Bass of the Hills Turtorial

Bass of the HillsThe Mixolydian scale is one of the most-used scales in modern music. Basically, it’s a major scale with a dominant (or flat) seventh. This tutorial looks at how I use the Mixolydian scale in my solo piece, Bass of the Hills.

I wrote this song in 1997, while in the Texas Hill Country just a bit South of Austin. I used to jam with percussionist Jeff Hogan – out in his back yard under an umbrella of pecan trees. Bass of the Hills is a direct result of those jam sessions. I’ve played the song ever since, often in clinics or solo appearances.

Fast forward more than a decade to my time with Teach Me Bass Guitar. Producer David Crossman and I visited Roy Vogt’s students at Belmont University to tape promotional clips for TMBG. Toward the end of the evening, David decided the night wouldn’t be complete without a tune from Yours Truly. I demurred by saying I didn’t have my bass with me. It didn’t work, however, as several of the students volunteered basses for me to play.

Having nothing prepared for 4-string performance, I transposed Bass of the Hills to A and played a short version of the song. That promo clip has been viewed (on various You Tube channels and other sites) several thousand times.

Recently, the video came up in a discussion on Thunder Row – the forum community behind TMBG. A member asked for Tab for the song. First, let me say, THANK YOU and I’M HONORED! But I don’t normally use Tab to teach bass guitar. I prefer standard notation whenever possible. In addition, I don’t think that simply teaching a student the song is enough. In my mind, it’s better to explain the mechanics of what I’m doing so the student can use that knowledge to expand their understanding of the instrument.

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And now you know why I did this tutorial series. Here’s the run-down on the videos below:

Bass of the Hills – this is a short version of Bass of the Hills, recorded in my practice room at home, with no accompaniment.

Tutorial Part 1 – explains the mode used, as well as how to play the main “chord” riff, and the A and B sections of the melody.

Tutorial Part 2 – explains the Bridge – or C – section.

Tutorial Part 3 – covers the concepts I use in the solo section. NOTE: the version I taped doesn’t include a solo section. I tell you why in this video.

SIDE NOTE: To view the tutorials, click on the thumbnail. The video will appear in a pop-up box. When done, click on the box to make it go away.


Tutorial Part 1|
Tutorial Part 2|
Tutorial Part 3|
There you have it, as simply as I can explain it (I hope). Once you’ve gone through the videos, please feel free to ask questions if there’s anything unclear to you. In addition, for those who decide to learn the song, I’d love to see video of you performing it. Please email me care of this site if you want to send me a video. I’ll put the videos on the Bass Lessons You Tube channel.

Have fun, and…

Keep Thumpin’!

Lane on Bass

Was this lesson helpful or inspiring? What else would you like to learn? Let me know in the comments below. Share it with your friends using the tiles below, and hit the LIKE button if you’re of a mind! ~ LoB

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