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.
Many of the bass players I like all have a background in jazz music; James Jameson, Jerry Scheff, Carol Kaye, the list can go on. It made me consider learning jazz. 5 years ago, I started. I would say my general playing has improved. Anyway, on to this post. I was trying to record directly into my phone using an iRig attached to my interface. It works, but I still needed to increase the volume in iMovie for upload. Any suggestions to increase the recording level and do it all in the phone would be appreciated. Here’s the track I recorded.
1st time through I played the tune, 2nd a bass solo, final time, I just played a bass line. Like a jazz jam, but on my own.
When I first heard Joss Stone’s version of L-O-V-E, I was instantly drawn to the bass line. Not surprising being a bass player. This one stood out to me. I was going to transcribe it myself, then found it online, with a few mistakes. I decided to record it. Not easy!
I’m quite sure the original version features Raphael Saadiq on bass, playing a Fender Precision bass with flatwound strings. However, when I tried to record the bass with the Bass-less backing track, it just didn’t sit right in the mix. I then tried with round wound strings and the tone rolled off. Eventually I settled with the tone full up. Almost the complete opposite to the original recording I’m comparing to.
My next hurdle was a few techniques that I hadn’t used before. Trills, between frets, I’ve still not got them a well as I’d like. The final hurdle, was that I’ve always played slightly ahead of the beat. Not a problem with the music I had been doing. On this track, it needed a relaxed, approach.
Playing bass in theatres with Lee Memphis King, the Elvis Tribute Artist, there are few clips because video isn’t allowed. People that do manage to sneak a clip, don’t tend to put it on YouTube. Instead, they probably just show their friends to show them what they have been doing and seeing.
I just found this one clip of suspicious minds recorded at Northampton Derngate Theatre. You can see the audience are having a great time, and why not, it’s a great show.
I have transcribed the bass part for this from Elvis’s ’72 show at Madison Sq Garden. Jerry Scheff, Elvis’ bass player, played it different every time. I’ll post a link to the transcription in due course. Meanwhile, enjoy the one and a half minute clip with myself on bass.
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. Click the link below for the pdf.
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.
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.
I’ve always enjoyed Wham bass lines. This particular track was originally played by Deon Estas, who used a status bass and Fender Jazz, not sure which he would’ve used on this recording. I used my Status Retro bass.
I’ve written out the first verse accurately, there are some minor differences in the following verses. The Intro lines and chorus seem to be consistent throughout the track. It’s a relatively simple bass line and really effective which is why it works. During the fade out at the end you hear a nice little ad lib line which I included at the end of the transcription.