Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Don't make this performance mistake. It could cost you YouTube Viewers

A while ago I watched a bass player, and while he was good, he just didn't hold my attention. In my latest YouTube video I demonstrate what he was doing, and initially what I thought was wrong. I thought the problem was he wasn't smiling and looking at the audience. Then I'd seen another bass player, that wasn't looking at the audience or smiling. This time it didn't bother me one bit. Why? It had occurred to me the first player just looked bored with what he was playing. While the second one, although not looking at the audience, was really into it and concentrating where he needed to.

I see players on you tube doing a similar thing. They try to look natural, not looking at their guitar to show how good they play that tune. Unfortunately to me, and probably many other people, it just doesn't come across like that. If they can't look like they're enjoying what they are playing, then perhaps, just show their hands and the guitar only, not themselves looking bored. If you look bored, why should we not be bored watching.

You could be loosing watchers on YouTube as a result. Don't let it be you.

What do you think, do you agree with me?

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

ACME audio Motown D.I. WB-3 short review and demo

I have recently been lent the motown DI by Acme audio. I uses the same circuitry and components as the DI's used in the legendary motown studios. James Jameson being a famous bass player having played on many of those motown recordings would have plugged his bass into the unit at the time. Although he used a Ampeg B15 amp, most recordings were done via the DI unit.

It's a great and cool looking unit and really well built. You can either plug you guitar direct into the unit, or plug in from you speaker output. There isn't a huge difference in sound for that reason, In the video I conclude that for the cost of the unit, I wouldn't buy one over my standard music interface or DI unit for a live show. If you like boutique equipment, it's definitely worth while considering this unit.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments box below.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Jet Harris - Razzle Dazzle - Bass line transcription (Cliff Richard and The Shadows Live ABC Kingston)

Jet Harris was the original bass player with The Shadows (formerly The Drifters) who left due to a drink problem. He sadly past away 18 March 2011. He did leave some bass gems behind. Many are well documented already. However I initially decided to transcribe this particular track recorded at a live concert with Cliff Richard in 1962, because the bass during the solo was interesting to me. However, as I started and continued past the solo I realised there were many interesting things going on that can be used over many standard Rock n Rock tracks to make the bass more interesting. I thought I'd share it here. Jet has a driving bass  sound in this recording, quite staggering when you consider he was using a Vox AC30 amp. Probably it was a slightly oversize version with a 15" speaker, very rare. Most certainly this would have been played on a fiesta red Fender Precision bass guitar with flatwound strings and a plectrum. It's also worth mentioning that Jet was probably drunk when he played this!

Razzle Dazzle page 2
transcribed by Nathan J Hulse
Razzle Dazzle page 1
transcribed by Nathan J Hulse

Main highlights / analysis
  • When the song starts Jet plays a standard Rock n Roll line over the F. On the C he adds a 4th with the follow bar starting on a D (9th). This gives an interesting feel and movement. Moving forward to bar 26 Jet again adds a 4th over the C with a run back down to the C later a similar pattern over the F chord.
  • For the solo, you can hear the descending run with the C pedal note throughout each bar. Towards the end he plays a II - V - I pattern over a V - IV - I sequence. Jet was a Jazz player originally and perhaps this was intentional or a happy mistake.
  • Moving on to bar 74 is a lovely descending pattern over a static C chord. This I personally use quite a lot over a guitar solo. There are quite a few jumps which suggests Jet would be using open strings quite a lot to move position.
  • Notice how Jet is also just as happy to play driving quarter notes over the root.

There's a lot of useful info in this track to add to your rock n roll bass line creation and vocabulary with this. I hope you find helpful. 

Monday, 6 March 2017

Always On My Mind (Elvis Presley bass line, Transcription)

I play bass for who I consider to be the best Elvis sound-a-like tribute in the UK (and probably the UK and Israel). I have already transcribed some of my favourite lines. I will put them on this blog in due time. It can be quite am interesting and sometimes shocking thing to do. Because I listen more carefully to the original recording I noticed things that I don't usually play. Always On My Mind is quite a simple track to play, but delve a little deeper and the bass player (Emory Gordy) has some quite varied and and interesting rhythmic variations going on. This is a bass line I see many doing, yet they miss some of the more interesting parts. I will add a link to a more usable pdf file.
On the introduction, there is a D being played, which I think is the bass. I've included the note in brackets as the main bass part you hear clearly starts on the fourth beat of the first bar. Emory uses quite a few slides which helps keep the line more interesting. In bar 10/11 he slide up to the B on the 9th fret, then back down on the G to the C. From playing this myself I would guess this helps the give the note more body. Bars 59-60 I have used the timing from the recording. However, in a live situation the singer would be more likely to go on feel. So listen to the piano pickup in bar 61. The final repeating bars, I've only transcribed the first time round, on the original recording it goes round about 6 times to the fade. Again, live, the singer would probably give a cue when to end. 

The YouTube clip features myself on bass with Lee Memphis King. Luckily, you can't see me after the into. I would point out, I have done this transcription since the video, so it is interesting to see how much I didn't pick out from the original recording.

Monday, 20 February 2017

What A Man - Bass part with transcription

What A Man (page1)
Here's a clip of me playing along to a track without bass of 'What A Man'. The track is featured in the film The Sapphires sung by Jessica Mauboy. When I heard it I thought it was such a great bass line I just had to transcribe it and write it down. The original track was done by Linda Lyndell in 1969 at Stax studios, probably with Duck Dunn on bass.

The main riffs are quite repetitive but effective. You can hear some Jaco Pastorius in there (Chicken, Come on Over) over those dominant 7ths, all be it a little slower than Jaco. The film sound track version has a definite end which is written on the music,  this is not on the backing track I used.

I have decided to make the transcription available for anyone that may get use from it. The only thing is, I don't know how to make it available to view on Blogger, so I have provided a link to the pdf file. If you would like a TAB version contact me I can arrange this.

Link to PDF

Monday, 13 February 2017

Nathan J Hulse - Bass Player

I am firstly a bass player and like one of my heroes Jet Harris, I took up photography. This blog took over from my photography web site and showed some of the press work and other stock work I had been doing. In the past few years I have been working for a photography company as a freelance called Simply Photography. Due to the nature of their work, I don't get to post pictures I have taken from the events I cover for them.

I have decided to continue using this blog and web address with my work and life as a bass player. I have a few exciting things planned for this. Assuming work doesn't get in the way too much.

Brief Musical history:-

At the King's Theatre Southsea
I was taught classical piano, and after hearing Elvis in the film 'That's The Way It Is' I decided I wanted to be Elvis. After listening to more modern music (compared to classical) I decided it was the bass guitar I wanted to play. My influences being James Jameson (motown), Jerry Scheff (Elvis' live 70's bass player). This list has since got longer.

I formed my first band with some school friends and my Dad (he could actually play compared to the rest of us). After a few years and drummer walked in a pub I was playing in and poached me from my own band into his. A Rock n Roll band called the Cavaliers. I didn't know you could get gigs only playing 50's Rock n Roll. I was almost sacked after a few rehearsals for playing too many notes. Amongst some great Rock n Roll gigs, we mostly played rock n roll pubs, we were fortunate to be booked on a long term contract playing on Brittany Ferries. 

I went on to join another Rock n Roll band playing more British rock n roll, call Jet Black. They were highly regarded on the circuit and my favourite band at the time. Highlights would be playing the at Birmingham NEC for the motorcycle show. An event we played at a few years running.

After Jet Black, I wanted to play some of the music that first influenced me, soul and motown. I started a 60's band with the drummer from the Cavaliers and found a great singer and guitarist called Darren. We never played soul or motown. It was raw 60's Beatle mania era of music.

With my background in British Rock n Roll I was asked to replace the Bass player of a highly respected and regarded band called The Rapiers. They were a Shadows style band, at the time of joining, they also covered early beat music (pre Beatles). We played theatre shows backing some original artists from the 60's, including Jet Harris, Mike Berry, John Leyton, Billie Davis and many more. Oh, not forgetting a song and chord with Cliff Richard. With them I appeared on Stage at the Prince of Wales theatre in London's west end with a show called Cliff The Musical in addition to other touring shows. The major ones are detailed below.

More recently I joined an Elvis Tribute Artist called Lee Memphis King. I'm back to my original influences. I'm very fortunate to play and have played with artists and bands that are the best in their field. I also play bass for a 3 piece Rock n Roll band called The Stingrays.

In between I have filled in for other bands usually with the Cliff Richard Shadows or Rock n Roll connection.

  • The Rapiers bass player (2001 - 2015)
  • Played bass for:-
      • Jet Harris
      • John Leyton
      • Craig Douglas
      • Mike Berry
      • Billie Davis
      • Denny Laine
      • Wee Willie Harris
  • Cliff the Musical - Tour (UK and West End, 2003)
  • Born to Rock n Roll - Tour (UK, Denmark, 2005)
  • The Best of Me - Tour (UK, 2006)
  • Chartbusters / Flashback (touring show covered for bass player)
  • Butlins Bogner Regis (Various, provided cover for Bass Chair. Steve Etherington MD)
  • Bass for Marvin Ruffin - brief theatre tour
  • Billy Lewis' Drifters
  • Made in Britain - the 2 5 special - Tour (UK 2008-9)
  • Cliff and the Shadows tribute show tour (Netherlands 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014)
  • Guys and Dolls (2015 Local AmDram society CROADS)
  • Bass player for Lee Memphis King Elvis Tribute Artist (Touring UK, Israel, 2015 - present)

Monday, 25 May 2015

Emma Willis at Big Brother (2015)

Emma Willis
© Nathan J Hulse
Big Brother is now back in full swing with a new set of housemates. One being evicted on the opening night. I bet he was pleased. It's nice to photograph Emma Willis each week. She usually wears something colourful which always makes for a nice picture. While I know many women like black, bright colours make a much better picture.

Do you have any favourite housemates. The Second (or first) to be evicted was Adjoa Mensah, she seemed quite willing to pose for pictures on the way out. I am now busy playing bass guitar for an Elvis Tribute Act with Lee Memphis King as Elvis, so it's possible I may miss a few friday night evictions.