Warm Up Exercise

Country Bass Line Exercise in 6/8 Time

Lesson #297

Video lesson

Get the PDF chord sheet (2 pages)

  • Support me on Patreon.com to get access to this and 200+ other PDF chord sheets I've made, plus new PDFs I make going forward (1-2 added each week).
  • The cost is $3/month (one month minimum, cancel anytime). Annual plans also available. Here's a free sample if you're on the fence. Thanks!
Download the PDF on Patreon

After clicking the button and logging in to Patreon, look for the PDF attached to the bottom of the post.

Editor’s notes

Hey friends! Today’s lesson teaches a 16-measure exercise focusing on country bass lines in 6/8 time – specifically looking at the techniques of walking bass lines (between chord changes) along with alternating bass notes (while strumming). Together, these are techniques you’ll find use in many country and folk songs. My hope is this exercise gives you a nice & distilled opportunity to practice this without the burden of an entire songs (lyrics, additional chord progressions, etc). I play this exercise at 2 speeds: one slow (45 BPM) and another fast (60 BPM), for you to reference. Finally, I should note that this exercise was inspired by the song β€œPiece of Your Heart” by Gabe Lee – an up-and-coming country singer & excellent songwriter who I can’t recommend enough. I hope you enjoy!

Timestamps for this lesson:

Full exercise

See the PDF chord sheet (linked above) for the full tab.


Here’s the chord shapes this exercise uses.

E –––2–––3–––0–––  –––2––––3––––0––––0––––0––––
B –––3–––0–––2–––  –––1––––2––––2––––3––––0––––
G –––2–––0–––2–––  –––2––––0––––0––––2––––1––––
D –––0–––0–––2–––  –––0––––2––––2––––2––––2––––
A –––––––2–––0–––  ––––––––0––––0––––0––––2––––
E –––––––3–––––––  –––––––––––––––––––––––0––––
     D   G   A        D7   A7   A7  Asus4 E

Alternating bass-line basics

One core technique used in this exercise is that of playing an alternating bass note for the D and A chords. The idea is to (1) pluck the normal bass note (e.g., open 4th string on a D); (2) then strum the full D chord; (3) then play a lower bass note before (4) playing the full chord again. Then repeat! See my video lesson for reference. Be able to do this fluidly, even if it means you have to start quite slowly.

In 4/4 time:                           In 6/8 time:
E –––––2–––2––  –––––0–––0–––          E –––––2–2–––2–2––  –––––0–0–––0–0–––
B –––––3–––3––  –––––2–––2–––          B –––––3–3–––3–3––  –––––2–2–––2–2–––
G –––––2–––2––  –––––2–––2–––          G –––––2–2–––2–2––  –––––2–2–––2–2–––
D –––0––––––––  –––––2–––2–––          D –––0––––––––––––  –––––2–2–––2–2–––
A –––––––0––––  –––0–––––––––          A –––––––––0––––––  –––0–––––––––––––
E ––––––––––––  –––––––0–––––          E ––––––––––––––––  –––––––––0–––––––
     D             A                        D                 A

Walk up basics

Here’s the technique of walking up the bass line before playing the chord (used for both D and A). When you practice this, work up to the point where you can combine the alternating bass note pattern above with these walk-in sequences used occasionally. For both walk-ups shown here, left index finger is on the 2nd fret of the 5th or 6th string (left middle on 3rd fret, left ring on 4th fret).

D walk-up...             A walk-up...

E ––––––––––2––          E ––––––––––0––––
B ––––––––––3––          B ––––––––––2––––
G ––––––––––2––          G ––––––––––2––––
D ––––––––0–0––          D ––––––––––2––––
A ––0–2–4––––––          A ––––––––0–0––––
E –––––––––––––          E ––2–3–4––––––––
            D                        A

Shout out to Gabe Lee

Gabe Lee is a young country artist whose song β€œPiece of Your Heart” is the inspiration for this exercise. He has two albums out (as of early 2020), both of which are great! I recommend his music for sure. Here’s the the album with the song that inspired this exercise – track 2, specifically.

Gabe Lee Β· Honky Tonk Hell

Enjoy my lessons? Buy me a beer!

If this and my other lessons have proven helpful to you, please consider making a one-time donation to my tip jar. Contributions of any amount help make this project possible (including the many, many hours I put into it).

You can also support me on Patreon. For only $3/month you'll get access to a print-friendly PDF of my notes for each new lesson (view free sample).


Subscribe to my YouTube channel

Be sure to never miss a lesson by subscribing on YouTube. I put out 2-3 new videos every week. These include full song lessons, as well as covers, practice tips, behind-the-scenes updates. Thanks!

Recent video lessons:

πŸ“ Print-friendly PDFs now available for all new lessons I make, including all those listed below. Get a free sample Β»

← back to lesson list