View Full Version : Learning to Lay Down Simple Bass Grooves

07-07-2010, 02:36 AM
I originally typed this in the "What bass do you play thread, but felt like it was too much of a hijack so I am starting a new thread here. I would like to be able to lay down simple bass grooves for backing my ukulele so I am trying to get the basics down.

I recently found what I think is a prettty good buy on a book to learn the rudiments of bass playing. Its one of the Dummy series - "Bass Guitar for Dummies." I normally don't like the Dummie books, but this one is pretty cheap, and kept my interest for a few hours in the library. A couple of things I learned from it may help. First the bass is tuned like the bottom four strings of a regular guitar, only an octave lower. That means you can work out bass lines (grooves) on a regular guitar and they will transfer to the bass directly. Second, many grooves for major scales are developed from the I,III, V and/or VII notes (pentatonic scale?) of the chord being played - see Chapter 6, "Creating the Groove." They usually start with the root note (the I) and most any combination of those notes you can work out that carries the beat will sound ok. Since all the strings are tuned the same, the grooves are also movable up and down the neck, but obviously the chord will change as you do this, just like movable chords on the uke do. There is a lot more meat and practice exercises to this in the book. I am sure the real bass players will jump in and correct this, if it is not right. I know it seems to work when laying down bass grooves on my regular guitar and playing the chords with my uke, and also seems to work fine on the piano, which I also can't play, but can press the keys down on.

Anyway, that is all I know about the bass, which isn't much, but hopefully will help me lay down some simple grooves when I finally get a bass.

07-07-2010, 05:20 AM
Everything I learned about playing bass, which isn't that much, I got right here:


That is lesson 1. I only made it to lesson 4 or 5, but by then he had already covered the Walking Bass & Playing the Box, both staples of simple bass grooves.


07-07-2010, 07:07 AM
Thanks for that link sharp. The great thing is that I am finding that most things I have learned about chords and music theory are the same whether you play the uke, the guitar, the bass, or even the piano, and it all kind of reinforces the other. My biggest problem now is that I am getting interested in too many different instruments. My UAS has turned into IAS. My study is starting to resemble a band room. I guess I blame that on YouTube and wanting to do videos with more than one instrument. Fun stuff though.

07-07-2010, 09:44 AM

My fav instruction books.

Play bass online is pretty decent too.

07-08-2010, 02:49 PM
Get Ed Friedland's bass method book. It's good for bass clef note reading and has alot of different stylistic bass riffs with a cool play along CD.
Hint, if your in it for the long haul, get the version with vol. 1,2 &3 all in one book.

07-10-2010, 02:59 AM
Also I agree about Carol Kayes books etc. Although the presentation is a little rough compared to Ed's books there is alot of great info to be learned from carol's books. I gigged consistantly for 25 years using the info I learned from carol's books. Just the basic stuff. I just recently bought her more jazz oriented materials and find I still have alot of learning to do.

07-10-2010, 03:07 AM
Thanks for those recommendations. I never heard of Carol Kayes before this (shows you how much I don't know). Amazing talent and literaly one of the mothers of modern bass playing. I was totally blown away by the list of people she had as students. She was a real pioneer in what I imagine was mostly a man's world playing bass.

As sort of an aside, I went to Sam Ash yesterday to kick the tires and I couldn't find a parking place close to the building. I thought it was strange, since they are seldom crowded. I figured they must be having a whale of a sale, so I asked a lady also on her way in from the far end of the parking lot. She told me they were having a drum and bass workshop and Victor Wooten was there. Victor was mostly finished when I got there, but I got to hear him play a bit. I had seen some of his YT videos. Man, can he make a bass sing.

07-10-2010, 03:29 AM
I took lessons for a few months but I supplemented that with the material on studybass.com. You might want to go through some of those lessons. The site has a lot of clever demonstrations and explains the theory stuff simply such that it isn't like doing your math homework.

08-03-2010, 05:56 PM
i just play around with the pentatonic scale. extremely easy and versatile thing to learn, and that's what i use for all my bass grooves.

08-07-2010, 11:59 AM
bassically you just need to...

1. learn to play basslines you like
2. learn a bunch of arpeggios
3. practice like a mother f****er

the rest it just fluff.- there are millions of easy to play lines online these days on bassmasta and such like. if you can hear it then there is probably a tab for it.

although it is true that with a guitar you can work out bass stuff the tone and the weight of the strings makes it feel and play totally different, so get a cheap one with good action, don't worry about pick ups or amps cos you can jut get ampeg and it will sound absolutely amazing.

08-11-2010, 12:28 AM
One of the best pieces of advice I received regarding bass playing is that the space between notes is as important as the note itself.