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.
I Got A Woman, is a standard three chord blues song. As with many live songs Jerry Scheff took the bass part and elevated it. This is one of my favourites of his. There are some great bass runs using the standard blues scale in E, which made it a good track to study closely.
The bass line is from the That’s The Way It Is recordings, taken from the show August 13, 1970 Dinner Show. While the backing is based in the 12, August dinner show. The 13th, Jerry does a nice blues run as it comes out of the stops in the middle section. Generally, it’s a frantic bass line for such a simple song, it’s just so good, not to commit it to paper as well.
A subscriber on my Youtube channel suggested transcribing Elvis Presley’s ‘I’ve Lost You’. I was in the process of transcribing something else, which was causing me to pull my hair out, so decided I would do it. The version I choose was the standard That’s The Way It Is album version, which was performed at the dinner show 11 August 1970. Each show, Jerry would have played it slightly different.
What could appear to be the harder sections where the bass plays in the upper register is actually the easiest part of the song. The difficulty was the build up between the verse and chorus on the F chord. Each time is different and Jerry plays along with the drums. Although on the backing track I have, they are not quite the same. While mentioning the backing track, it doesn’t end as the record, the transcription does.
On a quick glance the music looks a little daunting due to all the sixteenth note (and 32nds). As the BPM is around 75 it’s not too bad. This makes quite good practice at reading sixteenths. Where possible I noted where it’s possible to hear Jerry change strings.
Elvis only included Patch It Up in his show for one season. Jerry Scheff often said the TCB band was like a punk lounge band. When you listen to this track you have to agree with him. The key bass figure is almost the same as the one used 10 years later by the Jam on a Town Called Malice. Perhaps the bass player was influenced by Elvis.
The original studio version was recorded by Norbert Putnam, the live version Jerry seems to take it up a gear, and the key went up as well.
There is an interested note in bar 84 which is almost certainly a mistake where Jerry slide to far and missed the note. I included this in the transcription and video. The sections on the F chord are different both time (bars 14-15 and 48-49 along with the following two bars on D. The rest of the song is close to the Putnams studio version.
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.