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#453966 - 06/26/18 09:44 PM my walking bass progress
Mark79100 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/23/06
Posts: 1282
Loc: USA
So I didn't say anything about it for whatever reason? But, with all this talk I do about Power of the Mind and Mind over Matter principles, I decided to apply them to a new goal......learning left hand walking bass on the piano. My God...what a challenge! First 2-3 months and I still can't do it. But I'm determined...I wasn't going to give up. Finally the "mind" kicked in and it was slowly becoming easier...VERY slowly. Six months later, I can now "walk the bass" to maybe 50% of my tunes. A huge accomplishment for me, after six months of dedicated daily practice.

I'm not sure if one can play walking bass while they're improvising but I don't think I'm going to go for it. I wouldn't learn to do it in this lifetime. I'll be happy, probably sometime in the next six months, when I can "walk" all of my songs.

One tip I really want to share that helped me the most. I mentioned this before...I'll say it again. Sit down at your instrument and set an alarm for 15-20 minutes. And then STOP...no matter how good your practicing is going. Wait a period and go back to it again. Instead of two straight hours that start to get unproductive, you have multi mini-sessions. That's how the mind works (on everything, not just music). Instead of 7 daily sessions in a week, your mind reacts now to 30+ mini-sessions. That's a lot of practice.

But that helped me the most so I definitely wanted to mention it. Meantime I'm still working regularly every day on my left hand. I'm not going to give up until I've mastered "walking the bass!"

Mark

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#453967 - 06/26/18 09:54 PM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Mark79100]
Nigel Offline
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Registered: 06/01/98
Posts: 6029
Loc: Ventura CA USA
Originally Posted By Mark79100

I'm not sure if one can play walking bass while they're improvising but I don't think I'm going to go for it.


You can definitely improvise over playing walking bass lines. In fact doing that is a favorite of mine. Once playing walking bass is automatic muscle memory you will be totally free to improvise over it. Just give it a little more time and you will see I am right.

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#453969 - 06/26/18 10:47 PM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Nigel]
Mark79100 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/23/06
Posts: 1282
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By Nigel

Just give it a little more time and you will see I am right.


No problem there. I'm obsessed with learning this before my lifetime warranty runs out!

Nigel.....do you have any tips on an easier way to do this other than plain "hard work?"

I'm aware of muscle memory. I was reading some articles on it a few weeks ago. Does that mean something like with the common II-V-I progression your mind remembers the sequence every time it pops up.

Somebody said you have to keep shifting your mind from left hand to right. That's NOT true? Muscle memory trumps that?

And......how did YOU go about learning it?

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#453976 - 06/27/18 02:35 AM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Mark79100]
bruno123 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 3474
Loc: West Palm Beach, FL 33417
No clocks or practicing time each day -- just enjoying what I am doing. If there is a need I might give it some time, but not enough to kill my joy.

My dear friend who past away six years ago was part of the Watkins products; something like Amway products. He lived in a large home on A1A here in Florida with beach house on the other side of the road. He had a Wersi Delta 500 organ and a Technics keyboard. The man was rich. One day as we were driving over the intraostal bridge we saw two black men fishing. He turned to me and said, "John, I bet those men are happier than I am". Amen!

Just saying, John C.

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#453978 - 06/27/18 05:07 AM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Mark79100]
cgiles Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 5022
Loc: Roswell,GA/USA
John, I know it's an age and generational thing, but I hope one of your friends will point out (and try to explain) to you what a racially insensitive thing that is to say. I'm sure you meant no harm but you may want to rethink posting things like this. And for the record, 'black', when used in this context, should be capitalized (otherwise it' just a color). The point is, would your 'dear friend' have make the same statement if the men had been White? See what I mean?

I don't want to take this post 'south', so I won't say more.

chas (a proud Black man who doesn't like assumptions being made about his state of being based soley on the color of his skin)
_________________________
"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." [Nietzsche]

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#454002 - 06/27/18 10:01 AM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Mark79100]
Mark79100 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/23/06
Posts: 1282
Loc: USA
So back to my original question. Does anyone have comments or tips on learning walking bass? Nigel said it's easy...it started me thinking are my missing something in how I'm going about it (just keep plugging away).

BTW, I already did the Youtube routine.

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#454005 - 06/27/18 10:09 AM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Mark79100]
Uncle Dave Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/01/99
Posts: 10526
Loc: Philadelphia Pa, USA
Mark, the best way to gain a comfort factor with walking bass lines is to think of both hands as one. They need to act together, kick together, and complement each other. If you're soloing, keep the bass simple - maybe arpeggiate the 1-3-5, or even just the 1-5 during intricate parts of your solo. A simple "walk" through the diatonic scale is usually pretty much correct through alot of changes. I played bass more than I played piano, so when I think of the two, I think like a bass player, and just bang out the chords with my right hand. I've said many times that bass is far more important than the chords to me. Tune hierarchy goes like this:
1) melody (usually voice, in my case)
2) bass
3) chords
4) drums
5) everything else (fluff)
_________________________
Everyone, and everything I listen to is my teacher. Every instrument, every voice, every sound in nature ... they are all my private tutor ... 24/7 for free.

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#454008 - 06/27/18 10:35 AM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Uncle Dave]
Mark79100 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/23/06
Posts: 1282
Loc: USA
Dave....thanks for your "elaborate" reply. What you wrote made me think I AM going about this wrong. I'm a perfectionist in general so I think I'm trying to play advanced bass lines as a bass player would play and right hand as a pianist would play. I can do the walking bass now, but as soon as I start to improvise, I lose it. As far as playing just plain good bass against your right hand, I'm OK there

Let me read over carefully what you wrote here later on when I can concentrate on it. That old saying....The quickest way to insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same results!

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#454011 - 06/27/18 10:38 AM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: cgiles]
bruno123 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 3474
Loc: West Palm Beach, FL 33417
Wow Chas when I used the word black I never meany to offend anyone. I was just telling the story as I remmember it.

Please accept my opology, John C.


Edited by bruno123 (06/27/18 10:39 AM)

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#454013 - 06/27/18 10:43 AM Re: my walking bass progress [Re: Uncle Dave]
Mark79100 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/23/06
Posts: 1282
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By Uncle Dave
I've said many times that bass is far more important than the chords to me.


I forgot to comment on this important remark to other members also. That's what happened to me six months ago. I started to realize how important a good bass line is....how it moves a song along and defines it probably more than the drums.

A few years ago I was at a piano performance. I will never forget the pianist played All The Things You Are and the second time through he added "walking bass." The difference knocked me right out of my seat.

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