Let's be clear about one thing straight up. A sustained bass note can sound both awesome and powerful. As part of a song structure it can be a great tool. But... what about when you want a little more? Perhaps a lot more.
The top diagram here is a simple line. We created it with the chord progression A - G - D - E in mind. And, yes, we realise that it's not exactly a progression that is harmonically accurate. But, it was created with rock in mind whereby sometimes those things get left aside for the coolness of rock itself. As you see below each chord gets half a bar and on the song goes...
The goal of today's entry was to get some chromatic passing phrases into a bass line. But, somehow it just didn't gel without getting more dynamic with the whole phrase. Here's what's happened. The A became an A octave. The G is identified by a groovy little run, the D is rendered as a 5th. Then we get to what this was all about.
If you're looking for a way to really bring out your bass come up with creative little clusters of notes and work them chromatically, IE: one fret at a time. At first a chromatic run like the one at the end of bar 2 may seem a little random, but it was carefully constructed. Throwing in techniques like these can make your playing explode in an improv session too.
Don't write something like this off as being too 'jazzy' either. Chromatic runs can find a place in most genres. It's also a great way to get both hands working on something accurate and tight.