Jazz Guitar Bass Lines 3: Walking Bass Line

Walking Bass Guitar Patterns

When listening to certain styles of jazz music, you may have noticed how the bass plays a smooth, steady line of quarter notes.  This is known as “walking bass.”  As a guitar player, you can also walk a bass line while simultaneously comping the chord changes of a tune.  To do so, you must use each chord’s particular scale to connect its root to the root of the next chord.  Chords that last longer than one measure will typically walk between the root on the downbeat of the first measure and another chord tone (typically the fifth) on the downbeat of the next measure.  To grasp this technique, it is helpful to memorize a handful of patterns that can be applied to a wider variety of tunes.