Makossa Style African Bass Lesson – Download the Bass Tab! – 14

Here we are with an energic makossa bass line; make sure you download the tablature down there, so you can study the music. We already have a makossa bass tutorial, if you have followed that one, you might be already in the know about this Cameroonian music genre. If you remember, this genre is not strictly derived from the Congolese soukous (nor son cubano). Makossa can have plenty of North American influence, from funky to jazzy elements, sometimes even psychedelic rock. Our song above is also funk influenced, but with all the “signature” Bantu style components that makes it African sounding, including the simple but effective I-ii-V chord progression. The tune is in F major.

Dexterous 16th Notes

The beginning section of the tune is a more relaxed, more laid back one compared to what follows it. Nonetheless, it’s still full of rapid sixteenth notes. It also has an octave right at the start, just to kick off with the funky mood. Even this first part of the song covers all four strings of your 4 banger bass, with a big, minor 10th jump in the 2nd measure, going from the E string to the G string. If you play in the closed palm style, especially if you do so with fingerpicks and a thumb pick, it won’t be much of an obstacle, and the groove won’t be compromised. Now the 1st part is all fun and jokes, but let’s move on to the challenge!

Fret These Notes If You Can!

bass tab example

Okay, it’s not that bad, but it is a demanding piece of bass riff, as far as the fretting hand’s fingers go. If they are able to go, that is. -.- The start of this section is similar to the 1st part, except we are in a higher zone on the fretboard, somewhere over the 12th fret. The tricky part appears in the second part of this phrase (measure 4 in the tab). Those four 16th notes with the big leap from the 8th fret on the E string to the 10th fret on the G one requires kind of a twisting/dancing movement from your fretting hand. This twisting motion continues as you follow the above notes with the next ones on the G, D and A strings. If you have smaller hands, you need to really be on top of it to get it right. Practice slow and accurately, as usual. You can even figure out alternative fingerings with trying to use your thumb on the E string. I didn’t go this way, but if it’s something that works for you, it’s all the better. Feel free to experiment. The ending phrase of the tune has sort of a Latin vibe, because it suits the bass line and its groove, and because it’s fun. 😐

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