Which of these is a better way to learn walking bass lines?

Which of these is a better way to learn walking bass lines?

1. Learn a basic way to walk a bass line for each chord and then play through The Real Book for weeks, applying this basic technique to many tunes.


2. Learn a great-sounding but complicated bass line on a tune like “Autumn Leaves” and keep playing this one song over and over for a month.

It’s an interesting (and real) choice. In the first option, the bass line may not sound as “jazzy” or complex as you’d like, but the concept is easy enough to instantly enable you to play bass lines on many songs. The second option may be more like you eventually want to play, but the concept it too difficult for you to easily apply to other songs while you’re at your current level of experience.

So which approach do you take? (Hint: It all depends on where you’re at in your musical development in relation to your previous experience. What’s right for another player may not be right for you at this time.)

Your jazz piano playing will improve a lot faster if you can correctly make these kinds of decisions.

Which approach is right for you at this moment?

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