Godin A4 fretless
Eden Traveler Head
Genz-Benz 15" Cabinet
Line 6 Bass POD
Boss 8-Channel Mixer
Sony MiniDisc Recorder
One fine way to practice walking bass is to play along with a metronome set to click on the second and fourth beat of each measure. Here, an uptempo version of an "I Got Rhythm" bassline segues into a solo over the changes. Three cycles of the tune are simply walking bass. It's all quarter notes at this tempo, folks! Then follow two choruses of solo. At such a brisk tempo, I work in a considerable amount of syncopation to provide interest. You can probably hear me going off from the beat of the metronome and returning to it. Jazz time is not machine-like -- it's all right to move off the beat as long as you remain grounded and return to it. Also, notice the use of antiphony ("call and response") in the solo. I'm shooting for nice phrasing here, not a chops-fest. I also use double-stops, mainly tenths, to fill out the sound, and couple their use with glissandi for interest.
This was recorded using a semi-hollow, fretless electric bass; I mixed the line out from my POD with the signal from a microphone set close to the front of the bass. This picks up some of the hand and string noise, which listeners are accustomed to hearing in this style. The sound gets very close to that of an upright bass, but without as much "boom." When I play on electric, I always try to get a sound that works within whatever genre I'm playing.
Try playing along with the walking bass on this, and then backing up the solo with your own walking line. Feedback on this is welcome.