Bass Transcription: “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa, As Played By Juliaplaysgroove

Don't Start Now Bass Transcription

We are all used to seeing younger bassists playing amazing technical things on bass, and it makes us either want to give up, or it inspires us to go and practice. This bass player is definitely in the latter category, but she makes us want to dance too!

Juliaplaysgroove is the name of a YouTube channel that showcases its owner’s bass skills with a range of great play-alongs to classic and modern songs, but focussing on, yes, THE GROOVE! Julia is a nineteen-year-old, self-taught Polish bassist who has been playing since 2014. She does a great job on all the showcased songs, and you’d be hard-pressed to find more “put-a-smile-on-your-face” versions.

Julia’s take on Dua Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now” doesn’t just capture the feel of the original, it surpasses it, adding rapid-fire fills, higher range melodic ideas, and a monumental groove.

In the intro, Julia recreates the vocal melody, and then a huge slide leads us into the main fingerstyle groove which is mainly based on octaves, but also uses chromatic and diatonic runs to lead into each root note. Longer notes appear in the chorus at 0:33, but Julia adds some tasteful runs and slides in the second four bars of this section. During the next verse section, she adds a lovely fill at 1:02 which is fluid and impressive and doesn’t break the flow of the song.

The later verse groove sections include some pulled notes on the off-beat of beat three, so you’ll be swapping between fingers and slap here. In the next melody section, Julia plays up an octave and ends it with a beautifully tasteful double stop idea. The muted and swung melody section at 2:15 is unexpected and interesting, and the run at the end of this section (2:26) is a monster.

Her tone is excellent throughout, with warmth and depth and a little growl from her MusicMan SUB.

Follow along with the transcription and the video below.

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  1. Tom Jung

    Hello, I am very pleased to see this girl here. I favorited this very video about fourteen days ago.
    She really shines with her SUB in front of all that armchair bass generals with 5k trophy basses… We all forget from time to time that 7k fancy custom made bass is not what should be our primal goal… (And yeah, I am also from time to time atracted to that shiny things.).

    I am sure that this girl does not spend hours googling basses, pickups, etc…

    You can not buy it. You have to work hard and even then there are only a few who can succeed.

    Perfect playing and great modesty at the same time.

    • Tim Fletcher

      Hi Tom,

      She’s certainly got a huge talent. I hope great things happen for her, as she deserves to do very well.

  2. Steve C

    She’s great – sadly I looked at the transcription and there’s a mistake in the very first bar (the last note should be an E, not an F#). I guess I’ll go back to my default position of not trusting anything I read on the internet :-(

    • Tim Fletcher

      Hi Steve C.

      Yup. You’re right. Don’t know how I missed that one. But it made me go back and have another listen and I’ve fixed that one, and two more mistakes that I didn’t notice when I did it. Sometimes waiting a while, and then listening with fresh ears reveals things that you miss the first time.

    • Tim Fletcher

      PS The corrected version should be up in a few days.

    • bassflower

      Cheers Steve, I suggest you not be so harsh on the entire internet since you clearly have the chops to spot a – gasp – tiny typo in an otherwise well done transcription!
      Thanks Tim for the great transcriptions, I appreciate you adding TAB, articulations, form, chord changes! Top notch!

      • Tim Fletcher

        Hi Bassflower – thanks for your kind comments. To be fair to Steve, I would have complained too! It was a bit of a basic error, and I should have checked more carefully.

        Julia is a great player, and I think she’ll go far as a bassist. With those skills at such a young age, she’s got a very bright future.

        Did you see my interview with her?

        Thanks, Tim Fletcher

    • Jim Flood

      100% Correct and a very common mistake with this song with a lot of players is in the verse from the chords G to D the notes are B, C#, D…… NOT the chromatic C, C#, D that everyone is playing….slow it down and you will hear B not C. My two cents with the best of intentions…Jim. A side note, she has a great groove and is already a wonderful bass player….keep going Julia!!!!!!

      • Tim Fletcher

        Hi Jim. Thanks for your comment. Are you saying that the transcription is wrong, or that Julia is playing it wrong? My intention was to transcribe what Julia was doing, and I’m pretty sure that she’s doing the C-C#-D movement in the verses.

        • Jim Flood

          No Tim, the transcription is spot on (which is something I rarely say…lol) with her great take on this bassline and the comment was more for the younger players about what most YouTubers and Julia are playing…..I’m sorry….wrong…but a widely used mistake it is. She is doing as transcribed C,C#, D when the studio recording is B, C#, to D….Once again, not nitpicking, but want the younger players to use their ears and not only watch other YouTubers play these basslines….JIm

          • Tim Fletcher

            Hi Jim. Thanks for that clarification, and thanks for your kind comments.

  3. bassflower

    Nailed it! Go Julia!

  4. Michael Sinclair

    If she is aiming to a be a session/house bassist she’s doing everything I wished I had done when I was younger.

    Cover pop songs well and you can do anything.

    I also really appreciate how she identifies songs I wouldn’t listen to and shows off how good the bass parts are!

    • Tim Fletcher

      Hi Michael. I completely agree with your comments. I Julia’s videos have opened a door to different styles, and shown us that some modern pop can have great baselines. As you say, she’s already able to play in a way we can all aspire to. I have to work hard to play as well as her and I’ve been playing for 35 years!

  5. MARK B