How To Play Walk-Ups And Walk-Downs on Guitar

Walk-ups and Walk-downs (also known as “walking basslines”) are commonly used in country, rock, folk and blues music to connect one chord to another. The premise is simple – walk from the root of your first chord, to the root of the next. However, when it comes to adding chords & strumming to the bassline, things can get a little hairy.

The Walking Bassline Challenge

I’ve made an entire series, consisting of 8 episodes, that breaks down the entire process. We start with the components: a strumming pattern, 3 easy chord shapes (A, D, E) and slowly learn everything and put it all together.

It focuses on rhythm, teaching you to count the beats, learn about dynamics, practice basslines on their own, and then eventually playing an entire walking bassline through our chord progression, connecting every chord shape.

If you have had trouble in the past with walking basslines, I really want you to try this free mini-series (no sign up or obligation required – it’s just a click away!) because I’m sure it will make the difference.

walk ups and walk downs guitar

Walking Bassline Challenge Episode 1

In this first lesson, we’re going to be laying out the groundwork. The real basic stuff: the chords, switching and some strumming, just like I do in my usual lessons.

Walking Bassline Challenge Episode 2

In the second lesson, we’re going to practice the root strum. This is going to add a lot of dynamics to our playing.

Walking Bassline Challenge Episode 3

We are going to take what we learned in episode 2, and put it all together, through 5 simple steps.

Walking Bassline Challenge Episode 4

Now that we’ve laid out the ground work and can play our “root” strum over through our progression (A D A E) we’re ready to take the plunge into “alternating bass” strumming!

Walking Bassline Challenge Episode 5

We’ll start by practicing the progression, just like we did in lesson number three. It’s the exact same thing except now we’re doing the roots and the “alts” (alternate bass notes).

Walking Bassline Challenge Episode 6

Today we’re finally going to start walking! It takes just two notes to go from one chord to the next, so that’s actually the easy part. The tough part? Landing the next chord shape.

Walking Bassline Challenge Episode 7

Once we’ve worked on every single component separately, these last two sessions are going to be spent putting it all together.

Walking Bassline Challenge Episode 8

It’s finally time to reap the fruits of our labor!

Walk Ups and Walk Downs By Key

If you’d like to learn more walking basslines, I have these 2 lessons that teach 3 classic country/blues/folk/jazz walking basslines in various keys, using many of the basic chord shapes. I have plans to make many more of these so keep checking back!

Walking Basslines In The Key of C

Three awesome walking basslines using a simple chord progression in the key of C, which uses the C G and F chords!

Walking Basslines In The Key of A

Three awesome walking basslines using a simple chord progression in the key of A, which uses the A D and E chords!

Develop the fundamental skills needed to play guitar with confidence. Hands-on learning, presented in a clear and concise manner. Learn the basics using real songs, strum with a steady rhythm, master the basic chord shapes, learn to count along to music and more!

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