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!
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.