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Funk Bass Lines

Here are 2 examples of bass lines written for OMG by Usher and Hey Ya by Outkast showing ideas on creating funk bass lines including syncpation and 16th note feels.

OMG is a fairly straight forward tune in the key of E Minor that uses 4 chords Em, D, Bm and C which translates to i, VII, v and VI in scale degree. Note the lowercase used for Minor chords (i) and uppercase for Major chords (VII).

The first 2 cycles through the chord progression uses a latin styled syncopated bass line that outlines the chords using the root and fifth notes. The first 4 bars shows the fifths above then the next 4 the fifths below. This is a very common style of bass line used in latin styles of music inlcuding bossa nova and samba.

At the 8th bar the bass line uses faster 16th notes as fills leading the root notes of the chords. See how the rests are used to create space that places emphasis on the main beats of the bar to create the groove. In the 16th note fills the notes are from the E Aeloian mode (E, F# G, A, B, C, D) which fit the chords used in the progression.

OMG by Usher bass line.

Hey Ya by Outkast is a bit more interesting mainly due to the fact that it has a bar of 2/4 in the 3rd bar which is very rare for a pop song! Its in the key of E major so there are 4 sharps to watch out for (F#, G#, C# and D#).

The first bass line emphasises the root notes of the chords with long notes mixed with 8th note fills using the notes from the E major scale. The main thing to watch out for is the timing of that 2/4 bar so remember to count.

The 2nd bass line variation uses the latin style syncopation like used in OMG above. Again this bas line is basd on roots and 5ths.

The final bass line is a busier version of the latin feel bass line with the ties removed between the notes and more 8th note fills again using the notes of the E major scale.

Hey Ya by Outkast Bass Line

For further information or to book a lesson contact Anthony on 0408 058 525 or email basslessonsmelbourne@gmail.com

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