Jazz Bass Guitar

bass guitar jazz

From funk music to disco, bass guitar has made an impactful statement across genres. However, jazz bands were where its true potential truly shone through.

Before beginning to play jazz bass, one must develop basic musical theory knowledge – such as intervals, scales (major and minor), arpeggios and arpeggio patterns.


Bass players looking to perform jazz require more than the ability to keep a progression moving; the genre requires an in-depth knowledge of chord harmonics and being able to compose bass lines that express those chords – most commonly walking bass lines that use chordal scale and chromatic notes as movement indicators can create a blues feel in their chord progressions.

When creating a walking bass line, using the appropriate notes for each chord in its progression is key to playing successfully. For instance, playing C major chord would require using its root, fifth and seventh notes as its foundational notes for maximum harmonic impact. Furthermore, adding embellishments such as passing tones or outside notes can add tension and interest.

An aspiring jazz bassist must master scales and arpeggios associated with this style. Additionally, learning the difference between inside notes (chord tones) and outside notes (not part of the chord; for a diminished chord this would be b9) is also helpful as these weaken your sound significantly.

Slap style bass playing is another crucial aspect of jazz bass playing. This technique involves striking strings against the fingerboard between main notes of a bass line to produce a percussive sound. Slap style is most frequently employed in jazz fusion groups where an electric bass guitar is commonly used; however, traditional Dixieland and New Orleans-style groups also employ it, where one hand provides basslines while another provides chords using both hands simultaneously.

There are a variety of bass guitars that can be used for jazz music. One of the most well-known is Fender’s 1960 introduction of their Fender Jazz Bass model; featuring a more streamlined design than its Precision counterpart and narrower neck, it has become popular with several musicians including Jaco Pastorius. Other bass guitars that may also work include Ampeg BB-301 and Ibanez SRX-425BK models.


The bass is the heart of any band, and nothing gets people dancing like a good Funk groove. Sly and the Family Stone were among the first to popularize it in the late sixties; but bass player Larry Graham truly revolutionized how electric basses were played by using his signature slap and pop technique that brought Funk ensembles alive with sound. By the time he retired professionally from music making, Graham had earned recognition as one of the greatest bassists ever.

Graham not only introduced funky rhythms into mainstream pop music, he was instrumental in revolutionizing how bass guitars were manufactured and sold. At first, most bassists relied on large, acoustic upright basses – which were bulky, hard to transport and had limited tones to choose from – until Leo Fender unveiled the 4001 model electric bass guitar in 1959 and offered jazz and rock bands a much more versatile instrument that was easier to transport as well as providing more tone options.

Funk relies heavily on syncopation, which adds a sense of rhythmic surprise and keeps listeners’ attention. James Brown’s song, “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag”, for instance, uses strong downbeat accents followed by an infectious 16th note groove. Other instances of syncopation in funk music include densely voiced chords (especially 7th chord variants and their variants) with short (16th note) fills between strong downbeats for instance).

Funk is often known for having an intense groove that almost obscures its melody line, leaving bassists free to focus on keeping the beat steady and creating an indestructible foundation sonic base for any song they play with confidence. Masterful bassists who can navigate this genre will never worry about missing out.

Funk bass groove is an intricate form, but even newcomers to the instrument can learn it with practice and the help of a metronome or practice partner. Consistent rhythmic practice is the key to mastering any style of bass playing.

New Age

Leo Fender revolutionised bass guitar when he designed his P bass and Jazz bass models in 1951 and 1960. This revolutionary design allowed bassists to tune their instrument to lower notes that were easier for their fingers to reach and created an entirely new range of sounds. Today’s guitar market continues this legacy through various versions and variants; there are even companies which specialize in customizing classic models with new finishes, pickups, or niche features.

Jazz bass music combines elements from various genres such as funk, hip hop and rock into its soundscape – from dark and moody sounds with heavy beats and driving rhythms, to improvisation. Achieve success at jazz bass takes practice and dedication but can be extremely rewarding!

Jack DeJohnette is a true master of jazz bass playing, having performed alongside numerous jazz luminaries. His unique sound has had an immense influence on generations of bassists. Jack has created his own style by constantly expanding and improving as an artist and musician.

Bass Guitar Jazz has entered a new era with the ability to use light touches while creating powerful rhythms, something which takes years of practice and patience to accomplish. Bassists must understand the role dynamics play in their playing style and be able to employ it effectively in their performances.

Carol Kaye, James Jamerson, Steve Swallow and the late Stanley Clarke all possessed this talent as bassists. Each had their own distinct sound that enhanced musicality of songs they played alongside almost any style of music.

Bass Guitar Jazz has quickly gained widespread appeal over recent years. Artists such as Thundercat, Flying Lotus and Snarky Puppy have established some of the most innovative bass-driven music since its rise. Combining elements of funk, fusion and jazz for an exceptional listening experience.


Over the 1960s and 70s, bass guitar became an increasingly prominent element of music. Jazz musicians added bass guitar solos into their songs while rock bands used bass guitar to add depth and intensity to drumming and percussion sounds. Today, it remains an integral instrument across numerous genres, shaping music in exciting new ways.

Although electric bass guitar is the go-to version, some musicians still rely on acoustic double basses as a backup instrument or for solo performances. An acoustic double bass features long strings tuned to a low pitch tuned with bow, creating a deeper sound than its larger counterpart and offering greater portability. Acoustic double basses can also serve as backup instruments when backing singers or soloists performing jazz or Latin-influenced styles of music.

The bass guitar is an ideal instrument for jazz music because it allows for complex harmonics and harmonies. Bassists may improvise chord changes on their instrument for unique sounds. Jazz bassists usually possess an array of melodies they can combine with other instruments to produce interesting harmony; adding bass guitar can help any song stand out from its competition and make its musician stand out from their peers.

John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin stands out in terms of bass guitar jazz. His signature Fender Jazz Bass in either natural, sunburst, or black delivers powerful yet subtle bass tones that work in perfect harmony with Jimmy Page’s emotive vocals and Robert Plant’s thunderous drumming.

Tim Commerford of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave has perfected bass guitar jazz. While he utilizes various basses (such as a Yamaha BB-5600 ), his Jazz Bass remains his main weapon; its natural finish, sunburst or black finish allows it to blend with the rest of their sound perfectly, while its thick maple neck allows him to deliver thunderous riffs with ease.