Eventually, my aim is to be making multiple videos every month, but it takes a lot of time and effort to ensure the quality remains high. I’ve put together a (very silly) trailer to show how small monthly donations via Patreon will help me achieve that goal.
If you want to see more bass videos from me, it would mean the world if you signed up to pledge a monthly donation. There are a few tiers with a variety of rewards, so whatever seems the right amount for you – any amount would be greatly appreciated!
In this time of reflection, at the end of a turbulent year, we should give thanks to D major for just how well it translates to solo bass. Open strings! Harmonics! A third thing! D major, you’re the MVP, and we’re blessed that Paul McCartney chose you to write this song.
I could start by saying that I was inspired to do this arrangement in a flash of inspiration; that the lyrics really spoke to my urge to get back to basics in a year dominated by technology and screens. It would be completely untrue, but I could still do it.
At the very beginning of lockdown, The White Keys hatched a plan to do a couple of those ambitious-multi-camera-everyone-at-home-in-a-little-video-box videos. And here’s one of them!
We’ve been doing this UKG medley for a few years now, but we’ve never had a good promo video for it. With more than enough time on our hands, lockdown seemed like the perfect opportunity. It still took a while though!
I’ve been meaning to take down this bassline for years… I’m glad I finally did it, but what a roast! Those triple pops in the chorus are mad. Classic Stuart Zender. Those changes are hip too. Ab13#11/F? Sure, why not.
Bass: Anaconda UJ5-E, neck & rear bridge pickup selected with a slight emphasis on neck pickup
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!
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.
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.
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.