Jazz Standards with accurate bass tabs for beginners

Hi Everyone,

I’m trying to look for jazz standards with accurate bass tabs. Does anyone know a source where I can get some in PDF form or know of a book that I could buy?

Many thanks,


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Hey @c.t.matsumoto, welcome to the forum! Feel free to come Introduce Yourself! when you get a chance.

I don’t know of anything like that - jazz and tab don’t really live in the same worlds. If you’re stuck reading tabbed out walking bass lines, you’re not quite playing “jazz,” since it’s an improvisational (and conversational) idiom.

Are you looking for melodies, or walking bass lines, or both? The best books of “lead sheets” (melody + chord changes, with a few bass parts here and there) are the ones put out by Chuck Sher, most are prob available on Amazon but here’s the publisher’s site: https://shermusic.com/

There are some method books on that site worth checking out too. Jazz is hard, so be prepared for a learning curve! :slight_smile:


Thanks Josh,

I see my question has some ‘bite off more than I can chew’ in it. Now that you mention the tabs and jazz not really mixing that’s really obvious!

If I look back at my short lived bass life, when I picked it up I’ve been drawn to jazz tunes. I keep wanting to try to figure those tunes out.

Could you suggest some steps to take to start getting into this stuff? Or is the learning curve so steep that it can’t be baby stepped?

Many thanks


@c.t.matsumoto To get Josh’s attention you have to tag the person’s name. Like this… @JoshFossgreen. Since I tagged him he’ll see this.

While I’m at it, I’ll go ahead and tag a few other people that might have some advice for you.

What say you folks… @joergkutter @peterhuppertz @Gio

Do we have any other regular posters that are big into jazz that might be able to offer advice about working up into it?


@c.t.matsumoto: I don’t think I can add more to what @JoshFossgreen already said. I wish myself there was a “shortcut” to learning what bass line to play to jazz standards. There just isn’t any… As Josh said, a (walking) jazz bass line is intrinsically improvised, while, of course, using tones from the chords/scales + some ornamental tones (diatonic and chromatic passing tones etc). Learning this from the ground up is tedious and requires a lot of time and commitment, but it teaches you so much about harmonies, triads, chords, arpeggios etc - something no shortcut would allow you to do.

If you want to dive deeper into this, this is a book I see recommended quite often in this context:

Good luck!


Thanks @eric.kiser I really appreciate the tip!


Thanks @joergkutter, I sort of had a feeling this would be the answer. But I really appreciate the reference. All the things you mentioned I’m busy trying to figure out on YouTube, so I think I’m just stupid enough to take the leap.


Above all else, it takes patience :smile:


To echo what @joergkutter already said, yeah, I don’t know a great way to get in the thick of the jazz without a ton of (sometimes tedious) work.

If I knew an easy method, you better believe I’d make a course for it! :stuck_out_tongue:


Hail @c.t.matsumoto! I love that you’re looking to get into building jazz lines.

The best book I’ve found for really trying to figure out how to put these lines together is this one:

It’s by Ron Carter and it goes over the basics and then develops into some great tools for building bass lines and the majority of the learning takes place over a 12 bar blues progression which makes it very accessible.

I’ve used this with students before, and I think it’s very very good.
Another great reference book with lots of great (and beginning level) sample walking lines is The Real Easy book by Chuck Sher.
Lots of more basic jazz standards with suggested bass lines.
Good stuff in there too.

The author and organizer of this book (and all the best lead sheet book transcriptions) is a local guy in Petaluma, California. He’s a great fella, so if you do get it, I’d highly recommend getting it direct from his website! Help the local guy! (He’s also a hellova bass player!)


@Gio Ah, wow. Thanks for the references. I’ll have a look right away. Again many many thanks.


Well @JoshFossgreen there goes my brilliant idea for a follow up course. Thanks a lot Jazz.


@Gio does it matter that The Real Easy Book from the link is ‘Vol. 1 3-Horn Edition’?


That’s the only version they sell now - it’s fine. It has everything you need for a small jazz ensemble.

If you go to buy it - get the C Version or the Bass Clef Version.

The Bass Clef version will have all the melodies written out in Bass Clef.

The C Version will have all the melodies written out in Treble Clef.

The chords and sample bass lines will be correct and in the right key in either of those books.


I guess I will bring this topic back to life. I have been focusing on learning a repertoire of Jazz standards recently. I have the “real book” and have been working on finding the chord sequence analysis such as a II-V-I-IV like in Autumn Leaves or the basic II-V-I etc. Then using various arpeggios within the key and scales to create walking bass lines combined with chord melodies etc. This as been the bulk of my practice over the last few days. Learning the standards creates so many different practice routines and different areas to round out my bass playing. Do you all find the same excitement in practicing the standards? or am I just a weirdo?


I’d wager there are only a handful of us in here who are looking more into this particular topic, and you might be the one most actively doing it :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

I would like to move faster here, but realized I needed to really work much harder on my arpeggios first. I have dabbled a bit with Blue Bossa, Autumn Leaves, and I Got Rhythm, but I am certainly not there yet where I can easily play walking bass lines (and, of course, Blue Bossa is a bit different in this context).

What I mainly do is try to get the circle of fourths under my belt as arpeggios following the “rhythm changes” pattern (minor - dominant), i.e., C-7 - F7; F-7 - Bb7; Bb-7 - Eb7 and so forth, using different fingerings…

I have to admit, though, I can’t claim this is exciting… it’s tedious. But I am hoping the excitement will come once I can apply it in concrete song/standards situations :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


I didnt know whether this would be helpful for someone… Talking bass do a walking bass course.

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@joergkutter I am definitely one of those strange people who actually enjoys studying and playing this stuff it has opened so many different areas of bass playing for me. I usually practice an hour a day just on Jazz standards, scales, arpeggios, etc. I agree it is tedious however, it has taught me so much. It requires a level of dedication and persistence to sit down and put the work in ( I am not perfect at this I admit)

One of my favorite songs is John Pizzarelli I Got Rhythm
I used to study this inside and out on the guitar. Of course, he uses a seven-string on this bt it is amazing


Just chiming in here. Since I asked the question a couple of months ago I now know what @joergkutter and @JoshFossgreen warned me about. I’ve had to reign in my expectations in favor of digging deeper into chords and scales and I play against backing tracks that show the chord progressions so I can half attempt some walking bass lines. I got the two books @Gio mentioned but they were way out of my league (for now). And like @LesterH I also like doing the learning and practice so yeah definite weirdo!


Yes, absolutely, @LesterH - this is what, hopefully, sets me apart from my younger self, where I would have just pursued the fun stuff. Now, I am appreciating much more the long game :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

That’s a “furious” version, and lots of extra chords and reharmonizations - pretty impressive.

Keep at it, @c.t.matsumoto - it’s a marathon, not a sprint :wink:

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