Tips & Techniques
Walking up & down between the E, A, and B7 (bass note transitions)
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The core walk-ups and walk-downs of this lesson
In this lesson, I’ll show you how to walk up from E to A, from A to B7, and from B7 back down to A and E. In my video portion of the lesson, here’s the quick demo I play at the beginning where I preview this simple technique.
E ––––––0–––––0–––––0–––––––––––0–––––0–––––0––––––––|– B ––––––0–––––0–––––0–––––––––––2–––––2–––––2––––––––|– G ––––––1–––––1–––––1–––––––––––2–––––2–––––2––––––––|– D ––––––2–––––2–––––2–––––––––––2–––––2–––––2––––––––|– A ––––––2–––––2–––––2––––––––0––0––0––0––0––0––0––1––|– E –––0––0––0––0––0––0––2––4––––––––––––––––––––––––––|– E A E –|––––2–––––2–––––2–––––––––––0–––––0––––0–––––––––|| B –|––––0–––––0–––––0–––––––––––0–––––0––––3–––––––––|| G –|––––2–––––2–––––2–––––––––––1–––––1––––1–––––––––|| D –|––––1–––––1–––––1–––––––––––2–––––2––––2–––––––––|| A –|–2––2––2––2––2––2–––––––––––2–––––2––––2–––––––––|| E –|–––––––––––––––––––4––2––0––0––0––0––––0–––––––––|| B7 E E7
For a very simple deconstruction of what’s going on here, refer to this tab. Note the bass notes between the chords! That’s what I want to focus on – these transitional bass notes.
E ––0–––––––––––0–––––––––––2––––––––0–––––––––––0–– B ––0–––––––––––2–––––––––––0––––––––2–––––––––––0–– G ––1–––––––––––2–––––––––––2––––––––2–––––––––––1–– D ––2–––––––––––2–––––––––––1––––––––2–––––––––––2–– A ––2–––––––––––0––0––1––2––2––2––1––0––0––––––––2–– E ––0––0––2––4–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––4––2––0–– E A B7 A E
Chords being used
By the way, if you need to worry about learning the chords I’m using here, refer to these tabs. In the right-hand version, I show a few barre chord voicings for the B-major chord (which I’m not using in this lesson, but wanted to include for reference & context).
E ––––0–––––––0––––––2––––– E –––––––––7–––– B ––––0–––––––2––––––0––––– B ––––4––––7–––– G ––––1–––––––2––––––2––––– G ––––4––––8–––– D ––––2–––––––2––––––1––––– D ––––4––––9–––– A ––––2–––––––0––––––2––––– A ––––2––––9–––– E ––––0–––––––––––––––––––– E –––––––––7–––– E A B7 B B
How to learn and practice this
If you’re just getting started with this run, first worry about E and A (don’t bring in B7 yet). Repeat this sequence, going from E to A and back down to E. Repeat.
E –––––0–––––0–––––0–––––––––––0–––––0–––––0–––––––– B –––––0–––––0–––––0–––––––––––2–––––2–––––2–––––––– G –––––1–––––1–––––1–––––––––––2–––––2–––––2–––––––– D –––––2–––––2–––––2–––––––––––2–––––2–––––2–––––––– A –––––2–––––2–––––2––––––––0––0––0––0––0––0–––––––– E ––0––0––0––0––0––0––2––4––––––––––––––––––––4––2–– E A
Then, worry about going from A to B7 and back to A. Repeat.
E –––––0–––––0–––––0–––––––––––2–––––2–––––2–––––––– B –––––2–––––2–––––2–––––––––––0–––––0–––––0–––––––– G –––––2–––––2–––––2–––––––––––2–––––2–––––2–––––––– D –––––2–––––2–––––2–––––––––––1–––––1–––––1–––––––– A ––0––0––0––0––0––0––0––1––2––2––2––2––2––2––2––1–– E –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– A B7
When you’ve mastered these two transitions, you can do the full E to A to B7 back down to A and E.
Having trouble with the middle and ring fingers?
When playing the bass notes, I strongly recommend using your middle and ring fingers (in addition to your index finger). While you technically can pull this off using only your index finger, it’s a bad habit that I suggest avoiding. You need to train your weaker fingers (middle, ring, pinky) – and though it can be frustrating at first it pays off later.
Here’s a simple exercise I suggest:
E ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– B ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– G ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– 2nd fret = index finger D ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– ...repeat 3rd fret = middle finger A ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– 4th fret = ring finger E –––2––3––4––3––2––3––4––3––––
Songs that use this sort of transition
“Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash is a powerhouse example of this technique used a ton. Here’s the first few measures. See my full lesson on this song if you want to learn it in full.
E –––––––––––0–––0––––––––––––2–––2––––––––––––0–––– B –––––––––––2–––2––––––––––––3–––3––––––––––––2–––– G –––––––––––2–––2––––––––––––2–––2––––––––––––2–––– D –––––––––––2–––2–––––––––0––––––––0–0––––––––2–––– A ––––––––0––––––––0–0–2–4––––––0–––––––4–2–0––0–––– E ––0–2–4––––––0–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– A D A
“Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground” by Willie Nelson has a similar run with these notes.
E –––0––––––––––––––––––––––––0–––– B –––0––––––––––––––––––––––––2–––– G –––1––––––––––––––––––––––––2–––– D –––2––––––––––––––––––––––––2–––– A –––2–––––––––––––––––––0––––0–––– E –––0–––0–––1–––2–––4––––––––––––– E A
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