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Guitar Noise Podcast #5 – “Adding a Basic Walking Bassline”

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Hello to everyone and welcome to the latest Guitar Noise Podcast!

In this, our fifth GN Podcast, we’ll continue to make our playing more interesting by adding walking bass lines into our chord progression strumming. We’ll first work on a generic exercise to get ourselves geared to the task of adding a bass line. This involves altering our basic “bass / strum” pattern very simply.

From there we’ll use a progression of G to Am to C and back to G and work up to the following strumming pattern:

Strumming Pattern Example

As in our previous Guitar Noise Podcasts, I’ll be walking you step by step through the lesson. So don’t think that you ain’t going nowhere, get your guitar, get down on that easy chair and come along and play! And, as always, please let us know what you think.



  1. June
    April 6th, 2009 @ 5:45 am

    Hi David,

    I’ve been learning guitar for about 2.5 months now. I began with, “Hal Leonard Guitar Method Complete Edition”. I stopped at the point when the lessons were about playing in second position, (half way through the second book),cause I felt I need work on what I’ve learned so far before getting too far ahead. I can pick up on the flat picking almost instantly, but when it came to changing chords smoothly, my fingers actually would trip over the strings trying to get to the next chord. So, I got another book, “Ultimate Beginner Bluegrass Guitar Basics”. It has flat picking and chord combination which did help some.

    I searched the net and everything seems to be in video these days, which, I don’t really care for. I have found I concentrate better by listening and trying to play along then watching. I came across your web site a few times and discarded it, for it seemed too complicated. I came back to it about a month ago and tried your first podcast. At that point I knew the names of the notes and was excited to discover I now know enough that I am able to follow you. Wasn’t so hard after all. Somehow, like magic, the stuff in my books got easier to play through you. I live in an area where it’s hard to find teachers, and I don’t know a single person who plays guitar.

    I normally don’t like to bother people, I know you are busy, but I am a little confused. When I began podcast #5, the strumming pattern we’ve been working on all of a sudden felt not natural to me. And I wasn’t staying in time. I found myself after hitting a root note to stop and wait for the count 2, and then continue down to strum the remainder of the chord. I always have to count or I strum too early.

    I thought back to your sock puppet, and that you said we should be keeping a constant up down motion. Maybe I shouldn’t be hesitating. I tried to after hitting a root note to ghost strum up slightly then back down for the remainder of the chord and that kept me on beat. What I want to know, what is the proper way. I don’t want to have to break bad habits, I wish to learn it correctly from the start.

    By the way, I’m old, (52), maybe that’s my problem.


  2. Rickard
    September 5th, 2008 @ 2:00 pm

    Hi David! I’m still going strong, although pod 5 has been very difficult for me.I got stuck around the 8 minute mark, trying to get a smooth flow with the notes sounding clearly. I was fingering the G chord, just taking off or moving my middle finger on the A string as required, but each time, my ring finger got in the way and deadened the sound. Then I noticed that you said at the start that the A on the high E was the only one that you actually kept on all the time, so I tried removing the finger on the G when I wasn’t playing it, hey presto magic! nice and clear. Is this the right way or is my fingering technique just crap? Also, I try to play by never looking at the strings or my fingers on the frets, I feel that if I learn by looking, I will have to look forever, what, in your experience, do you think? Thanks a lot, Rick. (ps quite near the beginning you say that C is on the 4th fret of the A string, that puzzled me for a little while?)

  3. David Hodge
    May 7th, 2008 @ 8:05 am

    Hi Alistair

    The first thing I tell any of my students is that playing music (guitar or otherwise) is supposed to be fun. So I’m thrilled to hear about your progress and, more importantly, about how it’s making you feel.

    I’m glad these Guitar Noise podcasts are helping and I hope you’ll continue to find them useful. The next one coming up (Monday, May 12, if I manage to get it all together!) starts us on the process of adding our own fills to some basic strumming. I hope you’ll find this one really helps to make playing even more fun.


  4. Alistair
    May 7th, 2008 @ 1:48 am

    Hi David

    Thanks alot for your efforts with these Podcasts. I’m finding I am making real progress.

    I have been playing for only the last few of my fifty five years but up until now I felt like I was just learning to put my fingers in the right places at the right time – it didnt feel like music. The Podcast format has taught me to listen and to visualise. Instead of picking up some TAB I now find myself picking up the guitar and running through some of your exercises then before I realise it I am just playing some music.

    It feels like fun instead of a chore.

    Thanks again


  5. Jeff Milner
    April 26th, 2008 @ 1:29 pm

    Here’s a helpful tip for users of iTunes (or possibly other software that lets you add artwork to mp3s as well).

    Right click on the image of the sheet music above, click “copy” and then in iTunes right click on Guitar Noise Podcast number 5, click Get info, select the artwork tab, and then right click and paste.

    I find this convenient because this way I can have the sheet music in front of me and still be able to pause the podcast.

  6. Paul Hackett
    April 1st, 2008 @ 7:57 pm

    David, I thought I programmed you not to talk about your programming.

    Sometimes I feel guilty that David takes on so much work. He should be earning at least a million dollars a year for all he does here. Do they give out awards for the “world’s most down to earth person?”

  7. David Hodge
    April 1st, 2008 @ 6:15 am

    Hi Keith

    We got a small layer of the dreaded stuff yesterday morning while I was teaching. Looked out the window and thought I was living in a snow globe.

    You’ll get faster as you do more and more guitar work. Pretty soon you’ll hear “have C in your bass” and you’ll automatically get either the third fret of the A string or the eighth fret of the low E (sixth) string. Just like playing, it simply takes practice and repetition.

    One of the Guitar Noise moderators likes to say that I’m just a computer that Paul has programmed for the Guitar Noise website, so you may not be connecting with a real person at all! I like to think I am…

    Happy April First! And thanks for the kudos concerning the Guitar Noise Podcasts!


  8. Keith
    April 1st, 2008 @ 6:00 am

    Hello from down under

    You’ll be happy to know the heat wave is over down here. Hope your snow is on the ebb.

    These podcasts are brilliant. They are really forcing me to visualise what is going on. 3rd fret A string now means something and I have to be a lot faster at recognising where I am at. If I ever am in a position to get together with other guitarists I am on my way to being able to communicate with them.

    It is also nice to be able to connect to a real person and not just read text. I have only been at it for just on a year now, but without your on-line lessons and now your podcasts I think I would have really been struggling to keep going.

    As we say down here

    Thanks Mate

  9. David Hodge
    March 28th, 2008 @ 6:55 am

    Hi Jim

    Glad to hear that your old “closet guitar” is spending more time out of the closet! That’s as it should be.

    And I’m also glad that our lesson on the Guitar Noise website are being of help, even the theoy ones! I find that the best way to approach theory is for the guitarist to understand that he or she, simply by playing guitar, already knows a good chunk of theory. But the guitarist may simply not know what he or she knows and it just becomes a matter of starting there and working toward a more “active” understading of it.

    I look forward to hearing how things continue to progress with you.


  10. Jim
    March 27th, 2008 @ 8:21 am

    Hi, David,
    I have been remiss in not at least dropping you a line over the past year or so. I have been really impressed with all your tutorials at, even the theory stuff. These podcasts are another teriffic piece to the puzzle.
    My 30 year old “closet guitar” is finally seeing some light and actually producing a couple recognizable tunes.
    Many thanks!

  11. David Hodge
    March 27th, 2008 @ 7:37 am

    Hi Bill

    You’re very welcome and I’m glad to hear that they are being of help. The podcasts are still a little on the weird side for me because recording them is kind of like teaching a class when there’s no one there! I’m simply glad that they aren’t coming across as stiff and unnatural.

    While it’s way to early to tell as yet, but I think Paul and I would both like to get to the point where we’re doing a weekly podcast. There are a lot of things to work out in order for that to happen, but it’s a definite goal for me to be working toward.

    In the meantime, I hope that these continue to be helpful. Don’t be shy about asking for future topics for us to explore. Everyone’s feedback has been instrumental in helping me plan ahead.


  12. Bill
    March 27th, 2008 @ 6:55 am


    I want to thank you for the podcsasts. I have learned more from the 5 podcasts than I have in the two years that I’ve been trying to teach myself to play. The lessons are great, and they give me a reason to look forward to Mondays (or at least every other one).

    thank you so much!


  13. David Hodge
    March 25th, 2008 @ 5:57 pm

    Hi Geoff

    Glad to hear that this was a successful lesson for you! Hope you enjoy the other (past and future!) Guitar Noise podcasts as well.


  14. Geoff H
    March 25th, 2008 @ 3:46 pm


    This is the first time I have used one of your podcasts, I found it very easy to follow and have practised only for about 10 minutes after, and have it ‘in the can’. Great lesson, off looking at the previous podcasts now.

    Many thanks