How does one create a walking bassline over a guitar solo? Certain song tabs tell you what key the solo is in at certain moments, so I can follow along there, but when I try to improve over a solo, I end up making an out-of-tune droning bassline.

  • 7
    Playing bass over a guitar solo? Sounds like the band is upside-down... May 29, 2017 at 20:58
  • @leftaroundabout I might have used the wrong terminology. Under might be a better word. If you want an example -- The bass under Pf - Coming back to lifes third solo. There's a nice bass in there. I can't find out how to recreate it.
    – Jrad
    May 29, 2017 at 21:52

2 Answers 2


Stick to stuff in one key at a time. Know the appropriate scale notes for that key. A walking bass, in simple terms, is four in a bar, moving up and down in a sort of scalar manner. Think about it. Playing four notes in a bar in C, at least one, more likely two of the notes you play consecutively (up or down) from a C scale will contain a C, E and/or G. The best plan is to make sure one of these notes fits on the more important parts of a bar: beats 1 and 3.

Example - in C, for 2 bars - play C D E F G A B C. It works fine.Because 1st bar - C=1, E=3, 2nd bar - G=1. If the next bar is G, you can play the first note as the B below C, and go B A G F. If the next bar is F, then you may play F E D C, ending on the top C previously played.

All this is very basic walking bass, and you can sometimes merely get away with walking up and down the scale, with occasional jumps. However, it is probably a nice start point. Give it a try. There's a lot more, like chromatics, extra jump notes to stop the timing becoming staid, etc. etc.

  • I do really hate to ask to many questions, and I do hope I'm not bothering you -- but a guitar solo in the key of A minor, ranges a bunch of notes and despite it being in A minor, playing A throughout does not make a good bassline. How do I tell what note I shouldplay based on the solo?
    – Jrad
    May 30, 2017 at 16:40
  • It may be in the key of Am, but it won't stay on Am all through. Go with the chords - probably Dm and E(m) feature too. It would be very unusual to stay on Am throughout. Walk up and down from the root note on beat 1, as suggested, and it'll be a start. Use the 1,3 and 5 of each individual chord as the main (1 and 3) beats of each bar, again, as suggested above. Take my whole answer, and it will be several practice sessione before it all drops into place, assuming it is a walking bassline you're after.
    – Tim
    May 30, 2017 at 16:48

It seems that you haven't figure the key the guitar solo is in, the most important thing is to find in what key you should be playing ,from their you should figure the scales , the notes and the chords you could use in your bassline.

knowing the theory behind the music you're trying to transcribe is crucial since it makes your job much easier.GOOD LUCK.

  • I think I might be missing something here -- The bassline for the third solo of Pink Floyds "Coming back to life" is in the key of A minor. During the solo, the bass goes from playing c, to f, to a, to g, to f, to a, to g, to f, etc... How are all of those related to A minor, and how do you know which is currently being played to back it up and bring the notes, "to life" so to speak. EDIT: Didn't know enter submitted the comment.
    – Jrad
    May 30, 2017 at 4:08
  • Starting around 4:55 on the the original album version? That progression is in C major, I hear the chords as I-IV-vi-V-IV (C-G-Am-G-F) twice and then vi-IV-vi-bVII-vi-V-I (Am-F-Am-Bb-Am-G-C). The bass is playing the root of each chord except the one little riff on the I. Listen carefully to the rhythm and articulation, I think they're really important to that line. Nice song! Sep 21, 2017 at 20:30

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