Jazz Bass Lines 


Author : Mike Downes
Year : 2000
Format : Book

Level beginners, intermediate, advanced

JDB Jazz Data Bass Link
  • Step by step approach teaching walking bass
  • Historical comparison of 8 different bass players playing a blues bass-line
  • Mainly focussing on blues and rhythm changes. For a next edition it might be nice to add some standards
  • Putting some attention to how the bass line relates to the other instruments might add value to the method. (counterpoint?)


This is one of the gems I found while doing my master research. A thoroughly methodic book for learning to play Jazz bass lines by a fairly unknown bass player. The book leads the student step by step through building bass lines. First by constructing a walking bass line on a twelve bar blues by playing only chord notes (chordal bass lines), carefully adding inversions and sevenths and teaching fundamentals of voice leading. Then progressing to scalar bass lines, melodic and harmonic approach. Rounded off with examples of walking bass lines on a blues by 8 different bas players throughout Jazz history. From Pops Foster to Gary Peacock. Presented simultaneously on 8 staves. Very insightful and practical. It develops to other musical forms like rhythm changes and common harmonic progressions. And it offers different solutions for different styles. 


Although this book is not a complete method, it does offer a great approach to learning bass lines. I definitely recommend it for all students, starting to play bass and for those who need extra support in playing walking bass lines.


jazz double bass

in the

21st century

By Tony Overwater