Walkdowns describe the bass movement in a song, creating interest and emotion. A “one chord” with the root in the bass makes the listener feel “at home”. But a “one chord” with the third or the fifth in the bass is a totally different animal, usually evoking a majestic, anthem like quality. These are very useful tools in writing and arranging songs.
Almost every song ever written has either walkdowns or walk-ups. Think of how the bass walks down in choruses like “Jesus, Lover of My Soul,” “There is None like You,” “As the Deer,” or “Mr. Bojangles.” Sacred and secular, classical and contemporary music styles all employ this timeless musical device.
Walkdowns in Worship
So here we go. By learning the walkdowns in the five “guitar keys”, you will be equipped to play nearly 90% of all music ever written, or at least most of the music you ever hope to play. Of course then, by using a capo, you will be able to play in all twelve keys with ease. That is one of the cool things about the guitar—if you learn the “shapes” of certain chords, those shapes can be moved up and down the neck forming different chords in different keys: something you can’t do on a piano, I might add.