballad kind of line like Imagine and a Level 10 line would be an uptempo 8th note based line like I Saw Her Standing There or Shake A Tailfeather).
Here’s how it was originally played – there’s notation and tab in the video:
Here’s a video showing the basic 12 bar pattern and how I used to play it and how it’s often played by cover bands. If you want to vary it up you can also throw in some dead notes on some of the ‘swung and’ beats:
If you’re a little more advanced you can also use patterns like this to practice your time and your “internal clock.” In the following video I’m using a ‘harmonic metronome’ that is clicking on Beats 2 and 4:
For those of you who wish to pracrtice with the harmonic metronome, here’s the MP3 track. Please note it’s called “12 Bar Fm Blues Harmonic Metronome” and you need to right click on this link:
For those of you who have midi software here’s a midi file with the harmonic metronome on it – please note that the ‘count in’ that is present on the audio file isn’t present on this midi file:
THE ONLY 6 THINGS BASS BEGINNERS SHOULD PRACTICE:
If you’re a beginner you should definitiely check out this article (and the follow up articles) for information for bass beginners that you won’t find anywhere else.