Archive for the 'Piano Bass Lines' Category

Thriller by Michael Jackson - Funk Piano - Groove Example

Here is an arrangement of thriller by michael jackson for solo piano. It sounds even cooler if you can stomp your foot for a beat or have a drum machine in your keyboard to play along with. Its in a different key than the original for two reasons. Its lower so people with regular non-michael voices can sing it. And this key has many less black notes, therefore it is easier to play.

Putting your hands together:

Learn the bassline hands separate first. Then learn how to go between an A minor and D major chord in your right hand. Slowly put the two together… Playing both hands together took me a couple hours of slow practice with a metronome.

When you’re first learning the song, simplify the bassline only playing the roots. That lets you focus on the learning the chords and the major parts of the song. Then refine and polish later. Scan to 2:00 in the video to see an example of this.

1:25 - Just hold down the chords in the right hand for long periods. After you play it and hold it down, you can forget about that hand and focus on the rhythms that your left hand is playing.

Building basslines:

Thriller is a really great example of how to make a bass line groove. Normally we would just play a single A note in the bass on an Aminor chord. In thriller, the bassline uses these tones: the flat 7th, root and flat 3rd. On A minor that means its going to be the G, A and C notes.

Thriller Video Lesson Outline:

1:05 - slow walkthrough of thriller / learn the verse piano parts
2:01 - simple bassline version of the verses
4:00 - recommend playing the melody with the simple bassline show here
4:25 - showing how chord shakes look and sound

Chorus Chords:
Amin C, C D Am, D9 Fmaj7 G6
Amin C, C D Am, F D G… Back to the verse chords

Verse Chords:

Amin -> D

Bossa Nova Groove - Left hand Bass & Right Hand Comping - Intermediate to Advanced Lesson


Here is a notated example of the bossa nova groove. The treble clef has rhythmic notation - The slashes tell you the rhythms of the notes, but not the specific notes to play. You have to decide how you want to play Dm7 in your right hand. I recommend [DFAC] like in the video. If that is too big of a stretch for your hands, then try just the Dminor triad [DFA].

MAKE SURE TO COUNT AND PLAY THIS! The rhythms are very complicated, especially when putting two hands together. I had to practice this over and over again with a metronome, each hand separately first and then together. (COUNTING the whole time!) I put the numbers in between the bass and treble clef to help you see how the counting should line up with the notes! (1 + 2 + should be pronounced “one and two and”)

The left hand in Bossa Nova almost always plays a root and a fifth of the chord. You can vary the rhythm shown a little bit.

bossa nova pattern

In the video below it shows this example with a C major chord added in. These are still the basic left and right hand patterns on piano for a bossa nova. The left hand just imitates what a bass player would do normally. If you are playing solo piano, then your whole goal is split the chord in your right hand so that the melody is on top and the chord rhythms are playing out beneath.

If you are having trouble with learning this pattern after practicing it for an hour or two. Post a comment and let me know! I will break down the left hand part and right hand parts in to smaller lessons.
Chris Marx

Get Started with Swinging Piano Rock Bass Lines!

In this lesson we’ll continue covering patterns for swinging rock piano! These are bass line patterns for your left hand. They really help push the song along and give it energy. These are meant to be played fairly quickly. They can also be fairly redundant because most of the attention is going to be on your right hand. Your left hand just plays a supporting role to drive the music, while your right hand gets the spotlight.

I came up with these notes because they’re notes from the chord. If the chord was C, we could play each of the notes in the C chord, one at a time: C E G. If we do all three at the same time too low on the piano it sounds muddy and has no energy.

Even though some of these are simpler, when I’m trying play and sing at the same time, I’ll use these simple patterns the most! There is just TOO MUCH to focus on in piano to do it all well!

Click on any of the examples to make them bigger!

Example 1: The first bass line you should start with. It outlines the same notes that are in a C chord: C, E, G.

swing bass line notation 1

Example 2: has a new note at the end: “A” (C, E, G, A). Fingering: Place your left hand pinky on the C and the thumb on the A

swing bass line notation 2

Example 3: is a little different than ex. 2. The notes are C, E, G and A, G. The last two are 8th notes, going twice as fast!swing bass line notation 3

Swinging Rock Bass lines for Piano - The BURNING HOT Fast Ones!!

Here are the really flashy piano bass lines that will give the youngsters the challenge they’ve been looking for! These will work on a lot of swinging rock songs like “Great Balls of Fire” - Jerry Lee Lewis, “Jail House Rock” - Elvis, “Old time Rock & Roll” - Bob Seger and especially any swing dancing tune by bands like Brian Setzer Orchestra or the Cherry Poppin Daddies! The piano can really be a high energy exciting instrument with these patterns! Just watch any Jerry Lee Lewis video!


Sheet Music Examples: Click on any of the examples to make them bigger!
Example 4: This example outlines a C7 chord, notice the Bb. The notes are C, E, G, A, Bb, A, G, E. Fingering: Left hand: Pinky plays C, Index plays G, Thumb plays A, Index crosses over to play Bb.

swing bass lines notation 4

Example 5: This example sounds really fancy and is a little bit tricky to pull off. Its just like example 4 but now we’ve added a C in between each note. The notes are C, C, E, C, G, C, A, C, Bb, C, A, C, G, C, E, C.

swing bass lines notation 5