Watch the Embellished Passing Tone online guitar lesson by Andrew Ford from Motown Bass Survival Guide
Jamerson often demonstrated how to use passing tones even if there were none as part of the original chord progression. In these examples, I use two bar phrases, first over one bar of D and one bar of Bm. Then, I use a two bar phrase over a bar of Dm and a bar of Bb. I'll first show you a sample bass line with no passing tones, then I introduce a passing tone, and lastly, I "embellish" that passing tone. These embellishment notes are not supposed to be heard as much as felt. They are meant to be more rhythmic than melodic, more about the rhythmic placement than the melodic content although they can be quite melodic. I use a C# passing tone in the D to Bm progression since the C# is still part of the D major scale. Over the Dm to Bb progression you notice I use a C because it works better with the D minor tonality.