A Short Guide to Improvising Blues Basslines
Improvising Blues basslines is a very important skill for all backing players. This is the ability improvise variations on a basic bassline while playing. In this lesson I’ve chose a very basic stock groove that you’ll have no doubt heard before and then demonstrate various ways you can create rhythmic variations to spice up the accompaniment.
In this lesson, we’re working on taking a very typical blues bassline which defines an A7 chord:
Given this set of notes is going to stay in this particular order, we’re going to vary other factors such as the rhythm and repetition of the notes. The basic contour of the notes stays the same. You also have the possibility to adding ghost notes (as open strings or dead notes) instead of simply repeating the same note.
The key to this is understanding the various 16th note permutations which can be applied to any of the basic notes
Any note from the original pattern can be repeated using one these rhythms. You can also add dead notes or open string ghost notes in order to add more texture and interest to the line. I’ve illustrated a few variations below:
16th Note Variations
This lesson is played pick style with palm muting, but there’s not reason why you can’t use your fingers. If you do use your fingers, this style sounds pretty good with some form of muting, either as a foam / felt mute on or under your bridge or using Rocco Prestia style fretting hand technique (and if you don’t know who Rocco Prestia is, look him up!). So grab your bass and get grooving! Till next time…
Download the Tab
You can download the guitar pro tab, a pdf and the audio for this lesson below:
You can download TuxGuitar for free if you don’t have Guitar Pro to play