How to Play a Walking Bass Line on the Piano

Sangah Noona  /  Chording / Jun 17

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Sangah Noona is back with another piano lesson! This time, she’ll teach you how to play a walking bass line. This is a simple accompaniment you can insert into ANY song.

All you have to know to play a walking bass line is this:

1 – 2 – 3 – 5

What do these numbers mean? They’re scale degrees! (If you’re not sure what those are, check out our lesson on the piano number system).

Basically, we play the first, second, third, and fifth note of each chord we want to play a walking bass for.

Here’s an example of a walking bass line with a simple I-V-vi-IV progression:

Using the Walking Bass Line

You can add a walking bass line to any song you want. For example, try playing it underneath “Hey Jude” by the Beatles.

If playing the melody with the walking bass line is too difficult to play right away, try playing solid chords on your right hand and the walking bass with your left. And sing along.

You can even use the walking bass line with classical music. All you need is a lead sheet and some chords!

Play ALL Types of Music With Sangah Noona!

If you liked this lesson with Sangah Noona, you’re in luck! Sangah is our newest Pianote Coach. As a Member, you can access her course “Expanding Your Musical Style.” In this course, Sangah will teach you essential elements of five styles of piano: classical, pop, funk, bossa nova, jazz, and tango.

Not sure if you’re ready for a Pianote Membership yet? Try it out first! Access our Method, song library, and Coaches all for free for seven days by clicking the button below:


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Charmaine Li is a Vancouver writer who has played piano for over 20 years. She holds an Associate diploma (ARCT) from the Royal Conservatory of Music and loves writing about the ways in which music—and music learning—affects the human experience. Charmaine manages The Note.

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