In this video bass lesson I’m going to show you a fingerstyle funk bass groove in the key of A. So let’s get funky!
(Video Bass Lesson)
Fingerstyle Funk Bass Groove Tablature
So to start, here’s the bass tablature for this riff…and then I’ll break things down a little.
Funk Bass Groove Breakdown
So this funk bass groove is build mostly from the notes of an A7 chord, as well as some notes from an A minor pentatonic scale.
The first section of the riff is just the root of the A7 chord, the octave…a b7, and then a couple of chromatic approach notes leading to the 5th of the chord (4 #4 and 5).
The numbers that I’m using here are just how the notes relate to a major scale. So when I say b7 (flat 7), that’s just the 7th note of a major scale lowered by a half step (1 fret).
An A7 chord is made up of 1 3 5 and b7. So you can see the first part of this bass groove has the 1 5 and b7. The notes that are not part of the chord only serve the purpose of getting to a chord tone. That is the 4 and #4 leading to the 5 of the chord.
The next part of this funky bass riff starts out the same as the first, but then at the end has a b3 leading to the 3, and then to the b7. So again, mostly just notes of the chord, but a chromatic approach to the 3rd of the chord. So b3 which is not in the chord, leads up to the 3 which is.
The 3rd section of the bass riff is exactly the same as the first.
And finally the last section of this is just a bass fill that comes out of an A Minor Pentatonic Scale. Below is the entire scale form in the 5th position with the fingering indicated.
Here are the scale functions for those notes of the fill for the curious.
Writing Bass Riffs
This entire bass groove is also a good lesson in a very important riff writing formula. There is a main idea. Then that same idea is played again but with a slight variation at the end. Then back to the main idea. And then it finally ends on something different.
So this bass riff writing formula is A A’ A B
After you learn this as is, try coming up with your own variations of this fingerstyle funk bass groove. In the A’ section, try varying the riff in a different way than I have shown you. And for the B section, try coming up with your own bass fill using the minor pentatonic scale.
Bass Groove Jam Tracks
Here are a couple of Jam Track to use as you are practicing this funk bass groove.