Bass Line Breakdown – Forget Me Nots (Freddie Washington)

Remember the song from that first Men In Black film? Well, the funky bass line was sampled from the Patrice Rushen song Forget Me Nots. It's one of the most memorable bass lines of all time and I'm going to show you how to play it. Scroll down to download the drum backing track.

The Player

Providing the low end was "Ready Freddie" Washington, an Oakland session guy who's played for everyone. He also happens to possess one of the tightest grooves on the planet.

In the intro to the lesson, I'm playing along to a drum backing track you can download below.

One of the keys to this line is nailing the note placement and working with a drum beat or metronome can really help in your practice.


This is all about the slap. Combine that with some hammer-ons and pull-offs in the fretting hand, and you have one groovy bass line. Freddie plays this line with such precision and with not a note out of place. The lesson here is not to speed up or slow down and to play right on the beat. Accuracy is key although, in the lesson, I show you how to stretch out a bit with some fills. Use these fills to practice playing in a certain key (F# minor in this case). On a gig, it's best to stick more closely to the original line as you don't want anything to get in the way of that juicy pocket.

Related Lessons

  • It's essential to know how to mute well for slap lines. Here's a video lesson breaking down some techniques for you.
  • The fills you can play are based around the natural minor and minor pentatonic scales.

I need you to let me know what bass lines you want me to break down next. Comment below or get in touch.

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