Creating a Walking Bass Line in Jazz Piano

Creating a walking bass line in jazz piano is an advanced concept that can be intimidating for beginners. However, with practice and dedication, it can be mastered. There are two main approaches to creating a walking bass line: the first is to use only two notes per chord, the root and the fifth; the second is to use more notes and create a countermelody. The first approach is the simplest and involves walking up (or down) from the root to the fifth.

After the fifth note, you'll hit the root again an octave higher (or lower) than where you started. This is an example of using a 2-5-1 in C major. The purpose of a walking bass line is to outline the chord progression while providing an interesting melodic line that acts as a countermelody. When practicing, it's important to use a metronome and focus on rhythmic accuracy and developing a strong sense of time.

To get started, try playing the root in repetitive quarters of notes with the left hand, while the right hand plays the vocal chords without roots. The second approach involves using more notes and creating a countermelody. Take the first four bars of the jazz standard “Fly Me to The Moon” as an example. Here, you'll need to use more notes than just the root and fifth to create a more interesting sound.

Creating a walking bass line in jazz piano requires practice and dedication, but with enough effort it can be mastered. It's important to remember that jazz bass lines should not be too repetitive, unless you're intentionally playing a vampire, as in blues or boogie-woogie.