How To Play Bass - Level 1 Bass Line Examples

bass line examples with Level 1 devices

So in yesterday’s lesson I identified one of the common “words” that’s found in the vocabulary of bass players – and it’s an idea that you’re probably very familiar with. The ‘word’ we looked at was the major triad.

I also showed you four examples from real world songs – and note that they were very different stylistically. We had a country song, an R&B standard, a later period Beatles/McCartney song and some mid to late 60s rock.

All of them build either entirely or mostly on the major triad.

Finally I showed you a couple of bass lines – a blues line and a reggae line – that were built around the major triad.

Now it probably goes without saying that if you built all your bass lines on the major triad that they would get predictable and boring pretty soon. And I’d agree with you.

In this lesson I’m going to share three examples that use other devices – these examples all share a characteristic in that they are built off of “Level 1” ideas. We’ll talk more about what “Level 1” means tomorrow. For now though I’m going to share three different stylistic examples that use Level 1 bass lines.

The first one is another straight 8th note blues line – so chords and feel as per yesterday. But the line is very different….here it is:

The next example has an early James Brown funk kind of vibe and looks like this:

And this example is an 8th note rock style example with the chords and band style in the style and sound of Brown Sugar – but the bass line is a Level 1 bass line (again, more about that in the next and last article of the series):

The final example in this lesson is a straight 8th note Motown style line. This uses a couple of slightly more advanced concepts but the note choices are resolutely Level 1:

Now those 4 examples are all Level 1 bass lines but they are all quite different and quite specific to their own genres. I could have played the first example – the blues example – in a swing 8th note style with EXACTLY the same notes but just interpreting each pair of 8th notes as a pair of swing 8th notes and not only would the line work perfectly, it would also give you a line with a different rhythmic feel.

I mentioned yesterday that the difference between most genres isn’t the devices (the “words”) that are being played – but the rhythm that they are being played with. I could equally have created Level 1 reggae lines. Or Rock And Roll lines. Or country lines. The primary difference would be the rhythm.


Do YOU Want To Create Your Own Lines Like This?

In the last article in this series I’ll introduce something new – if you want to learn the foundational devices for the vocabulary of the bass guitar AND learn how to put them together to create bass lines (in any genre)….then click the blue CONTINUE button below:

Paul Wolfe/

If you want to check out the previous articles in this series then click on the links below to check them out:


#1 How I Became The Songs Not Scales Guy -

#2 How To Play Bass - By Playing Words Not Letters -

#3 How To Play Bass - More On The Words Approach -