One of fingerstyle blues guitar’s most important techniques is steady bass. This style of self-accompaniment allows you to break out your guitar and lay down bluesy-acoustic grooves in a solo setting.

In his course, Take 5: Steady Bass, David Hamburger passes on his steady bass techniques and approaches to you.

Here are 4 free steady bass guitar lessons from the course. For the full course, check out David Hamburger’s Take 5: Steady Bass on TrueFire!

Level 5 Overview – David Hamburger


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For our fifth study, we’re back in the key of A, this time to play over a New Orleans-style straight-eighths groove. While we rocked between the I and the IV chord in Study #4, here we’re rocking between the I and the V chord for the first three bars – specifically, between A7 and E7b13.

Level 5 Performance – David Hamburger


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The steady eighths groove in this study borrows heavily from the Latin influenced New Orleans blues pianists James Booker and Professor Longhair. To go to the source, check out Booker’s “Junco Partner” or keep an eye out for solo recordings by Longhair or pianist/songwriter Allen Toussaint. Or, to get really archival – and hear some fabulous music in the bargain – check out Jellyroll Morton’s solo recordings from the 1920’s, especially his “Spanish tinge” tour de force, “Mamanita.”

Level 5 Breakdown – David Hamburger


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Once again, we’re swerving away from the standard 12-bar form, only this time, we swerve back, by repeating the second four-bar section (measures 5-8) for measures 9-12. Running the same chord progression (IV – V – I – V) a second time gives us a total of 12 bars, but in measures 9-12 we play a different set of licks over the chords, including a different blues lick, with stop time, for the E7 and a different turnaround lick from I down to the final V chord.

Level 5 Conclusion – David Hamburger


Download the tab & notation for this steady bass guitar lesson

Steady bass is one of my favorite things to play, and I hope these tunes have given you a sense of how much you can do and how broad a spectrum of blues you can evoke with this fundamental fingerstyle technique. Memorizing these studies will really help you get them into your fingers, and if you want to go even further, start swapping in different blues licks, voicings or double stops to really make them your own. Above all, have fun, and keep playing!

Digging these free steady bass guitar lessons? Check out David Hamburger’s Take 5: Steady Bass.