" /> Google Analytics Alternative
Submit to UsFind out how to be a guest or contributing writer for SBG

Playing Jazz Bass: Learning Bossa Nova Bass Lines

When we think of jazz bass playing, the first thing that comes to mind will often be the walking bass style which is so often associated with the genre. However, jazz is a large and varied type of music which takes influence from many areas of the musical spectrum. In coming lessons, we will look at some of these styles – funk, soul, blues and this month Bossa Nova.

Bossa Nova rose to popularity in the 1950’s and 60’s due to the release of classic albums by artists such as Antonio Carlos Jobim and Stan Getz.

Bossa Nova is a combination of samba rhythms and jazz harmony and it literally means ‘new trend’. Lyrically, the style is often romantic in nature. The role of the bass in Bossa Nova is a supporting one with the bass playing the root and fifth of each chord in a 2-feel style. Passing notes can be included to create movement. The bass also plays in this way in samba music but at faster tempos.

I have included 2 musical examples over common Bossa Nova chord sequences. These should provide you with a good foundation in the style which you can use on other pieces.

john marley learn bossa nova bass playing example 1

Download the full example sheet here: bossa-nova-1

learn to play bossa nova basslines john marley bass guitar example 2

Download the full example sheet here: study-piece-bossa-nova


Visit John’s personal site for more  lessons, tips and information about bass guitar and his own bass guitar lesson site, Bass Guitar Course. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnmarleybass