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Paul and bass guitar
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27 March 2010
11.36am
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Joe
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Many Years From Now: "There's a theory that I maliciously worked Stu out of the group in order to get the prize chair of bass. Forget it! Nobody wants to play bass, or nobody did in those days. Bass was the thing that the fat boys got lumbered with and were asked to stand at the back and play. Don't say anything. Don't blow your cool. So I definitely didn't want to do it but Stuart left, and I got lumbered with it. Later I was quite happy, I enjoyed it, but I'd started as a guitarist until my guitar had fallen apart; it was a piece of crap. I then became a pianist, because they had a piano on stage. It was a terrible old piano so to be able to even pick out anything was an achievement. Then finally I became a bass player. Stuart lent me his bass till I got one, so I was playing it upside down. My God, the conditions I was playing in, no wonder I got pretty good! I never played on anything decent! But it was good for my musical education to have to play all those different instruments."

Anthology (George): "[Stuart] said, 'I'm out of the Band, lads, I'm going to stay in Hamburg with Astrid.' At that point I said, 'We're not going to get a fifth person in the band. One of us three is going to be the bass player and it's not going to be me.' And John said, 'It's not going to be me,' and Paul didn't seem to mind the idea."

Anthology (Paul): "I really got lumbered with bass. Nobody actually wanted to play bass that's why Stuart was playing it. We all wanted really to be guitarists, and we were three guitar players to start off with.

            "There's something I'd like to get straight because it is kind of historical - someone a few years ago said how it was my relentless ambition that pushed Stu out of the group. We did have some arguments, me and Stu, but actually I just wanted us to be a really cracking band, and Stu - being a cracking artist - held us back a little bit not too much. If ever it came to the push, when there was someone in there watching us I'd feel, 'Oh, I hope Stu doesn't blow it.' I could trust the rest of us; that was it. Stuart would tend to turn away a little so as not to be too obvious about what key he was in, in case it wasn't our key.

            "When it became clear that Stu was leaving because of Astrid, I asked him in the transition period to lend me his bass, which, for me, was upside down - although I couldn't change the strings around in case he ever wanted to play it. By then I had learnt to play guitar upside down, anyway, because John would never let me turn the strings around on his guitar, neither would George - it was just too inconvenient for them to have to turn them all back again."

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9 November 2012
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Some random thoughts about Paul and bass:

 

Paul once sort of punned in an interview with a magazine called "Bass Guitar" I think, in which he was arguing that a bass player should try to stick to the deeper foundational notes and not stray too much in high notes and frills, and he concluded this thought with, "I mean, you have to have some ass down there!"

 

It was kind of cool to have (and see in the Let It Be movie) George play bass on "Two of Us", while the "two of them" -- Paul and John, played acoustic guitars together.

 

Though I feel I'm a bass player at heart, I've never got my shit and $$$ together to buy one (for one thing, you can't just buy a bass, you have to spend money on strings (more expensive than acoustic guitar strings), an amplifier, and since I can't practice loudly for neighbors, some kind of special headphones connected to a mixer) -- so I play bass on the low strings of my acoustic guitar, for my own amusement.  I notice Paul, like most electric bass players, uses a pick.  I have never used a pick, just my own nails in fingerpicking style similar to James Taylor.  If I did ever get an electric bass, I would try my damndest to play with my fingers, no plectrum.

 

While I think Paul is one of the best bassists, I put a couple of others ahead of him -- Paul Jackson and Peter Cetera, to name two.

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10 November 2012
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