View a video of course author Danny Morris discussing R&B Bass.
Good music always rests on a solid foundation. With R&B music in particular, the bass is THE key component to building that foundation. Bass has been crucial in the development of R&B, with session players from Motown, Stax, and Atlantic Records blazing the path for the genre with their sophisticated yet understated bass lines which focus heavily on groove, melody, and improvisation.
R&B Bass explores the evolution of bass playing techniques from the early "jump blues" period through the Motown era, and focuses on how you can incorporate these techniques into your own playing. The course begins by examining the rhythmic and harmonic characteristics of early R&B through the use of practice exercises involving steady syncopation, arpeggio patterns, and modulation. You'll study the key ingredients of an effective R&B timbre, from the proper equipment to the right techniques, such as muting the strings to deliver a punchier sound. The course delves into individual artists and their "trademark" conceptsfrom Duck Dunn's use of repetition and root and fifth lines, to Willie Weeks' melodic lines and rhythmic variation, to Chuck Rainey's motif development, to James Jamerson's infectious syncopation and use of harmonic devices like chromatic approach notes to create forward motion. You'll learn classic R&B bass lines from songs like Aretha Franklin's "Respect," Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On," Donny Hathaway's "Everything is Everything," and many others, and how to internalize the concepts used in these songs and make them your own. The goal of the course is to give you the tools made famous through R&B music to expand your bass playing in the context of a professional, live music performance or recording session.
By the end of the course, you will be able to:
understand the evolution and key elements of R&B music
play quarter, eighth, and sixteenth notes with rhythmic syncopation
use modulation, adapting songs to different keys on your instrument
play root and fifth bass lines, in addition to arpeggio and chromatic patterns
achieve an R&B timbre on your bass
embellish a motif or theme with rhythmic and tonality variation
play bass lines from R&B greats James Jamerson, Jerry Jemmott, Chuck Rainey, Willie Weeks, Duck Dunn, and others
apply concepts of repetition and contrast to our own playing, in order to create improvisational bass lines more effectively