Bass Swing

By Bass Levite


The Jazz Past
A lot of the modern contemporary christian music these days are rock based and concentrate more on right hand techniques. It involves mainly just root notes in the bass lines and a few riffs here and there to funk it up. The jazz type of christian music of the 90s, which involves a lot of left hand techniques was somehow lost. Examples of the jazzy type from Hillsong in the past are "Church On Fire", "God is in the House" and "Joy in the Holy Ghost". The bass forms the backbone of these types of songs, and are often very complex. Most of these are based on the swing bass style of playing and often also uses the blues scale.


The C7 Blues Scale
-----------3-5-
-----3-4-5-----
-3-6-----------
---------------

In this post, I will cover the slow type of swing. The fast swings will be covered in the next one.



Bass swing style (foundation)
The swing style is a commonly used bass line. They are based on arpeggios and creates a "swing" feeling, from which the name was derived from. The first part of the video shows the "clean" swing without anything too fancy. This is the foundation and the overall rhythm of the music is based on this.

C F
-----------------2-5-----2-5-
---2-5-----2-5-3-----3-3-----
-3-----3-3-------------------
-----------------------------

C G C
-----------------4-7-----4-7---
---2-5-----2-5-5-----5-5-------
-3-----3-3-------------------3-
-------------------------------

There are almost infinitely many variations you can do, and I can only cover a few of them here, leaving the reader to experiment on their own.


Bass swing style (blues scale ending)
C F
-----------------2-5-5-2---
---2-5-------2-3---------3-
-3-----3-3-5---------------
---------------------------

C G C
-----------------4-7-------3---------
---2-5-------7-5-------3-----5-3-----
-3-----3-3-7---------5---5-------5-3-
-------------------------------------

C - A walking line at the end to get to the F chord.
F - The arpeggio reverses and goes back to F at the end.
C - An overshoot walk before going to the next G chord.
G - Playing some blues notes at random to jazz it up towards the end. The
most important thing to keep in mind when doing these, is to land back at
the next chord at the right time.


Bass swing style (pentatonic scale ending)
C F
-----------------2-5-----5-2-
---2-5-----2-5-3-----3-3-----
-3-----3-3-------------------
-----------------------------

C G C
-----------------4-7-------------------
---2-5-----2-3-5-------5---5h7-5-------
-3-----3-3-----------5---5-------7-5-3-
---------------------------------------

C - No walking line here. Sometimes it's good to let the bass lines "breathe".
F - Another variation of arpeggio, where the 5th note is played first after the root note, and then followed by the 3rd note.
C - Walking from C to G.
G - Playing some pentatonic notes at random and also a hammer-on towards the end to funk it up. The most important thing to keep in mind when doing these, is to land back at the next chord at the right time.


Bass swing style (subtle ending)
C F
-------5-------2-5---2---
---2-5---5-2-3-----3---3-
-3-----------------------
-------------------------

C G C
---------------------------
---2-5---------------------
-3-----3-2-----2-5---2-5-3-
-----------5-3-----3-------

C - The arpeggio goes up to the high C note and then reverses back.
F - Towards the end, instead of playing the 5th note, the root note is played.
C - Walking to the low G towards the end.
G - The low G arpeggio.

Skills learnt:
The reader would have learnt the following skills!
- Introduction to blues scale
- Bass swing style (slow type)
- Arpeggio variations
- Improvising with pentatonic scale
- improvising with blues scale


"It's time to get out of the root note comfort zone!"

1 comment:

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