Latest posts

Showcasing Rock & Pop 2018: Bass

We’ve recently been revealing some of the well-known songs set to feature on our new Rock & Pop 2018 syllabuses for Guitar and Drums. We’re now setting the spotlight on bass – watch session bassist David Kyle Payne put his spin on five new songs on the Bass syllabus, and find out why he thinks they’re so great to learn.


Kicking off the video with Red Hot Chili Peppers is appropriate for David, as they’re the reason he first started to play bass. ‘Flea, the bass player, really brings bass to the forefront of the mix and, although he doesn’t play in a conventional way, he opened my eyes certainly to what a bass could be and what a bass sounds like, and it’s thanks to the Chili Peppers that I’m where I am today.’ David plays ‘Scar Tissue’ in this video, which features swung semiquavers – a great thing to practice, he believes.

The Beatles’ ‘Come Together’ is the perfect song with which to practice your grace notes and glissandos, according to David. It, of course, features Paul McCartney on bass, and David also recommends listening to McCartney’s bass playing when learning melodic lines and counterpoint melodies. ‘He was once described as the quintessential melodic bass player by Nathan Watts, who’s Stevie Wonder’s bass player, so he knows what he’s talking about.’

bass image 2David played Alien Ant Farm’s version of ‘Smooth Criminal’ at countless school assemblies. A fast song with a lot of semiquavers in it, he thinks it’s deceptively hard to play accurately. ‘I have to say, the speed at which this song is played really made me have to up my game and I’m grateful that I had to learn it at such a young age.’

Despite having only recently been introduced to them, David’s a huge fan of Alabama Shakes, and likes that ‘Don’t Wanna Fight’ features a range of really interesting techniques and basslines. In particular, he recommends looking at the pedal bassline in this track.

‘Get Lucky’ by Daft Punk features a star-studded line-up including Pharrell Williams, Niall Rogers, and Nathan East on bass – the most recorded bass player in history. It’s a really groove heavy song, and the bassline very rarely repeats from bar to bar. David feels it’s a great study piece with a lot to take away from it: ‘if I were you I’d listen really closely to this and learn all these small articulations, because it grooves really hard.’

David Kyle Payne is a session bass player based in London and is currently on tour with Joe McElderry. He’s worked with artists including Craig David, Sigala, Nina Nesbitt and Lucy Spraggan, and has played venues such as the O2 Arena, Camden Roundhouse and festivals including Reading, V Festival, and Glastonbury.




With a huge range of songs spanning all contemporary styles, the new Rock & Pop 2018 syllabus lets you play the music you love. Find out more about the new syllabus and sign up to hear updates at

Take a look at our other showcase videos: Guitar and Drums

Rock & Pop 2018: Real Songs. Real Skills. Real Progress.

%d bloggers like this: