Bring a new level of rhythm and groove to your guitar playing by incorporating walking basslines

(Image credit: George Howlett)

There are few things in music more satisfying than a perfect walking bassline. In this lesson we explore the sounds of classic jazz walking bass, learning how to adapt the ideas to the fretboard and use them for new harmonic-melodic inspiration. 

Most of us get ourselves further into jazz by transcribing lead lines or learning more chord extensions. While these are both fantastic methods, which I fully endorse, they have their drawbacks. It takes a while to fluidly incorporate complex chords into our improvisation, and solo lines leave us particularly exposed if we fall off and lose the changes - not to mention the various challenges of syncopated, stop-start phrasings.

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George Howlett is a London-based musician and writer, specializing in jazz, rhythm, Indian classical, and global improvised music.