Once you have a grasp of how to play a simple bass part using
the roots of the chords, it is
time to expand your palette of sounds.
First we are going to revisit a root only bass line, and then expand
on it. The chord progression that we are going to use is from "Knockin'
On Heavens Door". It is a Bob Dylan song, but has also been
played by Eric Clapton, Guns n' Roses, as well as others.
First play through using just roots and the rhythms that are indicated.
from a half step below
Now you are going to add a little color to that root bound bass
line by approaching each root from a half step below. That means
that on the last 8th note before the chord changes, you are going
to play a note that is 1 fret below the root of the next chord.
This creates a little tension, and a little more interest in your
Now in real life, if you approach every root from a half step
below, it is going to be overkill. So once you have the hang of
approaching ever root, try to be a little more selective. Approach
only a couple of chords each time through the progression.
The word chromatic means adjacent half
steps. A chromatic scale contains only half step intervals
going from any note to the same note an octave higher.