Unlocking the Secret: Why Some Bass Lines Are Exactly the Same

I've got a great bass lesson for you this week.

You know how when you're faced with learning loads of different bass lines, things can get overwhelming pretty quickly?

Well, this bass tutorial will show you how, actually, bass lines often share exactly the same notes.

When you fully grasp this:

  1. Your ear improves
  2. You learn songs quicker
  3. You start to be able to come up with your own bass lines easily

There are four pairs of bass lines that are really similar:

  1. Billie Jean (Michael Jackson)  & Livin' On A Prayer (Bon Jovi)

  2. Lost My Treble Long Ago (Vulfpeck)  & Aeroplane (Red Hot Chili Peppers) 

  3. New York Minute (Don Henley) & Wherever I Lay My Hat (Paul Young)

  4. (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay (Otis Redding) & I Just Called To Say I Love You (Stevie Wonder)

Scroll down to hear the similarities.


Billie Jean (Michael Jackson)  & Livin' On A Prayer (Bon Jovi)


When you put both of these bass lines in the key of E Minor (Billie Jean is originally in F#m), they share a B, D, and E. The notes come from the E Minor Pentatonic scale and they're practically the same line!


Lost My Treble Long Ago (Vulfpeck) & Aeroplane (RHCP)

 

Both these bass lines contain a very distinctive sounding m3 to M3 (minor to major third) figure. Learn more about that in this lesson:


New York Minute (Don Henley) & Wherever I Lay My Hat (Paul Young)

 

Two monster Pino Palladino fretless bass guitar intros here!

I show you in the lesson, but if you do some nifty conversion of New York Minute to the relative minor of Bb (the key of Wherever I Lay My Hat), Pino plays exactly the same notes.



(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay (Otis Redding) & I Just Called To Say I Love You (Stevie Wonder)


I reckon Stevie knew what he was doing when he laid down his synth bass intro. It's exactly the same as Dock Of The Bay and uses the humble 5th. That's an interval used all the time on bass.

For more on intervals:

There you have it. Can you think of any bass lines that are similar??

Once you find these connections, learning bass lines becomes a walk in the park.

Related Bass Guitar Lessons

Want to hear about my next free bass lessons? 

  • Stay up to date with one bass lesson every day: sign up to my free newsletter (form below)
  • I'll send you The Bass Guitar Resource Book for free which contains tons of important and useful bass information
  • Subscribe to my YouTube channel to improve your bass playing
Online Bass Courses Dan Hawkins Bass Store


If you get any value from my lessons and would like to help keep this site running and the weekly lessons flowing, click the button below for a small donation. Even something small really helps me cover running costs!

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
>