Talking Technique: Black Velvet – Nail That Fill

“Black Velvet,” if you please! Alannah Myles’ iconic tune features a fill that is pretty challenging. Originally played with synth bass, we might be tasked to play that line.

What flows nicely on the keys makes for a lot of string crossing. Inspired by this fill, I created a few exercises that are great finger strengtheners as well as target practice for the left and right.

Can you keep a calm hand while playing this fill and its variations? We are in the world of Dorian and a lot of fourths are involved!

Download the PDF for this episode and follow along with the video:

Backing Tracks:

Abmin / 92 BPM:

Cmin / 75 BPM:

Cmin / 92 BPM:

Austrian-gone-Californian Ariane Cap is a bassist, educator, blogger and author. In her book Music Theory for the Bass Player and corresponding 20-week online course, she teaches music theory, bass technique, bass line creation and fretboard fitness in a systematic, practical and experiential way. She just released a brand new course on ear training for the bass player: Ear Confidence - 6 Paths to Fearless Ears. Contact her via her blog or website.

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  1. David Desmond

    Ariane Cap is great and she is playing the right notes but if you listen to the record it sounds like a fretless bass so the tone is not on target. Still a very good lesson and I always liked the song and a cool bass lick .I had heard original recording was done on a synth.

    • bassflower

      Cheers David, check out what I say at 0:36 seconds in.
      My series is “Talking Technique” not how to originally re-produce the tone (unless that is technique related, which it often is). Just a different topic. This would totally work on fretless to emulate the tone more, but I was interested in the technical aspects of the fill and how to practice it.
      Thanks for commenting and approving of the lesson regardless :)

  2. Israel Cedeno

    Black Velvet was not recorded with Synth Bass …. Very wrong .. it was recorded on a Fretless Bass … listen carefully… it sounds like a Synth Bass … But is not …

  3. Lenny Mo

    Thanks ARI, you are such a monster on bass.

  4. Greg

    I worked this out and played it on my AE bass, it sounded good and I didn’t like continuously tuning my go to down to transcribe and/or play. I never considered my fretless (no clue why) as David Desmond suggest, would have been gorgeous. 1st world problems have me down to 4 from 1. Absolutely great bass line stomping on you.