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!
I mentioned Seeds by Lasperanza a little while back. It’s out everywhere now! Thanks again to Rico for having me on board. I played bass on ‘Working Day and Night’ and ‘One Minute From Love’. The whole album is a stonker though! Get it from all good stores via the Lasperanza site, or listen below:
There’s some killer playing all over the first Haim album, but I think this one stands out for me. The pattern in verse 1, with its 16th notes jumping between octaves, is deceptively difficult.
Although Este Haim exclusively uses a Fender Precision for Haim’s live shows, to my ears the bass on this track sounds like a Jazz. At least that’s what it sounds like initially – the tone changes a bit in the pre-chorus, so it could be a variety of basses throughout. At any rate, I thought my recently-acquired Hayman 40/40 would be perfect to attempt this tune. With both pickups on, it sounds like a beefed-up Fender Jazz.
One evening last November I tracked bass on this single by RuthAnne, and last week it finally dropped. It sounds huge! It’s always interesting how a track can evolve after a recording session – I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a gospel choir on the record when I played my part. Thanks to George Moore for getting me involved.
For those who are interested in this sort of thing, here’s some gear chat! I used my trusty Anaconda UJ5-E bass, direct into the desk via my Noble preamp. If I remember the session correctly (and this is pushing it – it had been a long day!), I used the neck pickup only for a warmer and fatter sound.
If you want to hear other tracks I’ve recorded as a session musician, you can follow my Session Cuts playlist on Spotify. 🎚🎛
Just got my 1975 Hayman 40/40 bass back from the workshop. I started playing it this morning and felt inspired to write this short ditty. Enjoy!
(I was going to do some more work on the audio mix, but decided it sounded fine as it was when I finished editing the video. So, my signal chain is just bass into my Noble preamp, bass & treble boosted a bit, with no further EQ or compression in Ableton Live. It’s probably the first time in years I haven’t put Vulf Compressor on a mix.) 😅
For those interested – I bought this bass a couple of months ago via Basschat. Hayman were a short-lived British luthier, and the 40/40 was the only bass they produced. The company later evolved into Shergold Guitars, which is still running today – although they don’t make basses anymore. This particular instrument was restored a couple of years ago by Basschat member discreet – below is his informative write-up on this bass, with some backstory on Hayman too. If I decide to sell this bass at some point, I’ll point the buyer in the direction of this post so they know exactly what they’re getting!