Never Been to Spain – Elvis Presley – bass transcription

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.