How A Professional Bass Player Who Didn't Know How To Play Walking Basslines Went From 0-60 In Just 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.
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.
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 (hat 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!
Needless to say there are more tunes to practice with 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
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.
There are 30 lessons in Walking Bass 101. If you were going to take 30 lessons with Ed Friedland himself or Jon Liebman or Janek Gwizdala I think you'd be investing well north of $2000 for 30 lessons. And that's without factoring in travel costs and the opportunity cost of travel time.
When Walking Basslines 101 was last open for enrollment (back in 2018) it was priced at less than $10 a lesson....just...
To put that in context....the course takes 28 weeks to roll out fully and that makes it less than the price of a cup of cheap coffee (not that fancy Starbucks stuff) a day. On its own that represents a great investment in your future bass playing...
Bonus 1 - Deliberate Practice For Bass Version 1.0 (value $47)
In 2010 I wrote a 300 plus page book about applying Deliberate Practice for bass which used to sell for $77. Now I no longer sell this book because my understanding of deliberate practice has outgrown what I originally wrote about - but the information isn't outdated in any way and is still 100% relevant. One day I'll write Version 2.0 which will layer in the understandings I've gained in the last 8 or 9 years that go beyond this...but this is still a great place to start learning about what should be a foundational level topic but that: (a) no-one really teaches and (b) no-one who does mention it seems to properly understand
Bonus 2 - How To Practice In your Dead Time (value $47)
This is an eBook I wrote in 2011 about how you can use time when you don't have your bass handy to practice your bass. If you productively use 30 minutes of 'dead time' a day you'll get an additional 150 hours of practice in the next 12 months! (Which is actually priceless!)
Bonus 3 - Rhythm Module (value $47)
In the main course one of the learning principles is to isolate the quarter note rhythm. In the Rhythm Module - which is like a mini-course all on its own! - you'll learn all the ways you can layer rhythm onto your walking bass lines to make them sound more authentic to you, your band mates and your audience.
Bonus 4 - The "Bert Ligon" Resolutions Lesson (value $27)
In the original run of Walking Basslines 101 I discovered that apart froma couple of vague mentions in jazz bass literature there's actually not a lot of practical information on the b7-3 resolution. In my research I found a book by Bert Ligon that explores more about the b7-3 resolution from the viewpoint of soloists. But a lot of that material can be applied to walking bass in ways that make sophisticated and unexpected ways to play through both Major and Minor 2-5-1 Progressions. Originally I sketched out my research into a PDF (that ran for 26 pages!). Now it's an interactive lesson with video that is a bonus to the course.
Bonus 5 - Bonus Song Library (value $27)
One of the things that I did when I originally learned walking bass lines was to apply all the ideals I learned to multiple songs....there are a bunch of songs built into the Course itself but in the Bonus Song Library there are an extra 25. Each of these is available in multiple tempos and with different sections isolated plus a workbook you can print out to help you create your own lines to these songs.
Bonus 6 - Ron Carter 2-5-1 Lines (value $27)
One of the really cool things about Band In A Box is their "real tracks." These are real parts played by real musicians. In 2016 they recorded Ron Carter for some styles....if you know how to reverse engineer some of this you can extract some cool information. This short PDF features 20 different 2-5-1 lines derived from Ron Carter's work for PG Music.
That’s pretty much it. Other than a few tech details:
• Lessons 1 and 2 are already waiting in the Members Area for you. Lessons 3 and 4 will appear in 7 days time....
• ...the rest of 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!)
• 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…
And without any of the bonuses you're still looking at a cost of less than $8 per lesson. Throw in the bonuses and it makes this a no brainer.
Time to make a decision - 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 8020bass.com 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 600 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 to walk on the bass.