Walking Bass Line Fingerstyle Blues Turnaround

I love the sound of walking bass lines on the blues, and in the key of E there are plenty of possibilities for coordinating blues licks and chord voicings over a continuously moving bass. If you begin working out chord substitutions that themselves incorporate movement in the bass, you’re halfway there. For example, here’s a set of chord changes to play over bars 11 and 12 of a blues in E:


On the third beat of the first measure shown, you could certainly play just an open position A7 chord, but I’ve included this voicing at the 8th fret (with an open A in the bass) to make it easier to see what happens next. Which is: once you’re comfortable playing through this chord sequence, you can grab individual notes from the chord voicings to make single-note licks, and/or separate the bass notes from the upper voices of the chords to create syncopated chord hits. All of which would look and sound like this:

100115 Walking Bass Lick

If you’ve got questions, comments, or topics you’d like me to address, leave a reply below and I’ll do my best to discuss them in an upcoming post!



  1. Cliff Swanson

    Love this. Thanks for posting it.


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