just wondering whether walking bass is only really played over simple chord progressions (blues, ii-v-is), because when i try and apply it to a more complicated progression it just sounds wrong.  is this my problem? or do other people just use it for simple progressions? thanks
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it's your problem.

if you use the simple rules of walking bass, you can make a bass line on any chord.

one of the major problems people have is always starting each chord on the root.

you don't have to do that, try starting chords on the third or the fifth or any other chord tone.

have you gone through the walking bass lesson on this site?  there are some rules to walking bass that work for any chord progression.

but if you really want to learn about walking bass, take out one of your recordings that has ray brown or whoever you like and transcribe his bass lines.  you'll learn more about walking bass in an hour or two than you will in five years here.
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"when i try and apply it to a more complicated progression it just sounds wrong."

what song are you thinking of?
nothing inparticular.  just a piece with a less simple progression, e.g. dolphin dance - herbie hancock (not that the piece is particularly well-suited for walking bass)
on tunes like dolphin dnac ei use a lot of the "kenny barron" style walking (hopping) bass:

1 5 8 5


1 5 8 5  9 b9 8 5
hi scot! could you recommend any such ray brown song so i can buy the album. thanks in advance...
hi ronald1 check this out (should keep you busy for awhile)

while first learning to walk complex changes... dophin dance may not be the best choice... you many be hearing in your head all kinds of kicks from the original recording that you are not going to get in solo piano.
giant steps (relativily difficult changes)  is a better choice... because it is straight ahead walking.
where does kenny barron use walking bass in his lh, jazz+?  i admire his playing, but i just don't have all that many of his albums as a leader.

it's certainly a good piece of advice -- the great hammond organists often use similar patterns in their left hands as well.
which interval, exactly, sounded bad to you?
which interval (combination of notes ) sounded wrong to you?
which combination of notes, exactly, sounds "wrong" to you?

what combination of notes, exactly, sounds bad to your ear?
how often does your right hand thumb hit the black key when you improvise?

lennie tristano created many fingering exercises to address this question(the man's poly-rhythms are really cool btw). they are quite interesting and challenging, and have helped when my thumb does hit a black key. i get in "no man's land" less often nowadays.

some of you more advanced players help me on this one, is it worth my time to continue to work out what happens when my thumb hits a black note?

for example: i'm playing bb mixolydian and my thumb ends up on the bb and i have to play that ab next descending to continue the phrase and i cross over the 3rd finger, you can understand how i get hemmed up sometimes on the piano.

or a finger ends up on the g and i need to play the thumb on the ab so i cross under the thumb to a black note which is weird at first but the tristano stuff helps this exact problem. for instance one of his fingerings for any sclae, melodic minor or harmonic, or major is 1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2....etc....

what do you think?
actually the more simple the progression the harder it is to walk on the piano.  so the opposite of what you say is true.  on one chord songs jams for example bass players do all kinds of things that piano players can not do to make the lines sound more interesting... portamento, pop, etc, etc.   but with more complicated changes it is mostly about the notes and keeping up with the changes.  thes masters of this of this style and the two pianists credited with laying this down for us and who you should listen to at length is lennie tristano a once famous teacher and new york city player.  and dave mckenna a boston based player of underground fame.
fly me to the moon  
on the street where you live
take the a train  tunes that just call for walking left hand
if i remember correctly, dolphin dance is a latin tune? in which case a walking bass would clash stylistically.  for latin stuff you're better off sticking to 1 5 8 combinations as stated above.

really, i would use a combination of what scot said above (transcribing bass players and pianists like dave mckenna) and the system that phil degreg uses in his book: roots/chord tones on 1 and 3, passing tones (chromatic neighbors if there are two chords per measure) on 2 and 4. using that as a suggested framework, create lines that sound good to your ears, even if they fall outside of the above i.e. a melodic legato line or eighth note anticipations where appropriate.

(if anyone can explain this concept more clearly, i encourage them to do so.)
according to the info on this thread there are 19 replies to it:

• another walking bass question - ronald1 (19) last post on 09/18/2008, 17:50:06  

i only count 7 (including mine).

some stupid glitch ...
yes, jazz+, i like those suggestions!

dolphin dance is a great tune for walking bass - because it is swing-feel tune.  walking bass is the epitome of swing. here's a few pointers for wb generally:

1. get used to going down from the starting note as well as up. this helps keep the lines low on the keyboard.
2. combine scale-based lines (eg: 12321765) with chord-based lines (eg: 13568653).
3. use two bar patterns (like both of the above) when you have 2 bars on the same chord.
4. when the chord roots go up a 4th (eg: round the cycle, as in a ii-v, or a v-i), use a run-up. this is: whole step first, then chromatically upwards. an example would be the notes d, e, f, f#, to g in the next bar. the beauty of this bass line is that it works for any chord type, eg: dm7-g7, d7-g7, dmaj7-gmaj7 etc...
5. play in two sometimes as well - like root and 5th only. people tend to overlook this feel, which is more relaxed than four notes per bar. there's an interesting area somewhere in between the two that really swings, when some bars will have 3 notes, some 2, some 4. or you can play in 2, but imply a four feel in some bars by putting in some extra notes. it's much more subtle that way...
hope that helps.
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