Fraser Sneddon

The Art of “Filling Out A Bass Line”

This first exercise is relatively simple when you break it down. The first 2 notes are A's played as an Octave. I use my 2nd and 4th fingers to tap these. The 3rd and 4th notes are also A's but played higher up the neck, and also played together. I use my 2nd and 4th fingers on my right hand for these notes. Once you get the basic pattern down, You can see this technique is quite like the way pianists play octaves with there left hand. It is useful for filling out the sound if the bass only rides along on one note, in this case A. The right hand chord can also be used for harmonies, by hitting the 16th and 18th frets, you will play a 3rd (C#), from the root note. Experiment with this idea, using it in other rhythms and positions round the neck. Not just using octaves, fifths and fourths sound cool too. Another useful hint within this exercise is to while tapping with your right hand, use your 3rd finger to “wrap round” your 2nd finger. This will give it more stability and more power behind the tap. If you want to see this idea in action, look out for any videos of Billy Sheehan, he's the master of this kind of thing, and you'd learn a heap more from him than most bassists.

The second exercise is a variation on the technique from exercise 1, played on a 6 string bass, strung B-E-A-D-G-C. The left hand still plays octave positions i.e. E, A, C#, C and D. But this time the right hand plays a fourth on the 5th and 6th strings on the 16th fret. This is also very simple once you get to grips with it. Bar 4 there is an embellishment on the right hand with an extra note getting played. This is just to make it sound more interesting. Play about with this passage and come up with new chord progressions, and new rhythms-Its easy. And it sounds superb!

Rock on!

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the following bio material provided by Fraser Sneddon

I started playing bass 5 years ago when i was 16, playing in a rock cover band in and around my home town. My influences are Billy Sheehan, John Myung, Nick Fyfe, and Stu Hamm. Although I'm mainly a rock bassist, I still enjoy playing different styles, Blues, Funk and jazz amongst them. I'm currently at uni studying math, but one day I hope to take my bass to the next level and study music. Check out my site at for more details. or contact me at for anything bass related or anything you really want!

My rig is simple. I play an Ibanez 6 string bass, active electronics.....the usual standard of instrument. I also use a 4string yamaha which I've de-fretted. My rig consists of a compressor, and a Behringer BX-1200 amp..small and not very loud, but superb tone!

I play in an original rock band called terria (, and we're available to play anywhere in and around the central belt of Scotland. I try to play as much as possible, whether it's plugged in or not. Rock on! And keep practicing!