Jamiroquai – ‘Runaway’ bass playalong

Transcription: [notation / tab]

I’ve been meaning to transcribe this one for so long. In my opinion, ‘Runaway’ is a great example of solid pop songwriting, production and musicianship – each element supporting the other without taking too much precedence. The verse part is almost like a hook in itself, and owes a lot to the bass ostinato in the similarly-titled ‘Running Away’ by Roy Ayers. Surely not a coincidence?

The chorus is where the bass playing really takes off. Paul Turner, Jamiroquai’s bass player since 2005, takes a few simple rhythmic ideas and gradually develops them over the course of 3 choruses. It’s a perfect blend of pocket playing, tasty fills and amazing tone.

Talking of tone, I used two basses on this one. A Fender Precision (strung with flats) on the verses, and a Stingray on the choruses. This is actually what happens on the track, as I heard directly from Paul himself when he delivered a masterclass at Leeds College of Music in my final year there. I hadn’t noticed the change myself until he pointed it out, and it felt like a lightbulb moment. Each bass compliments the instrumentation of its respective section – the verses are relatively sparse, so the unmistakeable woody tone of the Precision sings out. By comparison, there’s so much more going on in the chorus, so the low-mid punch of the Stingray occupies a much narrower frequency range – it has presence, without getting in the way. In the video I go into a bit more detail on my settings to achieve the right sounds.

Don’t forget you can the transcription for this one – in tab & standard notation – over on my transcriptions page.