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How to Make it Swing in Five Minutes

How to Make it Swing in Five Minutes

Make it swing walking bass

Make Your Walking Bass Swing

Notes, notes, notes…It’s all about ‘da notes, right? We dutifully study “roots and fifths”, using chord tones and approach notes and enclosures… and then cool rhythmic skips, drops and left hand pull offs… all these get lots of attention during lessons and online discussions. But famously:

It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got That Swing

Whether you have many miles of walking bass under your belt or you are quite new to the swing thing, the key is to make it feel good. No cool note combo, or sophisticated reharmonization, or incredibly virtuoso-like drop can bail out a bass line that just doesn’t swing. On the other hand, a relatively simple line that feels good, will get you the gig every time.

But hey, I’m playing mostly quarter notes, so what could possibly go wrong?

Plenty! But the good news is that there are just two tweaks that can inject the swing into your walking bass lines…Watch!

Learn how to construct walking bass lines and much much more in our Online Course

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12 Replies to “How to Make it Swing in Five Minutes”

    1. Go for it! Don’t wait. You start by doing it slowly. Figure out a simple walking bass line (just roots and fifths is great, like this: 1 1 5 5) Start slowly and follow the tips in the video. You might just shortcut developing a whole bunch of bad habits and then having to unlearn them. Wish you good grooving!

  1. Great lesson. Short and focused. Plus good timing as I am just starting to work on some exercises to get some control over my bass line swing feel. Thanks!

    1. Happy it hit the spot for you, Natalie. Counting gets us into our heads, while words and syllables get us in the body. Happy ding-a-ling-ing 🙂

  2. Hi Ari, I come from a background in latin percussion and klave moves me. So making it swing (I think) comes to me naturally even if I’m not aware of the actual technical aspects of it. You’re so right. It don’t mean a thing if it don’t got that swing” 😉

    1. Cheers Reid, yes the more different rhythms (and rhythm instruments!) we have up our sleeves the more we will feel all kinds of rhythms! Keep it groovin’, no matter the style, right 🙂
      Thanks for writing!

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