How to create interesting bass lines for the orchestra or small groups in funk slap style?

Interesting bass lines

In almost all music genres of modern times, whether it is Latin music, rock, blues, R&B, soul or fusion, every bass guitarist wants to be effective, well known and respected.
This is not merely our own wish, it is what the audience and the musicians we play for expect of us.

We can achieve all of that with an effective and interesting rhythmical and melodious foundation in the given harmony.

The bass guitarist has a big responsibility as a member of the rhythm section to make a recognizable sound of rhythm and melody; together with the drummer – percussionist, pianist and also with the rhythm guitar if the guitarist is part of the rhythm section. That is how music, in its true meaning is being made. This is a foundation of every type of modern music in which the bass has a leading role.

We cannot produce a good composition without the use of effective basses, which has already been confirmed by Johann Sebastian Bach with the use of ground i.e. ostinate bass (basso ostinato).

We play in a music group and therefore must come to rehearsal with a prepared funk slap bass line.

So, how do we approach our bass part?

Let us analyze the following example (simple beat funk slap example), which is already suitable to be used in a music group.

We must take into consideration that we already play in the given harmony; in A minor 7 or in parallel C major (more precisely C6). We have to remember the harmonic symbols by heart. The harmonic symbol C6 consists of C, E, G and A tones and is a substitute for A minor 7, which consists of A, C, E and G notes. Although this funk slap example is in A minor 7, it still sounds cheerful and optimistic.

Click on picture to see larger size.

Simple beat funk slap example

When we are creating a funk slap bass line, we have to make sure that the bars are rhythmically connected. This means, though, that we stick to the same rhythm, but we rhythmically divide individual measures in a 4-beat bar in a way that we use a different melody in each bar. This way we create an effective, playful and recognizable sound which will definitely leave a big impression on our listener.

As a recognizable feature of funk slap playing, we often use bindings. These are notes connected with curved lines. Bindings need a lot of practice and are regularly used in funk slap style. Notes connected with a thumb hammer (TH symbol) must sound strong, clear and pure.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 a vitamin April 4, 2012 at 11:43 pm

You have mentioned very interesting points! ps nice web site.


2 Ladislav April 6, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Thank you for your kind comment. Nice music you got there, keep it up!


3 Val Ranni June 6, 2012 at 9:41 pm

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4 Ladislav June 9, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Glad you like the article. Thank you!


5 Oleg July 16, 2012 at 1:57 am

i love @Deworke212 i love metallica and love cliff burotns style of playing, but there is no doubt that burton played the bass more as if he was playing a guitar than a bass, now im not saying he sucks because that was his thing and he did it very well but he was not the best ever.


6 Bobby Modlin June 8, 2012 at 10:06 am

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7 Milan Eshleman June 9, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Very good written article. It will be supportive to anybody who utilizes it, as well as myself. Keep up the good work – can’r wait to read more posts.


8 Melissa July 15, 2012 at 1:40 pm

damn!! This lesson is awomese.Nice licks dude and I like the way you explain it. I’m familliar with the blues scales, cos I play the sax. But I don’t know how to play them on the guitar. This really helps my finger picking style and blues improvisation. Anyway.. thanks again! you rock


9 Myles May 29, 2013 at 7:29 am

I’ve been fishing around for slap bass tutorials for a while and I’m so glad I discovered your site – some fantastic articles. I also bought your Big Funk Text Book which is brilliant. Keep up the good work!


10 Ladislav May 29, 2013 at 9:07 am

Dear Myles, thank you very much for leaving a comment with such kind words. I am glad that you like the articles, I am a musician all of my life, and now is the time for me to share some of the knowledge I got over the years. Also thank you for the purchase of the book, I believe it will serve you well. Best!


11 Praveen November 13, 2013 at 4:56 pm

how to improve my bass knowledge? how to prepare my mind to improve my knowledge?


12 Ladislav November 18, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Take some time and explore the website, you will find lots of information here. I have allready answered similar questions.


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