Walking Bass Line Fingerstyle Blues Turnaround

I love the sound of walking bass lines on the blues, and in the key of E there are plenty of possibilities for coordinating blues licks and chord voicings over a continuously moving bass. If you begin working out chord substitutions that themselves incorporate movement in the bass, you’re halfway there. For example, here’s a set of chord changes to play over bars 11 and 12 of a blues in E:


On the third beat of the first measure shown, you could certainly play just an open position A7 chord, but I’ve included this voicing at the 8th fret (with an open A in the bass) to make it easier to see what happens next. Which is: once you’re comfortable playing through this chord sequence, you can grab individual notes from the chord voicings to make single-note licks, and/or separate the bass notes from the upper voices of the chords to create syncopated chord hits. All of which would look and sound like this:

100115 Walking Bass Lick

If you’ve got questions, comments, or topics you’d like me to address, leave a reply below and I’ll do my best to discuss them in an upcoming post!



  1. Cliff Swanson

    Love this. Thanks for posting it.


  2. David, your approach, concept and delivery are great. This turnaround greased straight on to an E key guitar version of Mose Allisons “If you live”


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