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The Boogie Bass
 

The Boogie Bass

An important sound in rock and rockabilly is the popular low-note figure called the boogie-woogie (or just boogie) bass, borrowed from the left-hand rhythms of blues pianists. Well work in the key of A, using the chords A, D, and E to make up a blues.

Lets start with the boogie bass that goes with an A chord. On the fourth string, fret with your index and ring fingers and pluck the notes with a downstroke of either your thumb or a flatpick.

Now lets add two things. First well double up the notes to give them a more insistent quality. Continue to pluck with downstrokes, keeping the beat even and steady. At the same time, lets pick with a slightly broader downstroke that catches the fifth string as well as the fourth, in order to get a fuller sound that suggests a chord.

Once youve mastered this sound, its not too hard to go on to the boogie-woogie figures that go with the D and E chords. Just make the identical moves, this time on the fourth and third strings for D and on the sixth and fifth strings for E, like so:

Now well just fit these bass figures that go with the A, D, and E chords into the structure of a 12-bar blues. A classic rockabilly guitar part is the result.

Classic Rockabilly


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