In 1972 Elvis Presley recorded Burning Love in the studio. Emory Gordy was the bass player on the track, he did later replace Jerry Scheff in the TCB band for a few months when Jerry took a break shortly after the ’73 live show from Hawaii.
Jerry played the bass lines different at each show, for this track the Aloha ’73 version was used. It’s quite a repetitive line, however, Jerry still seems to make each of those repeating lines different. My transcription is below, also a YouTube clip of myself playing the line.
For those that don’t know, Chas and Dave were a Cockney Duo (actually there was 3 of them including the drummer) and overlooked musicians. I heard a keyboard player cover this during the the Covid – 19 lockdown which reminded my how good the bass line was. I decided to transcribe it. The main hock of the song, is very deceptive as it goes across the beat, it’s slightly different during the intro, once you get into the verse with the octave patterns it’s easy to count it with the top note. (bars 21,22 and similar). There are two verses, which other than an obvious pause in the second, both are different with interesting, yet similar patterns in the Bb, then the F patterns are different as well. A very good production, making it simple at the start, then adding more towards the end. Dave Peacock most likely recorded this on his precision bass, using a pick. In my video below, I just stuck to using my fingers. To be honest, it didn’t sound great when I tried with a pick.
Motown was a huge influence on me, and probably many others due to the fantastic bass, mostly created by James Jameson.
There is a book all about Jameson, with many transcriptions, albeit some have errors. I purchased this book with accompanying cassette tapes. It now has CDs, or even a link to mp3s. I decided to try and transcribe a track not in the book. There are parts where its quite difficult to hear quite what note is being played. Bar 7 is the one is this track. There is a drum hit which obscures the notes. It was bars 34/5 and 54/5 that made me want to transcribe the track.
Click the title below for the transcription. If you’d like a TAB version please contact me.
When I was at Junior School, I think it’s call year 5 now, madness were in the charts. I used to jump about to their music. The bass lines are very effective and really help keep movement in the tracks.
I decided to transcribe the bass line to House Of Fun. The bass player was Mark Bedford. There are only a few patterns in this, other than the middle section. The chorus is different each time, which I would never have known if I’d not decided to listen carefully to the track. It seems to be played with a pick, which I copied in the you tube clip below. I could play it using the open strings to limit movement on the neck, I just felt it had more heft to it without the open strings.
Click on the title below for the transcription. If you’d like a TAB version email me and I’ll get one to you.
The Wonder Of You was one of the first bass lines I learnt when starting out on bass. Which means it’s not a difficult bass line at all. I still see people get it musically wrong. Many years later, I’m now playing this song with an Elvis tribute act.
This is transcribed from the Elvis Presley single version recorded in February 1970. The main reason I decided to transcribe such an easy line, was that one day, I noticed a low E during the guitar solo. I never played a low E. I wondered how much more I’d missed. Not many players aim to play it as the recorded version and that’s fine by me, I like to get close and certainly in the style of the original recording. I think that is what helps a tribute artist stand out from the rest. It’s great getting one part correct, but if the rest is wrong, it won’t sound as close as it could do.
Working with an Elvis tribute artist (ETA) Lee Memphis King (LMK) I play lots of Elvis music. Jerry Scheff who played during the 70’s with Elvis was a favourite bass player of mine even before I started working with an ETA.
The version of Never Been to Spain LMK wanted the band to copy was from the box set Elvis : Live in Las Vegas. Most people would probably be more familiar with the Madison Sq Garden Version. It has a few different bass patterns Jerry uses for each verse and solo. The whole song builds to a huge climax at the end and Jerry’s bass part does a similar thing. I kept getting some of the patterns mixed up, was it pattern A for this verse or the next verse. So I decided I would write it out. It always seems simple when you start, then the bass disappears in the mix, there is interesting timing to work out and so forth. For me a great excise to help with reading music as well. A skill I don’t need to do that much, yet one I still try to keep going by transcribing and reading music.
I’ve not included all the slide Jerry does in the music, the notes are there. If you listen to the recording, you can hear the slides. I may go back and add them at a later date. The main thing for me was getting those different patterns down. While transcribing this I was also more aware of some of the rhythmic lines Jerry does, in this example going from E to A. He follows the drums quite closely, my backing track I think is based from the Madison Sq Garden recording, so the drum fills are different and don’t quite match up.
I hope you may get some benefit from this as I did writing it out.
I’ve been told to progress in Jazz we need to listen and copy other players. Exactly as we learn to speak, we then use all this information to create our own sentences or bass lines. Ray Brown in one of the great upright Jazz bass players. I found his version of All The Things You Are, which had a few ( well a lot actually) nice lines in it, so I decided to transcribe those parts, or verses containing the lines I like the sound of.
The song is played at quite a fast tempo for this song.
In the first verse the section over the ii-v-i (bars 17-20) are particularly interesting. I also liked the sequence he used in bars (61-63). There’s a lot more to it, but I think analysing it yourself is much more useful than someone doing it for you. I certainly has given me many more ideas when playing walking bass lines. Anything part you like in this.
I’ve only written the chords over the first verse. Also note, I used iRealPro for the backing, which meant I couldn’t replicate the same turnaround in the first verse, but it’s written in the music.
My Walking bass lines particularly over the jazz blues progression all seemed the same, so I decided I needed to do something about it. I’ve studied some Charlie Parker sax lines which mostly full over jazz blues, at least the lines I’ve currently looked at have. The next thing would be to listen to the bass line on these recordings and listen to lines I could use in my own playing. I find it easier to write them out, that way I will always have a record of them to look at. Of course, these old recordings don’t have the best sound sound separation as more modern recordings. Picking out the bass was really hard in places. For this reason, I only transcribed the first 4 progressions (48 bars). Curley Russell is the bass player.
One thing to note in the transcriptions is that I have written the standard Jazz Blues chords over the top, the Charlie Parker Omnibook, doesn’t have this track as a standard jazz blues, iRealPro, which I used in the YouTube clip, uses the standard Jazz blues progression. You can hear a few clashes. Particularly bar 26, where Curley Russell plays A, the usual sequence would be Bb. Also we don’t hear the diminished chord in the sixth bar as usual.
My most recent YouTube upload and bass transcription is Bruno Mars’ ‘Locked Out Of Heaven’. This was played by Nick Movshan who isn’t the regular bass player with Mars.
Like my previous post of ‘Sign Sealed Delivered’, this is again popular for function bands. I decided it would be an interesting one to transcribe. Not too difficult. In the breakdown section towards the end, I wasn’t entirely sure what was the electric bass, and what was covered by the synths. I’m quite sure that bars 58-61 didn’t have the octave jump on the bass part as earlier in the part, instead, it sounded just like the synth bass playing the octave. Also the breakdown section I added a bass part closest to the recording, I would play if on a gig.
I thought I would try to transcribe and notate a Motown bass line. I choose Bob Babbitt’s line on Stevie Wonder’s ‘Sign Sealed Delivered’. A popular tune for function bands, so I’m quite sure many bass players already know this. However, there are a few nice little phrases in this, check out bars 19-20 and 47-48 both over and F chord. Babbitt has a few nice little rhythmic changes during the fade out.
The run at the start (which repeats through out the song) gave me a few issues. Was it an A or Ab? In a clip of Bob Babbitt playing this, he plays an Ab, listen carefully and you can hear the note is an A sliding in from the Ab. The music show a slide, so bare in mind its a slide from a semi-tone below.