I'm heavily inspired by Roger Waters' basslines, and they are the reason I picked up bass - Yet, there's a problem -- I can't find any tutorial on how to create basslines like they do. For example, "On the turning away" has a nice bassline that follows the chord changes, but when I try, it sounds empty without the riffs and fills they use(especially at the 2:40 mark, the mini bass solo)

Are there any tips for creating a bassline like Roger Waters can whip up? Or just making riffs that he does?

Thanks for the help.

PS: I know basic music theory, so I might be missing something obvious to you people who know it in and out :)

EDIT: I thought of another question after I posted it. How do I create a bassline over a guitar solo? That's always plagued me too. Thanks.

  • 2
    Note that Roger Waters was not in the band when "On The Turning Away" was recorded. If you have more than one question, you should post them as two separate questions. It's hard to answer how to perform the creative process - it's generally different for everyone. May 29, 2017 at 5:23
  • 1
    That mini bass solo sounds like it's played on a fretless. You won't replicate that sound on a fretted.
    – Tim
    May 29, 2017 at 6:11

4 Answers 4


This is not so much an answer to how they're created, but somewhere to go look to find more examples...

The bassist for all the time Waters was MIA from Pink Floyd was the remarkable Guy Pratt - that wikipedia page doesn't cover a fraction of what he played on.

Apart from 'covering' for Waters, he has played fretless [also fretted & piano] on a number of notable tracks.
Some of these I only discovered recently were all the same bassist, however I had always considered the bass lines as being noteworthy in themselves.

Michael Jackson - Earth Song* [yes, it's Pratt, not a synth]
Roxy Music - the entire 'Avalon' period
Icehouse, Iggy Pop, Echo & the Bunnymen, Gary Moore, Natalie Imbruglia, the list is varied & goes on a long way...

There's a good list of what he's played on at AllMusic

You could do far worse than simply try to learn a good handful of these, note for note. By the time you've done that, you will be getting a feel as to how he constructs against various styles of music.

*I personally consider this one of the finest bass lines of all time - it vastly improves a song I don't really like much until the bassline really kicks in at the end - the improv is stunning, leaping out from what is essentially a simple repeating line.


This is more of a composition question rather than a bass one. No one can really answer this question. Pink Floyd used to have great ideas, and you cannot really tell where they got them from. I think this is a case in many compositions. You can get inspired by everything and anything at any given time, without even realizing it.

Of course knowing music theory and being good at your instrument (whatever that is) will help you undoubtedly, but what you should do is keep playing, practicing, improvising and playing with others. Try to learn songs you like, but try to get inspired by them and write something of your own.


Speaking as a Pink Floyd fan and bassist, I never really consider Roger Waters' basslines to be particularly groovy. In Pink Floyd, Nick Mason was a less-than-metronomic timekeeper, which slants their music somewhat until around 1972 or so. With the arrival of Dark Side of the Moon both Nick and Roger settled for an uncluttered and economic approach as a rhythm section that gives a sense of 'space' or lets the music breathe (geddit?) more. Prior to Dark Side, if you listen to live recordings from the Ummagumma and Atom Heart Mother eras then you really sense where Nick pushes and pulls the tempo of the music, complete with gargantuan fills that rob the music of any beat. During that era Nick Mason was combining a somewhat rudimentary and academic approach to drumming (you could, say, never fault the way he held his sticks) with a sort of showboating and bombastic approach to live drumming that borrowed the aesthetic, if not the raw talent, of Ginger Baker; right down to the silver sparkle double-bass kit.

For his part Roger Waters started off as quite a fiddly bassist. Listen to the bassline of See Emily Play and he is forever playing in the upper register of the instrument and playing interesting harmonizing notes where you would expect the root to be pumping in. Likewise his playing on Piper At the Gates of Dawn is inventive, in a manner that makes me think his primary influence was Paul McCartney.

Oddly enough Waters' bass playing became simpler as the band transitioned into 1968 and 1969. Waters' bass playing is full of octave leaps. In terms of getting a feel for his 'groovyness' for this era, into the Dark Side era, you simply have to study his basslines. He used a lot of octaves and fifths, and often his turnarounds copied the rhythm of Nick Mason's loping fills.


if I knew that, I'd be rich. but, in general, by being creative rather than reviewing music theory. copy em as exact as you can. make little teeny tweaks. throw away the tweaks that suck. keep the tweaks that don't. keep adding tweaks that don't suck till you have something.

there are no real "tips" for just plain being creative and makin' some art.

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