ExAMplES7&8 Bass line/Chord solo
Here we see how John and Bucky might emulate the sound of a bigger ensemble by both taking on clearly defined roles, one being the bass player (John, left) and the other taking on the responsibility of the horn section playing a solo in block chords (Bucky, right). The trick to walking bass is to outline key notes from within each harmonic event/chord while creating a line that hits these points at particular spots in the time frame of the piece, very often root notes on the beat connected with a combination of scale and chromatic tones. Notice how similar the line in bars 1 and 2 is a part such as the unison riff in Jimi Hendrix’s version of Hey Joe. Bucky’s voicings are essentially all on the top four strings, with the occasional three-note voicing for good measure. The chromatic approaches serve as a form of momentary tension and release. From a voicing perspective we’re looking at just two shapes but the key is to always be able to identify the location of the root. For example, our opening E9 to F9 contain neither E or F, so we need to imagine their presence as an implied or ‘phantom’ root on the fifth string to ensure we know exactly what chords we’re dealing with.