@samsonjatto x @huwfoster low volume remix

Samson put this clip on Instagram yesterday, so naturally I went mad and made a 1-minute low-volume remix.

If you’ve read this far, I’m gonna assume you’re interested in how I made it!

Drums: I put Vulf Compressor on this, and put an auto-panned delay on the snare, using Soundtoys plug-ins for the panning and the delay. Seeing as the drums were a single, mono track taken from the Instagram video, I had to use a gate set to open on the frequency of the snare to actually isolate it. I’m glad it worked!

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Chaka Khan – ‘Move Me No Mountain’ bass playalong

I’m really enjoying having the time to transcribe and record some classic basslines. I’d been meaning to work out some of Anthony Jackson’s lines for ages, but I knew it would be tough, and (spoiler alert) it was! Those 16th-note fills are relentless.

This is from Chaka Khan’s album Naughty, released in 1980. I only got into this record relatively recently, although I’m really familiar with the follow-up What Cha’ Gonna Do For Me, which boasts many of the same session musicians. So many iconic players – Anthony Jackson, Marcus Miller, Hamish Stuart, Michael & Randy Brecker… It’s worth a listen if you don’t already know it!

My unofficial new year’s resolution is to transcribe every one of these videos, and this one’s no exception. Click here to download the dots.

Recording notes: I used my Anaconda UJ5-E bass for this, tone only slightly rolled off, both pick-ups on with the 3-way bridge pickup set to the 70s jazz bass position. As always, I ran the signal through my Cali76 compressor and Noble Preamp, and added a bit of Vulf Compressor in Ableton.

Video notes: The film effect is an iPhone app called 8mm. It’s a bit much, but I like it. It makes sterile GoPro footage a bit more interesting!

As always, let me know if you have any thoughts or questions in the comments below.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – ‘Subway To Venus’ bass playalong

I don’t know what it was that gave me the urge to revisit my teenage years – maybe it was the recent news that John Frusciante is re-joining the Chili Peppers for the third time – whatever it was, I found myself literally dusting off my Stingray bass and thinking about a song I recall learning for the first time at around 17-years old. I think it was around 2005 – Myspace was at its peak, I was in sixth form and my RHCP-fandom was out of control. I was on a mission to learn every Flea bassline I could.

I have barely given the band a thought in about 14 years now, but Flea’s influence on my bass playing can’t be ignored. When I listen to the 1989 album Mother’s Milk now, what stands out to me is the great musicianship. The production is horrendously dated, and the songwriting quality is patchy, but Flea’s skill and energy is always there.

Bass nerd stuff: I recorded this with my mid-90s Musicman Stingray, running into my Cali76 compressor and Noble preamp. In Ableton I put a touch of Vulf Compressor on the bass track too. It seems to be my standard recording chain these days!

Video nerd stuff: I shot this with my GoPro, edited in Final Cut and then ruined my hard work by putting a VHS filter on it. I used an iPhone app called RarevisionVHS and it’s completely OTT. I had to make it look like 1989 somehow, right?

I’m trying to get into the habit of transcribing every cover I put on YouTube. This one is no exception! You can find the transcription here.

Enjoy! Let me know if you have any thoughts or requests in the comments section below.

Huw

Aretha Franklin – ‘Until You Come Back To Me’ bass playalong

My friend Rob requested that we do this at our New Year’s Eve gig the other night. I’ve always been aware of some of the great playing on Aretha’s records from the 70s, but never actually taken down any of the lines (apart from the obvious ones). With that in mind, obviously I had to go totally overboard and do a note-for-note transcription!

This is such a great song (co-written by Stevie Wonder – those parallel major 7ths are a giveaway!), and the all-star session line-up makes it even better. Chuck Rainey on bass, the one-and-only Bernard Purdie on drums, Donny Hathaway on keys… all supporting Aretha, delivering yet another killer vocal and piano performance.

Some recording info for the bass nerds: I used my trusty Fender Classic 50s Precision (made in Mexico and completely stock), strung with some ageing Labella flats, and with a little bit of foam under the bridge, of course. On the way in I used my Cali76 compressor and Noble preamp, which really come into their own for this style of music. On the mix I used a bit of Vulf Compressor (I’m in danger of that becoming a catchphrase), and gently rolled off the bass below 100Hz. Not much else needed!

Last and not least, you can download the transcription here.

Huw

The Christmas Song

Here’s a short bass duet I put together last night, inspired by the phrasing of Nat King Cole in particular. Is there a better version of this tune? I don’t think so!

For those interested in how I mixed the audio: I used a few really nice Goodhertz plugins (a bit of Vulf Compressor and Megaverb on everything, and Wow Control on the drums to create a doubling and tape wobble effect) and PrimalTap by Soundtoys for the delay.

Merry Bassmas everyone!

Jeff Buckley – ‘Lover, You Should’ve Come Over’ 3x bass cover

The other week I had a bit of free time, so I had a go at something a bit different. Is 3 basses too many?!

I was borderline obsessed with the album Grace when I was a teenager, and this tune has some beautiful changes. I actually came up with the chordal part (as played by the bass on the left) a few years ago, but wasn’t satisfied with how it sounded on its own. I’ve previously done solo bass arrangements with vocalists and other instrumentalists, but this time I decided to make it challenging in a different way.

The stompbox and the foot tambourine were relatively last-minute additions to the arrangement. I had planned to try playing both at once, either whilst playing the harmony part or the upright, but decided to split them between the two to save my brain too much work!

This is also the first time I’ve recorded a video on upright bass, despite having owned one for 4 years. I’m still nowhere near the standard I’d like to be, but it’s such a demanding instrument, so progress is slow. Watching the video shows me just how dodgy my technique is too – something else to work on!

Another learning curve was the video edit. I’d not tried making a composite shot before, apart from some brief tests when preparing for this shoot last week. It’s pretty basic stuff if you’re a proper video editor, but nonetheless it took me a while to figure out how to blend the 3 shots together. Turns out ‘garbage mattes’ are useful!

Hope you enjoy this one. It was fun to put together!