Groove Backpack #9 – Amazing basslines over major seventh chords

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To be a complete bass player, it is essential to be able to play basslines over every different chord type. Most bass players who are into funk and blues have a huge vocabulary when it comes to playing over minor and dominant chords. Major 7th chords however aren’t used often in these kinds of styles, leaving some bass players struggling what to play. This presents the perfect situation to learn something new. That’s why I’ve created some cool basslines for you.

If you want to read more about my philosophy behind writing these basslines be sure to check out “How to write better basslines: The 4 ingredients“. Also take a look and listen to the other videos in this series via Groove Backpack. Let’s get started!

What is a major 7th chord?

Just as a refresher; a major 7th chord is a major chord with the major seventh-interval added. You can find the major seventh a half step below the octave. To give you and example, a Cmajor7-chord contains a C (root note), an E (major third), a G (perfect fifth) and a B (major seventh).

If you want to learn more about major 7th chords, take a look at this previous lesson I’ve written called “How do chords work? Seventh and extended chords“.

It features everything you need to know about major seventh chords on bass and even supplies you with shaped on the neck.

The groove

The compostion and harmony

The composition I wrote consists of three different sections. The first section has a melody that the bass and guitar play in unison. This section is followed by the second section which is more open. The second part lends itself perfectly to a vocalist or soloist. By playing a simple(r) bass part with lots of rests in it, and really locking in with the kick drum, every singer/soloist has a great foundation on which they can build a melody. Always try to think like a composer and think about where you leave room inside a song

Notice that the first and second sections both share the same chords:

As you can see, I wasn’t lying when I said we were going to play basslines over major 7th chords today. If you download the transcription at the bottom of this page, you can see that on every chord I emphasize the major seventh.

In the second, open section, I play only the root notes. The most important thing about this section, is timing and note lenght. I play the notes in the first three bars short, but not too short. Playing them too long or too short ruins the feels so try to be precise!

The third section; sneaking in some minor chords

After 16 bars, you enter the third section of the song. The chords to this section are:

After playing these four bars three times, You hear a Gmajor9 chord where I play a bass fill using the G major pentatonic. In this third section I added in some minor chords and play some more unison riffs with the guitar player. Notice that some parts I play everything in unison with the guitarist, while in other parts I focus on keeping the low-end.

Download the transcription and more grooves

If you want to download the whole transcription as a pdf, you can click here.

Be sure to check out the rest of the free series via:

Download Transcription

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I hope you found this article helpful! Let me know in the comments what your thoughts are and if you have any questions or suggestions.

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