In this video bass lesson we are going to take a look at a fun little funk bass groove out of an E Mixolydian mode. It has some syncopated 16th notes, double stops and some percussive hits. I will first playing the grooves all the way through, then I will give you a little more insight into how the bass line is put together.
(Video Guitar Lesson 1 of 2)
How To Play The Bass Groove
Funky Bass Groove Tablature
(Video Guitar Lesson 2 of 2)
Anatomy of the Bass Groove
E Mixolydian Mode on the Bass Guitar
So this funk bass groove is in E Mixolydian. Mixolydian is the mode build from the 5th degree of a major scale.
If I had the notes of an A Major Scale…
A B C# D E F# G# A
…and was to rearrange those same notes to go from E to E, instead of A to A…this would be an E Mixolydian Mode.
E F# G# A B C# D E
So it’s exactly the same notes as an A major scale, but with E being the main focus and key center instead of A.
Another way you could think about an E Mixolydian mode is that you are just lowering the 7th note of an E major scale.
E Major Scale
E F# G# A B C# D# E
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1
E Mixolydian Mode
E F# G# A B C# D E
1 2 3 4 5 6 b7 1
*Since the 7th degree of the E major scale is being lowered by a half step (1 fret), it’s often referred to as the “flat 7”.
E Mixolydian Bass Scale Charts
Here are a couple of basic ways that you could play a E Mixolydian on the bass guitar. The first one is one octave starting on the 3rd string at the 7th fret. The E note is in light gray. And the other scale charts just adds a few lower notes on the 3rd and 4th strings.
E Mixolydian Bass Scale Chart 1
E Mixolydian Bass Scale Chart 2
E7 Bass Arpeggio Charts
The primary chord of this bass groove is an E or E7. Here are a couple of ways you could play a E7 arpeggio on the bass. Learning to play arpeggios on the bass is essential to creating bass lines. The first is just a one octave version starting on the 3rd string 7th fret, and the other adds a couple of lower notes.
E7 Bass Arpeggio 1
E7 Bass Arpeggio 2
Chromatic Passing Tones
In the 2nd and 4th measures of this bass groove are what are called chromatic passing tones. I am just filling in the notes between 2 E7 arpeggio notes. The note on the 2nd string 7th fret is actually part of the E Mixolydian scale form that you learned above, but the note on the 2nd string at the 8th fret isn’t.
The note on the 8th fret of the 2nd string, and the 6th fret of the 4th strings are the only notes in this whole bass groove that are not in the E Mixolydian mode.
In measure 4 the chromatic passing tones are the same as in measure 2, just an octave lower.
Double Stops on the Bass
A double stop is just a term for playing 2 notes at the same time. And in this bass line there are 2 of them. Both are really skeletons of and E major chord and a D major chord.
Here are a couple of jam track to help you practice your new bass groove, and to test out your own bass line variations. One is just the drum track, and the other has some keyboards as well.
Drum Jam Track
Drum & Keyboard Jam Track
Alright, have fun with your new funky bass groove in E Mixolydian. Once you have learned the bass line exactly how I play it, try adding other notes from the bass scale forms and arpeggio forms above. Change the rhythms and start to make this your own.