African Afrobeat Bass Guitar Lesson & Downloadable Tablature – 11

This African bass lesson demonstrates the afrobeat genre. If you would like to learn how to play it, just download the tab and you’ll be able to study the bass line note for note! You may want to take the speed advantage of the fingerpicks & thumb pick style; you can of course utilize whatever picking style you’re into, be it fingerstyle or flatpick playing. Afrobeat is an interesting music style: it’s a mix of African – specifically West African – music and American genres like rock, jazz, soul & funk. In other words, it’s a curious fusion of music genres and in the broader sense, a fusion of cultures as well. This style has emerged in countries like Ghana and Nigeria, and a notable pioneer of it was the Nigerian multi-instrumentalist Fela Kuti. He even coined the term “afrobeat”. Our current piece has jazzy and funky elements besides the audible rock groove and the above mentioned West African vibe. The song is written in the key of E major. It uses the following scale degrees for its chord progression: V-V-vi-vi; IV-V-vi-IV-ii-V-vi-IV.

Funky Short Notes & Fast Hammer-Ons

The defining elements of the 1st part of the bass line are the very rhythmic sixteenth notes. I tried to indicate it in the tab + standard notation, with including rests between the short notes, using smaller note values. Pay attention to the shift slides in this section, as well as the fastest part of the piece. It’s that part that begins with the hammer-on/pull-off and continues with the 32nd notes. It is fast, so you need to slow down with your practice speed to get it right and accurate.

Imply Bass Chords With Double Stops

bass tab example

The second section outlines the chords of the song with arpeggios, at least in the beginning of this part. A bit later however, you are required to play double stops in the form of relatively larger intervals. These are placed on the two outer strings (E and G, in case of a 4 string bass, of course). These major and minor 10ths – or you can also call them compound 3rds – really suggest the chords. The difficulty with these in our lesson is to get to these dyads in time. It’s because you need to make quite large leaps over the fretboard between playing positions. It’s of course manageable with some goal oriented practice. There’s also an actual, real chord. It’s not a big one, just a well placed triad in measure 12. Make sure that you let the top note ring over the repeated bottom notes played on the E string! There also a couple more of those slides that are fun to play. They occur in the closing, ascending phrase, ending on a double stop again; a close one this time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *