Monotonic-Bass Patterns

Posted by Andrew DuBrock

A cousin of alternating-bass fingerpicking, monotonic-bass fingerpicking keeps your thumb on the same bass note, instead of alternating between two or three notes. This is common in acoustic blues but works great in folk and rock, as well. Example 5a shows a pattern that can be used as a backdrop to softer numbers like Cat Stevens’s “The Wind.” 

This technique provides a nice foundation for simple melody parts, like the simple i–m–i pattern that appears over each pair of bass notes in Example 5a. Example 5b adds a slightly more intricate melody to the previous pattern. Try using stripped-down patterns like Example 5a as backup for vocal sections, and apply more melodic variations like Example 5b for solo guitar pieces or to fill out instrumental sections between verses.

Excerpted from Acoustic Rock Essentials

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