Bass Lick Series: Funky Bass Breakdown in E

Here’s another lick to add to your bag of tricks. Once again, I’m using open strings as described in past lessons.

This one is a groovy bass line you can play over a E7, E9 or E13 chord using the Em dorian scale with the Major 3rd added (G#). Omit the G# and use it over a minor chord/key.

Follow along with the video and this transcription (standard notation and tab). For you 4-string players, simply substitute the E on the 5th fret of the B string with the open E string.

For the gear heads: I’m playing my Sandberg California MarloweDK Signature 5-string bass strung with Dunlop Nickel Strings, through a TC Electronic BG250 combo with a compressor Toneprint, using the direct out into Logic Pro. I’m favoring the bridge pickup in this lick.

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

Get daily bass updates.

Get the latest news, videos, lessons, and more in your inbox every morning.

Share your thoughts

  1. Doc.Hoc.

    Thomas you got the groove going on dude , unlike me . Well I kind of have this groove thing of my own. I keep it to myself so no one can judge me.I don’t give in or up very easy.

    • Jammal Brownlee

      Do you prefer Miki Santamaria or Thomas Risell, Mark?

      • Doc.Hoc.

        Both bassist have their own style , it really doesn’t matter to me as long as I can learn from them.
        We cant really compare these two bassist ,,, both guys are excellent as is Davie504 , Remco Hendrix , Mark J Smith , Paul Wolfe , Scott Divine , who did I leave out , mojobass and you Jammal.

        okay song time ,

        Well we’re big rock singers , we got golden fingers and we’re loved everywhere we go ,
        we sing about beauty and we sing about truth , at ten thousand dollars a show,
        we take all kinds of pills that give us all kind of thrills , but the thrill that we’ve never known ,
        is the thrill that will getcha , when you get your picture on the cover of the Rollin’ Stones.

        (Rollin’ Stone…) Wanna see my picture on the cover ,
        (Stone…) Wanna buy five copies for my mother…
        (Stone…) Wanna see my smilin’ face
        On the cover of the Rollin’ Stone ,,,


  2. mojobass

    BASS ON,Thomas ….Always a pleasure listening in on you .Cheers!

  3. MikeyOnBass

    Ya know at times ‘our’ comments are rather funny… and rather confusing… Oh yeah, Cool Goove Marlowe.