“Barney Miller” was a comedy cop TV show that ran from 1975 to 1982. The show started with a skyline shot of Manhattan, and one of the all time great TV show theme bass lines.
When Abe Vigoda, the actor who played Fish in the show died in January of 2016 I was reminded of this classic. So I thought I’d share it with those of you old enough to remember at least part of the 70s 🙂
The Barney Miller Theme is really a jazz fusion tune and was written by Jack Elliott and Allyn Ferguson. Chuck Berghofer was the bass player.
(Video Bass Lesson)
The Barney Miller Theme Bass Riff Tablature
Here’s the tablature for the bass line. There will be 4 different position shifts you will need to make for this 2 measure riff. Where you see the eight rest () that’s your que to switch positions. Each of the 4 position changes will start with your left hand 1st finger.
There are also 2 pull-offs in this going from the 5th to the 3rd fret in the 2nd measure.
Anatomy of the Bass Line
This bass line is built around an F7 chord and an F Mixolydian Mode.
F7 Arpeggio Notes and Functions
F A C E♭
1 3 5 ♭7
Below are the notes of the F7 Arpeggio that are used in this bass line.
The first part of the bass line is just the root, 3rd and 5th of the chord with chromatic approaches leading to the 3rd and 5th of the F7.
F Mixolydian Mode Notes and Functions
F G A B C D E♭
1 2 3 4 5 6 ♭7
The 2nd part of the Barney Miller bass riff comes out of an F Mixolydian Mode.
Barney Miller Episodes
For a little inspiration you can watch some Barney Miller Episodes on Crackle. You can catch the theme song at the very end of each episode.