Keep It Groovy: Adding Accents To Your Pedaling Bass Line

Hey there, bass players! Here’s a fun follow-up to the previous lesson about pedaling vs. pulsing eighth notes.

Now, we’ll discuss a few ways to add accents and pizzazz to our bass line, particularly if we’re taking the pedaling approach.

First, begin with our chord progression. Follow some simple rock changes (Am-C-D-Am), and try to pedal consistent and even eighth notes. Allow the notes to play into one another, taking a legato approach rather than staccato.

Then, add some rhythmic accents using dead notes on the very last sixteenth note of the bar. This will provide a touch of rhythmic variation to spice up your groove.

Next, use scale tones to add voice leading and direction. Try placing those on the last eighth note of the bar so that they push us toward the next chord in the progression.

Both methods will help set up the downbeat and will guide the rest of the band through the changes.

Keep it groovy, everyone!

Ryan Madora is a professional bass player, author, and educator living in Nashville, TN. In addition to touring and session work, she teaches private lessons and masterclasses to students of all levels. Visit her website to learn more!

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