In the following video, I focus in on these left hand bass lines. These lines serve as a strong harmonic and rhythmic foundation. In and of itself, too, a bass line constitutes its own independent melody. (The harmonic progression used in the video is a simple C blues—primary chords: C7, F7, and G7.)
Being an overall foundational component, bass lines are most often constructed with not much more than four well-placed notes per measure. That is to say, quarter notes are the rhythmic bread-and-butter of a sturdy bass line.
Once a strong quarter-note groove has been achieved, though, certain variations can be thrown into the mix in order to spice up the music and add a heightened sense of excitement/momentum to the groove. Here are some of the main rhythmic ideas that I demonstrate in the video:
- Instead of 4 quarter notes per bar, try using 6 quarter-note triplets to fill up a 4/4 measure.
- Experiment with different groupings of these 6 notes. (e.g. Two groups of 3 or Three groups of 2)
- Eighth note or eighth-note triplets can be played to propel the line toward a target note that you'd like to emphasize. (e.g. Eighth-note triplets preceding beat 4: "1, 2, 3-na-ne, 4")
- Once the RH joins in with your LH's bass line, experiment with placing faster right hand rhythms (triplets and sixteenth notes) atop the LH's quarter notes.