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What makes a great McCartney bass line
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10 December 2011
The Star-Club
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27 May 2011
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I recently found out that George also played Bass on 'Old Brown Shoe'. Some of my favourite Bass lines are on 'Dear Prudence' and 'The Word'

See All Without Looking, Do All Without Doing 
10 December 2011
Into the Sky with Diamonds
New York
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10 December 2011

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Possibly Paul was playing the piano and the bass was recorded at the same time. George played the bass guitar on Carry That Weight (something he had forgotten 25 years later) when Paul was on the piano so maybe that was the arrangement. But then Paul plays the piano and bass on You Never Give Me Your Money so who knows anything when it comes to who played what and why in the later days.

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
17 December 2011
A Beginning
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16 December 2011
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A "GREAT" bass line is one that, after hearing a song a couple of times, a listner will think "wow, so THAT is the sound that is captivating my ears!" It might be a "busy" line, like "Something"or a crescendo-y line like "Dear Prudence," but your ear tunes in to that sound.

That's speaking really just about a bass line, rather than a bass rhythm. A line follows, provides or undercuts the melody. A good rhythmic bass is a "Paperback Writer" type beat.


 In my opinion, "Something" has a beautiful bass line. Sure, there could be less, but it weaves and answers the melodic structure of the music and vocals.

18 December 2011
Into the Sky with Diamonds
New York
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18 December 2011
The Beatles bassist
Abbey Road
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18 December 2011
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"I Saw Her Standing There" is one of the earliest song that got a great bass line, but the problem is, it's not original enough. Paul lifted the bass riffs from Chuck Berry's "I'm Talking About You" a single from 1961 (the year before "I Saw Her Standing There" was written). By the way it got one of my favorite lead and rhythm guitar parts (not to forget to mention my favorite guitar solo recorded by The Beatles).

Here I've listed some of the greatest Beatles bass lines seperated in two sections (the early years: 1962 - 1966 and the studio years: 1967 - 1970):

1962 - 1966:

- Nowhere Man

- You Can't Do That

- I Saw He Standing There

- Roll Over Beethoven

- You Won't See Me

- The Word

- She's a Woman

- Taxman

- Got To Get You Into My Life

- I'm Only Sleeping

- All My Loving

- Don't Bother Me

- I'm a Loser

- Drive My Car

- And Your Bird Can Sing

- Do You Want To Know A Secret

- Think For Yourself

- Michelle

- Day Tripper

- Paperback Writer

- Rain


1967 - 1970

- Penny Lane

- With A Little Help From My Friends

- A Day In The Life

- Lovely Rita

- Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite

- Good Morning Good Morning

- Dear Prudence

- Magical Mystery Tour

- Don't Let Me Down

- Old Brown Shoe

- The Ballad Of John And Yoko

- You Never Give Me Your Money

- Sun King/Mean Mr. Mustard

- Polythene Pam/She Came In Through The Bathroom Window

- Golden Slumbers

- Carry That Weight

- Here Comes The Sun

- Oh! Darling

- Come Together

- Something

- Baby You're a Rich Man

- All You Need Is Love

- Hey Bulldog

- Revolution

- Helter Skelter

- Back in the U.S.S.R.

- While My Guitar Gently Weeps

- Glass Onion

- Octopus's Garden

- Sexy Sadie

- I Am The Walrus

- Your Mother Should Know

- Hello, Goodbye

- Lady Madonna

- Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

- Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da

- Birthday

- Savoy Truffle

- Happiness Is A Warm Gun

- I Me Mine

- Maxwell's Silver Hammer

- Two of Us (* this is George playing a rare guitar line functional as a bass line)

- Dig A Pony

- I Want You (She's So Heavy)

"Real music is made by real people playing real instruments using own creativity and skills."
25 March 2012
The Beatle-lele Book
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24 March 2012
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mithveaen said
You forgot Helker Skelter. a-hard-days-night-john-6

Didnt John play bass on Helter Skelter??

3 April 2012
Ben Ramon
Candlestick Park
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26 March 2012
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Technically, I'd nominate I Want You (She's So Heavy), which really showcases McCartney's dexterity with a pick; the picking on the long chromatic slide down the neck near the end of the song is something that is difficult to pull off without sounding sloppy but Paul's is professional and perfectly timed. I also think Taxman is technically impressive; at first I thought it was pretty simple but then I listened more closely and realized that he's doubling and syncopating notes all over the place. 

But to answer the original question "what makes a great McCartney bassline", I'd have to say a sense of melody- which, let's face it, has always been Paul's strong point in whatever he does. And with that in mind I'd say his best is Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds; that bassline is like a song in itself, starting out following the chords with relative simplicity and then becoming gradually more complex. It's like a Bach bassline. :)

SHUT UP - Paulie's talkin'
7 April 2012
Into the Sky with Diamonds
New York
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Ben Ramon said, "I'd say his best is Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds; that bassline is like a song in itself, starting out following the chords with relative simplicity and then becoming gradually more complex."


That's a remarkable coincidence that you would say that.

In Into the Sky with Diamonds, I focus particularly on that recording session.

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
29 May 2012
Old Siam Sir
The Jacaranda
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21 May 2012
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Come Together - I Want You (She's So Heavy) - Taxman - Rain - Hey Bulldog - Everybody's Got Something to Hide... - Oh! Darling - Something - Lovely Rita - Getting Better - Penny Lane - She Came In Through The Bathroom Window - Don't Let Me Down - the list goes on and on and on...
Macca simply recreated the role of the bass in rock music over the course of the Fab's run and his solo work. I think his playing really took off and grew that signature "melodic" sound after they stopped touring and he started leaving the basslines for overdubs rather than basic rythym tracks. And that perfect tone...great engineers and a sweet rickenbacker!!!!a-hard-days-night-paul-5

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-All Good Children go to Heaven
17 May 2013
The Kaiserkeller
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2 October 2012
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All of McCartney's bass lines are good, some great, perhaps because he was a lefty, like Hendrix, and just thought a bit differently.

But, today I was in my neighborhood bar/pub, which has an excellent juke box through a top notch sound system...I believe they have heavy duty Bose speakers in there...The bass, especially, comes out strong and beautifully.

Someone played 'I Saw Her Standing There': This was the first time I heard McCartney's bass line in all it's glory, and I first saw the Beatles perform it on Ed Sullivan's show back in 1964.

The bass line is incredible, and now, with the advances in mastering and enhancement technology, I really heard it for the first time...The Beatles live mixes were always extremely primitive: If people could have actually HEARD what Paul was playing on the bass on those songs back then, the world would have been stunned even more...His choice of notes, perfect rhythm (while he did the lead vocal) and performance were fantastic...I was amazed to really heard it as it was meant to be heard...When these records were originally released, the bass was always lost in the final mix, an afterthought.

Last week, someone in there played 'Get Off of My Cloud' by the Stones, and it was the same thing: you could hear Wyman's bass in all it's glory and feel the power of the rhythm section.

See, computer speaker suck for the most part, and even though the sound is digitally remastered, you need a really excellent system with woofers and tweeters to listen to music today.

Any serious music lover had a good hi-fi or stereo in 'the old days', but most have dead ears now from listening through computer systems.

18 May 2013
Candlestick Park
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15 August 2012
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It's nice to see one of the "deeper" threads get bumped.

Not to court controversy here, but in another thread we spoke of how certain medicinal plants cause the listener to focus primarily on the rhythm parts, especially the super-intricate bass lines.  

Paul's bass lines were tighter than most jazz players, and (in my own opinion) and the "Magic Bullet" to explain the greatness of the Beatles.  Listen to "You Never Give Me Your Money" or "Dear Prudence" and you'll see how Paul was doing things with bass lines that musicians are still trying to capture, 50 years later.


Oh.  My.  God.  It's been 50 years.  That's just sinking in.  50 years.  Half a century. 

E is for 'Ergent'.
18 May 2013
Candlestick Park
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15 August 2012
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And here's the criminally-underrated "Lovely Rita".  This bass cover shows just how intricate his bass lines could be.

E is for 'Ergent'.
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