When I first heard Elvis’ version of Let It Be Me, I was blown away. Previously knowing the Everly Brothers version, this was much different. Arranged by piano player Glenn D. Hardin it was like a new song. 4/4 with a 12/8 feel to it. The bass line is one of my favourites, with some lovely melody phrasing.
After playing it in an Elvis show for a few months I decided to write it out. I though this and other transcriptions I’d done had been lost. Long story, fortunately, I found the original PDF of this, which just needed to minor changes to it. Now found, it’s time to share it. As I was writing, despite playing for a few months, when I wrote out the bass line note for note from the recording, I noticed a few bass phrases I’d either initial missed, or just thought I had enough to play live on stage. Check out the phrase on the play out at bar 69. Another show the same day, Jerry would have played a different yet similar line. The version that ended up on the album, everything just seemed to come together.
Walk A Mile In My Shoes, is quite a funky tune and bass line for an Elvis track. Probably due to Jerry Scheff’s bass and Bob Lanning’s drumming. This track makes good sixteenth and syncopated reading. Apart from the bass break (which I realised I’ve play slightly wrong on the video) Jerry’s playing is rarely the same in two bars. Jerry said he used to listen to the rest of the band, brass, guitarist and drums (obviously) and follow them. Is quite evident looking into this he does just that hear. With some rhythmic parts following the vocal, which others follow and instrument. Bar 60 the bass follows the glockenspiel as an example.
If you’re a fan of the playing of James Jamerson, it’s quite likely you have the James Jamerson ‘Standing in the Shadows of Motown’ book with many transcriptions in it. One is the Junior Walker version of ‘How Sweet It Is’ in Db. The Marvin Gaye version is very similar but in the key of C and slightly easier to play due to the easier use of open strings. I decided to write this one out. There were a few triplets that were not easy to pick out on the recording. The more you transcribe the easier it is supposed to become. They seemed correct playing with the original recording and hearing nothing standing out or clashing.
I recorded the bass line which you can see in the video below. I am reading it. I try not to include my face as it’s not pretty, but to make the video a little more interesting, I included another angle. I’ve used a standard 62 re-issue precision which has a high density foam under the bridge cover. This is similar to the original bass foam rather than a sponge like so many do. Does it make much difference compared to a sponge. Probably not. Maybe something for another video perhaps.
Anyway, I hope you get some use from this transcription as well.
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 Jamerson.
There is a book all about Jamerson, 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.
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.