How A Professional Bass Player Who Didn't Know How To Play Walking Basslines Got Started In 10 Days....And Paid His Rent With The Gigs He Played Them On!
If you’ve read my emails this week you’ve already heard this story. To recap:
• I needed to learn to play walking bass in 10 days due to a series of background music gigs that my business partner Jon had gone and landed
• The book that helped get me from Nought to Sixty was Building Walking Basslines by Ed Friedland. And yeah, that should probably be more like Nought To Thirty 😉
Now if you are interested in playing walking bass lines you might be thinking: Cool, I’ll make out like Paul did and go and buy Ed’s book.
Before you do…..there’s some important information I’ve not told you.
In 2013, having analyzed what both I remember of how I practiced that material, and what Jon (who also played the role of my feedback partner) remembers, through the lens of what I now know about deliberate practice ….
…I’d be surprised if 1 in 100 players who are at the playing level now that I was then could replicate the results that I got. As I’ve said, I made more progress as a bass player in those 10 days than I had in the previous 4 or 5 years of study and playing.
And so I created a course called Walking Basslines 101 to teach other bass players this.
I used Ed’s book as a jumping off point. But it literally is just an entry point. Walking Basslines 101 goes a lot further – and a lot broader - into the topic of walking basslines and how to learn them.
• A Stupidly Simple But Brutally Effective Composition Method That Starts Training Your Brain How To Play Spontaneous Lines (Module 8)
• How To Model The Time Of Your Favourite Upright Players Using The Transcribe Loop And Play Exercise (module 24)
• The Secret To Understanding Keys So You Can Transpose On The Fly For Any Tune – Anytime (Module 20)
But there’s much, much more.
Before we go on, here’s a short video clip of me playing a walking bass line to the chord progression of Fly Me To The Moon. This bass line was written by Nigel, one of the students at around the Module 7 or 8 stage of the course…and whilst it’s not a world beater I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s a very passable walking bass line.
One important thing to remember: when Nigel started the course he knew absolutely nothing about walking bass lines. So if you’re thinking he had some kind of advantage over you – and that YOU couldn’t do this….well, think again.
Lessons 1 to 10
One of the learning principles used in the course is called “isolation.” And the isolation process focuses on learning just one new idea or device at a time – and then practicing that idea and beginning the process of assimilating it BEFORE moving on to the next idea.
And using this learning principle allows the student to construct a solid foundation that they can then build on top of and add more and more interesting and sophisticated layers.
The Course lays out in approximately three stages. The first stage is the beginning stage, and in this stage you’ll learn:
• The 8 bar “training wheels’ chord progression from the A section of a well known jazz standard – and why it’s such good practice material
• Which beats in the bar to position your chord tones on to signpost the chord progression of the song your playing
• The three types of ‘connector’ notes that lead the listener’s (and your bandmate’s) ears through the signpost notes that you are playing
• How to implement this material using a process I call deliberate composition – possibly the biggest musical breakthrough I’ve ever stumbled upon
• How the principles of deliberate practice apply to learning walking bass lines
• Another “training wheels” progression – the jazz blues in several keys
Plus there are several songs picked from the jazz repertoire to practice your growing list of ideas and devices on. Not only will you find Chord Charts for these songs so that you can create your own deliberate compostions….you’ll find chord charts for these songs for the different sections of the songs.
There’s more though.
I’ve generated playalong backing tracks for you to download (in MP3 format) for every one of these songs at different tempos (e.g. 80 BPM, 100 BPM, 120 BPM for these beginning sections). AND I’ve generated backing tracks for each of the sections in the songs. So if you are focusing on the A section of All The Things You Are…you’ll have multiple backing tracks to work with at different tempos.
These backing tracks were generated in a program called Band In A Box – and they are not cheesy sounding midi files. Instead they are loops played by real musicians that the program arranges algorithimically depending on what chord changes you input into it. (Paul’s Note: if you’re serious about learning walking bass lines I highly recommend that you buy Band In A Box, it’s like a flight simulator for musicians!)
There are multiple learning modalities built into the course.
First, each lesson is available as a downloadable PDF so you can add it to your Kindle, or print it out, and take it with you to study when you are not at your computer.
Second, every part of the PDF is replicated as a web page. And the reason for that is because every single music example has been videod and embedded on the appropriate lesson page.
So if you want to hear how a particular example sounds…you can go to the appropriate web page and check it out. And play it back as many times as you need to.
(Paul’s Note: in the original run through I was also asked to make the video examples downloadable…from Lesson 8 onwards there is a composite video that contains all of the examples in order that you can download and cross reference when you are away from the internet.)
Finally the experience I had back in the glory day when I was learning walking bass lines has convinced me that the most effective learning method is pick ONE concept or idea, and then practice that over and over. And only move on when it’s starting to get internalized.
Every lesson has a suggested action plan which will give you a step by step plan on how to go about implementing the material from that lesson. And the action plans will hammer that point home.
Lessons 11 to 20
Lesson 1 to 10 cover the basics thoroughly in a similar manner to how I originally learned – only more deliberate practice principles have been applied so that the learning system is exponentially more effective.
Lessons 11 to 20 build on the foundation covered in Lessons 1 to 10. Topics include:
• The 2-5-1 - The One Chord Progression To Rule Them All (hit tip to JRR Tolkien) (modules 13 and 14)
• The Gamification Of Learning – Musical Games That Force You To Try Out Note Combinations That You’d Otherwise Never Find…
• A Mini Library Of Patterns That ALL Jazz Bass Players Use
How To Take Said Mini-Library To The Nth degree
• 36 Ways You Can Play A Chordal Bassline Over a ii-V7 Progression Using A Straightforward But Sophisticated Resolution
• Changing The Contour Of A Chordal Line Using Octave Displacement
• Mastering Chordal Basslines Using Gamification
How Walking Bass Players Can Use The Same Mental Structures As Chess Grandmasters To Remember Tunes, Lines, Ideas and Much More!
• BONUS LESSON: exploring a jazz resolution on 2-5 tunes that’s normally taught to soloists (in a $50 textbook!)…and adapting it for walking bass
Needless to say there are more tunes to practice with – on this run of the course I’m aiming to add a new tune to every lesson – and each of these tunes is split down into its constituent sections as before – and there are backing tracks at different tempo levels to help you play through unfamiliar chord progressions
Lessons 21 to 30
There are two paths you can take at this point of the course….you can either assimilate the material you’ve already covered with the additional layer of the Rhythm Bonus sections (see Bonuses). Or you can go through the remaining lessons and look at the more advanced material in the course. E.g.:
• The Implied Chord Subsitution Method That Gives Your Modal Lines Direction, Resolution And Authenticity
• How To Create A Sense Of Order In Your Basslines Using Sequences
• How To Create Melodic Tension On Beats 3 and 4 That Resolves On The Downbeat
• The 5 Essential Jazz Turnarounds You Need To Know – And How To practice Them
• How To Play Chordal Basslines That Don’t Sound Like Arpeggios
• How To Train Your Internal Sense Of Time
• Melodic 4 Note Cells That Work As Arpeggio Alternatives
• A Great One Note Device To Create Melodic Tension
• Why Implying A Gb7 Chord When Everyone Else Is Playing A C7 Chord Works - And More Importantly, Sounds Great!
• How To Practice Turnarounds By Creating “Turnaround Tunes”
• The 5 Major Benefits Of Transcribing And Studying The Greats
• The 5 Specific Vocabulary Types To Look For When Transcribing (Or Studying)
• My Recommended Recordings For Getting Started With Transcription (I Guarantee They Won’t Be What You Think)
• The History Of The Turnaround – Chord Substitutions/Tri-Tone Subsitutions And More
• An Advanced Resolution Through Chord Changes That’s Usually Taught To Soloists – But Can Be Used In Walking Lines Too
• The Three Part Learning Sequence To Assimilating A New Playing Idea Or Device
• How To Combine One Bar Stock Patterns Into Two (Or More) Bar Sequences
• What Kinds Of Sequences Don’t Lead To The Downbeat – And How To Use Them Effectively
• The Three Part Learning Sequence To Assimilating A New Playing Idea Or Device
Some of this material you won’t find anywhere else, except maybe mentioned in passing as if you should know how to learn and implement it.
But all of these topics have been viewed through the lens of Deliberate Practice – and are taught accordingly.
If that were all….that would be an awful lot. Most of you are busy people with busy lives….if you practice one hour a day on this material for six days a week there’s 9 months to 12 months of work in the course.
That’s not all though.
Bonus 1 – The Rhythm Module
Starting at lesson 20 there’s a bonus series of lessons on rhythm. These lessons will work through all the rhythmic permutations you can use in your walking bass lines to really spice up your lines.
Bonus 2 – Walking Bass Corner
Walking Bass Corner was a column I wrote in First Bass And Beyond for those students of the first run of Walking Basslines 101 who were also subscribers to First Bass And Beyond – that was about 80% of them!
Walking Bass Corner ended up running for 40 weeks and covered some great ancillary material ranging from playing bossas to playing two beat to walking in 3:4 to analyzing choruses of bass lines from cats like Ray Brown and George Duvivier and picking out ideas and new stock patterns from them.
All 40 Issues of Walking Bass Corner will be included….though they may not go live until Lesson 20 or later (that’s to be confirmed).
Please note Walking Bass Corner is PDF only…
Bonus 3 – Autumn Leaves Transcriptions
Autumn Leaves could have been written especially for beginning jazz players - it features a three fundamental jazz chord movements in just the first 8 bars. We use it a lot to teach for these reasons in the course. I've transcribed four different versions of Autumn Leaves by different bass players so that you can analyze and lift patterns and ideas from these players.
That’s pretty much it. Other than a few tech details:
• The lessons “drip” out at weekly intervals (that;s my publication schedule though so don’t ever – EVER – feel under pressure to keep up with that. Because…
• …you have lifetime access to the course plus any and all future updates. (There’s a couple I’ve been asked about that I’m thinking about….whilst they are still thoughts I’ll leave them there…but who knows!)
• The Bonus of Walking Bass Corner and Big Band Bass won’t be available to future students,
• There are just 50 places available. Some courses look to take more – I’ve even seen a cap of 200 imposed that sells out and then a few more places become magically available . For this run of Walking Basslines 101 it’s 50 students. Then the course is closed.
• There’s a 30 day No Questions Asked Money Back guarantee if you enrol and find that you don’t enjoy the course or it’s not for you.
That’s brings the story up to date…
...oh, you need to know how much the price is.
For all the stuff I've listed above....the 30 modules, the rhythm module, the Walking Bass Corners (over 400 pages there) the Big Band Bass course, the MP3s (over 500 tracks at multiple tempo levels) , lifetime access, etc etc....the enrollment cost is just...
That works out at less than SIX BUCKS PER LESSON....and throw in the other material too. The enrollment details are below.
30 Day 100% Money Back Guarantee: We know that you'll find the unique deliberate practice bass teaching in Walking Basslines 101 will help you learn walking bass. We want you to be just as confident with your purchase though, so there's a full 30 day no questions asked guarantee period.
If for whatever reason you're not satisfied, all you have to do is drop us an email and let us know. We'll refund your purchase ASAP with no hassles and no hoops to jump through, and we can part as friends.
So It's Time To Make A Decision: You should have all the information you need to decide whether you want to learn these working songs, starting in the next few minutes. Simply CLICK the big yellow 'JOIN NOW' button below and you'll be taken to the registration from on the Courses Website. Once you've joined, you'll be automatically added to the Walking Basslines Course and sent a welcome email. If you don't receive that email for any reason, then don't panic, simply send us an email and we'll work out what went wrong in the process and get you added to the site manually. So go ahead. Click the big yellow button below and JOIN NOW.
P.S. If you don't know how to play walking bass...this is the most cost effective way to get started with a proven method (over 350 prior students) - and from what I've seen (and I confess I've not seen everything!) this is the only method where all the principles of deliberate practice were deliberately built into the course from the ground up.
Hitting the 'Join Now' button is the easiest and most cost effective way to get started learning these working songs. Remember that a maximum of 20 students will be taken on in this run....AND enrollment closes on Monday 12th May.
Paul Wolfe aka "Don Pablo" ' the Don of Deliberate Practice