Bass Lesson – How to Play a Walking Bassline


Ok, so this is a very simple way to play a walking bassline, but you do actually use the things I’m showing you here in more complicated walking lines: going from a two-feel to a four-feel, I-VI-II-Vs (one, six, two, five), and fifths (think power chords!).

I had a teacher who tried to teach me how to play a walking bassline once upon a time, and it was awful. His method was… well, he didn’t really have a method. He just told me to “Go ahead and play a walking bassline over a blues.” Needless to say, I didn’t get very far.

Over the next few lessons regarding this topic, I plan on adding on new elements to your walking lines piece by piece, so that you won’t fall flat on your face like I did. I think it’s better to play simply and confidently, then to try too much at once. With that being said, it is important to push yourself beyond what you feel confident playing, but you don’t want to over do it and get discouraged.

Why learn how to play walking basslines? Well, it’ll force you to know your way around the fretboard. You’ll figure out how to play different patterns (scales, arpeggios, etc.) in different places on your bass, which is a good thing. It’ll help with your improvisational skills as well, because that’s what jazz is all about!

Alright, back to practicing.



  1. You are funny! I actually learned from your video. Keep it up.

  2. Thanks! I’m glad it helped 🙂

  3. I’m on Ramble On now, your vids are great.

  4. Just started playing bass about four months ago and this is the best video I have seen yet. Thanks!

  5. Kevin

    You’re welcome! It’s great to know these videos are helping people 🙂

  6. now ilearn walking bassline thanks bro.

  7. Fidel,

    Cool! This video just covers the very basics, but it’s a great place to start with your walking basslines. I’m sure you can find more tutorials on the internet that get into more advanced things like scales, chord tones and passing tones. Listening to the greats like Ray Brown and Paul Chambers helps, too.

    Good luck with your walking basslines. 🙂

    – Michael

  8. I really liked this video. I know a lot about what 3Rds,5ths are etc.

    But this helped me better put them to use

    I hope that you do something similar for scales and arpeggios to help me get away from the linear scalensound


  9. I really learned a lot from this, thanks. 🙂

    Any chance you could do a follow-up video, expanding on what we’ve learned in this one?

  10. Hey, Xavier and Glenn. Thanks for the comments. I’ve been crazy busy lately and don’t have plans to add more videos, but I just posted a follow-up to this that you guys might find helpful.

    It started out as a reply to a question I was asked over email, but I figured I would turn it into a post so others could read it.

    Hopefully this will answer some of your questions 🙂

    – Michael

  11. Thank you very much. I learnt a great deal from your lesson. A nice, simple and practcal approach for beginners like me.
    D. Chatjaval

  12. Thank you man i really appreciate this lesson, it really cleared up some questions i had in my head and fingers

  13. Awesome! Glad it helped.

  14. Michael – when you are playing an ‘A’ is it an open ‘A’ – it looks like you are hitting a ‘D’

  15. In the very beginning of the video? I’m playing A on the 5th fret of the E-string. Maybe it looks like I’m playing a D because I’m using the tip of my finger?

    I think I was playing that why in an attempt to make it easier to see what I was doing… but I guess I failed. (:

  16. Hi Chuck, yes I do play and love the 5 string, but the deep sound is not the only resoan more importantly is the symmetry of patterns that you get by adding the fifth string, which gives you access to a lot more notes without having to jump all over the fretboard. If the 5th string is getting in the way, it is only because they don’t know what to do with it properly, with all respect.

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