â€œLivinâ€™ On A Prayerâ€ came out on Bon Joviâ€™s 1986 â€œSlippery When Wetâ€ album - Iâ€™m assuming the album title referred to his huge 80â€™s permed hair?
This bass line was officially credited on the album to Alec John Such... but thereâ€™s a contingent of people who believe it may have actually been Hugh MacDonald, who is the bandâ€™s current bass player and played on many of Bon Joviâ€™s records.
Either way, itâ€™s a killer bass line, and breaking it down might help you level up your bass playing.
The first reason this bass line is awesome is that distinctive riff that the bass starts with early in the song. It uses â€œpedal pointâ€ with the other instruments to create tension and release that grabs the listener. Iâ€™ll explain what pedal point is, how it works in this song, and what it would sound like without the pedal point.
Then weâ€™ll go through some of the best bass runs (aka bass fills) in the song, and break down what makes them great. Weâ€™ll pay extra attention to the big run in the chorus where the bassist plays â€œover the bar line,â€ which is a really useful tool for making your rhythmic choices more interesting when playing fills.
Last weâ€™ll talk structure - how the bass line follows the climbing intensity to best support the song, and how you can apply that to your own bass lines. But youâ€™ll have to do it tastefully, otherwise youâ€™ll sound like me in the outro.