Bass Lick Series: Funky Fingerstyle Bass Groove in Dm

Time to add another lick lesson to the series. This time around, our focus is on this funky fingerstyle bass groove, which is in the key of Dm or D7, using mostly the D minor Dorian scale with chromatic connecting notes.

This lick also relies heavily on open strings, for fast note doubling (D on open string to D on A string 5th fret).

Follow along with the video (including a part where I play it at slow tempos) and the transcription PDF (standard notation and tab).

For the gear heads, I’m playing a ’80s Yamaha BB3000A bass.

For more great bass lessons from Thomas "MarloweDK" Risell, visit

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  1. I really like the tone of those yam basses

  2. Stanky…. and I mean that is the BEST way

  3. Well I tried playing this and I don’t get it, if your going to play the open string why not play the 5th fret up. Of coarse I have no clue as to what I’m saying, I don’t know all the notes on my bass neck. I play by ear what I hear, and that’s good enough for me, I think.

    • prawn

      It’s just to get a funkier sound. He didn’t really explain everything he’s doing. When he plays the note on the 5th fret after playing the same note on the open string, he mutes it. It’s also good to mention that he’s probably developed the technique with his right hand where if you’re playing a note on one string, and then go to play another note on the lower string, you can just rake the same finger across them. It’s a sort of economy of motion thing, and he’s doing it here to get a funky sound. It’s probably a good idea to learn the notes on the neck as well, tbh.

      • prawn,
        Thanks for explaining that to me, so its on that open A then fretted,
        plus muting or cutting the note short eighth, sixteenth .
        I have a different perception than other people when it comes to playing bass but I can get some good funk lines in on my own by double fretting the note , cutting it short , ghost notes finger style not slapping ,, moving around finding a good funk rock line and I have some good ones. Problem is just like forgetting a persons name I figure out a good funk line one day and forget it the next , then when I’m not thinking about it, it pops up in my head and I’m able to play it again adding to it to make it longer ,funkier etc. I have one new bass and a old Ibanez that’s needs rewiring and a Peavey Minx bass amp built like a tank that’s 28 years old.
        But I could not play this to save my soul. I know the notes in line playing across the neck but up and down the neck I get lost on the name of that note. Its not that I don’t know them, I forget what the note is called , I have dyslexia and it makes things turn opposite of what it should be but I don’t let it stop me from playing bass or anything for that matter..

        This raking you speak of I need to try that , I’m in a 3rd floor apartment and cant play too loud or slap and pop and its messing me up moving forward , its really aggravating , 1 or 2 pm in the afternoon I cant practice like I want cause people around me have nothing better to do than complain.

  4. MarloweDK does it again… I have learned so many cool things from Marlowe it’s ridiculous and I feel like I owe him some sort of tuition :D

  5. Totally dig MarloweDK! awesome