In this video bass lesson I’m going to show you a cool little blues bass riff with funky pop feel. There are 2 basic parts to the riff. One lower, and one a little higher…and it gives the feel of a question and answer.
How To Play the Blues Bass Riff
So first I’m just going to teach you how to play this blues bass riff. Then in the 2nd part of this bass lesson I will go into where the notes come from.
(Video Bass Lesson 1 of 2)
Blues Bass Riff in G Tablature
Below is the bass tablature for the blues bass riff over a blues in the key of G.
Anatomy of the Blues Bass Riff
So playing this blues bass riff is fun by itself, but if you can understand where the notes come from it will give you more power in creating your own bass lines. That’s what the 2nd half of this lesson is all about.
(Video Bass Lesson 2 of 2)
Dominant 7th Chords
The blues chord progression that I’m playing this riff over is made up of what are known as “Dominant 7th” chords. We are playing this blues bass line over a G7, C7, and D7 chord.
A dominant 7th chords is made up of the root, 3rd, 5th and flat 7 of a major scale. Flat 7 just means that the note is a half step lower than the 7th degree of the major scale.
Blues Bass Riff – Lower “Question” Part Note Functions
The lower “question” part of this bass riff is made up of the following notes. 1, 3, 4, #4, 5 & 6. The 1, 3 & 5 are just chord tones. The 4 & #4 are just filling in the gap between 3 and 5 chromatically. Chromatic passing tones. Then the 6 is a note that is commonly played in blues bass lines.
Blues Bass Riff – Upper “Answer” Part Note Functions
For the answer part of the bass riff you will start out playing the same 1 and 3 from the lower part, but then shift up the neck for the higher notes. For the higher notes we have a 1, 2, b3 and 6. The flat 3 would just be the 3rd note of a major scale lowered by a half step.
Without going into too much detail, b3 is a common note that’s played in the blues even though it’s not part of the chord. It just adds a little bluesy feel to our riff.
When you play this bass riff over the C7 and D7 chord…the functions are the same for each chord.
Blues Jam Track
Here is a jam track you can use to practice your new blues bass riff with.