In order to capture the sound of this bass line I would recommend playing a P-Bass with flat wound strings (old ones if you have a set). If you play with round wounds I would play the line using a palm muting technique (see last part of video for explanation) and your tone control turned all the way down. That will allow you to get a dark percussive sound like the one on the recording.
- Intro – Played only at the beginning of the song
- Verse – Main groove of song
- Channel – Musical idea that is used to get you from one part of the song to another. In this case it gets you from the verse to the bridge
- Bridge – Different music idea used a couple of times in this song
- Breakdown – Bass out (another chance to practice your rests)
Notice how this bass line uses space to help create the groove. Not playing is a powerful tool that a lot of bass players forget about. How can you incorporate this idea of not playing into your bass lines? Another good way to start thinking about using rests is to listen to a lot of different bass players and see how they use this technique.
One other interesting thing to note about this bass line happens in the intro. In the fourth measure George played a double stop that includes both the major and minor third. The D is the root of the chords, the F would be the Minor 3rd and F# would be the Major 3rd. This is what we would call an approach tone. An approach tone is simply using a note that is a half step away from your target note. In this case the F would be the approach tone. We use these all the time in walking bass lines.
Two things to incorporate into your playing
- The use of space in your line
- The use of approach tones in your lines
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This groovin’ bass line was originally played by George Porter Jr from the Meters.
Do you have any other favorite bass lines from The Meters?