Jazz is a style of music that was born right here in America. The metaphorical progeny of blues and soul, jazz is nuanced, sophisticated, and essentially its own language. As a bass player, it’s imperative for you to have a grasp on how to play the different styles of this historic art form. The opportunity to perform it is bound to arise.

In his course, Essentials: Jazz Bass, Stu Hamm gives you an intuitive run-down of playing the bass guitar in these different jazz styles.

Here are six video jazz bass guitar lessons from the course. For the full course, check out Stu Hamm’s Essentials: Jazz Bass on TrueFire!

Bebop Jazz: Overview – Jazz Bass Guitar Lessons


Download the tab & notation for this jazz bass guitar lesson

The fifth performance study is called “Bebop Jazz,” and it reflects a quantum leap forward in jazz history. This, of course, is thanks to legends such as Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. The bass lines are rooted in the previous lessons, but the tempo is faster and the chord changes and note selection become more complicated. So, if you need to, take the time to work on the notes and hand positions. Then, you can play them up to speed with the downloadable jam track.

Bebop Jazz: Performance – Jazz Bass Guitar Lessons


Download the tab & notation for this jazz bass guitar lesson

I’ll be showing you different fingerings as I play these up-tempo bass lines. The first time through, everything is played all in the first position, down by the nut. Then, as the lines get trickier, we move higher up the neck.

Bebop Jazz: Breakdown – Jazz Bass Guitar Lessons


Download the tab & notation for this jazz bass guitar lesson

Things are starting to get more complicated now. So, take your time with this lesson. These are up-tempo bebop walking bass lines. But not to worry, I’ll show you how to play each and every note. All YOU have to do is practice and have patience!

Modal Jazz: Overview – Jazz Bass Guitar Lessons


Download the tab & notation for this jazz bass guitar lesson

Our seventh performance study is “Modal Jazz,” and it introduces you to another style of jazz music. This may seem like a simple groove to play after working on uptempo bebop and rhythm changes, but it also allows you a lot of room for improvisation and expression.

Modal Jazz: Performance – Jazz Bass Guitar Lessons


Download the tab & notation for this jazz bass guitar lesson

There are two things to pay attention to here. First is the groove. You really need to lay back on the groove here and keep it nice and COOL. In bebop, the bass drives the groove ahead by playing on top of the beat. But, in modal jazz, you really need to hold the groove back.

Second is the form. The form for this one is A-A-B-A. But, since you play the same chord for such a long time, it’s easy to get lost.

Modal Jazz: Breakdown – Jazz Bass Guitar Lessons


Download the tab & notation for this jazz bass guitar lesson

When working on this lesson about modal jazz, it’s very helpful to learn the hand positions that outline the Dorian mode. Once you’re familiar with the scale and the hand positions needed to play it, it’s very easy to switch between chords – as all you need to do is move the starting position of your hands!

So, check out the different ways that I play the Dorian mode…with open strings and also fretting all of the notes, and you’ll have many ways to choose from when you start creating your own modal jazz bass lines.

Digging these free video jazz bass guitar lessons? Check out Stu Hamm’s Essentials: Jazz Bass.

Sweetwater