3 Reasons This Bass Line Is Awesome (Bon Jovi)

It’s not just about the big 80’s perms - the bass line to Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer” is full of tasty riffs and runs.

0:56 - Pedal Point Riff
2:30 - Melodic Runs
4:11 - Playing Over the Bar Line
6:33 - Solid Structure / Following Song Intensity

If you’re doing the Beginner to Badass course, you could watch this video any ol’ time, but actually playing the song will be feasible around Module 10 or so, besides the occasional 16th note runs that are more advanced.

Livin On A Prayer Bass Tab + Sheet Music

Here’s the link to the full song:

Feel free to post covers below if you feel inspired! You don’t have to play it with a pick if that’s not in your wheelhouse. It’s not really in mine either, I just went for it!


@JoshFossgreen You never fail to crack me up on your videos. :laughing: :rofl: :joy:

Thanks for the 80’s love, and insight.


Hey @JoshFossgreen, is there a reason you play the riff in first position after the key change to Gm, rather than sliding the whole riff up to start on 3rd fret E string? I thought there would be some advantage to playing it that way so you only need to remember one riff “shape”, and you don’t get the tone difference of mixing open strings with fretted notes.


Wow! I would not have guessed that this song’s bassline was so complex.


Just watched this on YT before I came here :joy:
Great teaching lesson with so much humour once again @JoshFossgreen
Especially right at the end :joy::joy::joy::joy:


Just turned on my TV to watch some YouTube reviews, and guess what was on my home screen.

So I searched for the thread, and here it is. :joy::joy:

Gonna watch it right after the reviews I am looking for, but It’s @JoshFossgreen, so I am sure it’s great.
Not that I expect him to live up to the greatness every time…
It’s just that I expect him to live up to greatness every time. :joy::joy::joy::joy::joy::joy::joy:
Only cuz I know he will.


Thanks so much. New to this community. Always love how you break things down and make it very understandable.


Welcome @gary.paice!


Welcome aboard @gary.paice,
Enjoy the ride.
Cheers Brian


Welcome to the jungle @gary.paice


After listening to the isolated studio bass track a bunch, I could hear clues that the bass player was playing it in that position, so that’s where I played it. Like the slide in the second 4 bar phrase of the out chorus, and also the pitch of the various ghosted notes.

You could definitely just scoot everything up though! I was going for completionist points. :100:

Thanks @gary.paice, welcome to the forum! Feel free to come over here and Introduce Yourself!


Hey Josh! Awesome as usual! Not a big Bon Jovi fan even though I’m born and raised in NJ. Not a hater, but not one of my favs… that being said, I’ve always through that bassline was so understand! It’s all I hear when I listen to that song.

Anyway, another one of my favorite Melodic bass lines from the 80’s I’d love to see you break down is is Duffs intro on sweet child o mine. Any love?


Yeah, that’s a good one!