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What's your favourite Beatle bassline?
1 June 2010
8.45pm
Marcelo
Shea Stadium
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LOMAN said:

(…) And you can't write a song around a bassline, so when you compose a piece of music you've got alot of stuff to think about: chords, guitar riffs, drumlines, melodies, lyrics, etc.(…)
 


I don't think that's quite true. Many songs were composed around a bassline, maybe the most famous is Pink Floyd's "Money".
I'd like to say "thank you" on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we passed the audition. John Lennon
2 June 2010
3.31am
LOMAN
St Peters Church
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Marcelo said:

LOMAN said:

(…) And you can't write a song around a bassline, so when you compose a piece of music you've got alot of stuff to think about: chords, guitar riffs, drumlines, melodies, lyrics, etc.(…)
 


I don't think that's quite true. Many songs were composed around a bassline, maybe the most famous is Pink Floyd's "Money".

 

One guy can write a song around a bassline, but if you read the whole post you'll get the context of what was said: Paul focuses more on his basslines when that's all he has to worry about. If he wrote any songs around the bassline, he still normally wrote all the other parts just the same. A guitarist can bring in a riff or a chord structure and let the other musicians write their own parts. Guitar is generally a lead instrument and is played on top of everything else, not always, but normally. Bass can be played with the guitar or with the backbeat, it can harmonize with the lead vocal, it can be a lead instrument itself or it can simply hold down the root notes. It's easy to be given a riff or chord pattern and write a bassline. It's difficult to be given a bass section and write and lead section. It's considered a bit half-assed for a bassist to bring in a bassline and expect your bandmates to compose their own parts and complete the song. Plus, a guitarist can trust rythym parts to other musicians and not have to worry about it changing the feel of their song (other than the tempo) since they are playing the lead of the piece. As a bassist, you can't just write a bassline and then trust someone else to take the lead and risk something like having your song turned from a major-keyed upbeat composition to a minor-keyed downer which is something that a simple chord can do. You need chords to write a melody, and most bassists (including Paul) write their songs on a guitar or a piano before the bass is ever considered. Songs can be written around a bassline, but you can't have everyone playing the bassline!

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2 June 2010
4.22am
Celebrated_Mr_K
Ed Sullivan Show
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Most bass players simply follow the notes or melody of the lead guitar.  Paul did that a little, but he was more interested in actually composing music rather than following along.  He usually wouldn't even start playing the bass until the song was well hashed out.  Then he'd study it and develop a line that complemented or counter-pointed it. 

I love the bass playing throughout the Sgt. Pepper album.  Not just for the bassline, but the bass has a very distinctive sound on this album.  It almost sounds like Paul is plucking on a rubber band.

 

2 June 2010
5.16pm
GniknuS
Rain? I don't mind
Apple rooftop
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I was listening to The White Album and paying exclusive attention to Paul's bass, particularly on side two, and it's pretty interesting how good Paul's bass is on some tracks, but on others he almost disappears. For example, Birthday is one of my favorite bass lines, but I know that George is supposedly playing it. I've heard the Live In Toronto version of Yer Blues with Klaus Voorman on the bass recently and I was blown away by how good he was, and the truth is he completely blows Paul out of the water with his playing, at least on that version. On the other side of the argument, a track like Sexy Sadie has an absolutely great bass line, but I never really noticed it before. It was just interesting to listen to, but I guess when you have about 30 tracks or whatever it is on an album it's tough to have a really great bass line on all the tracks.

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4 June 2010
1.10am
PeterWeatherby
A Park in the Dark
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I would tend to agree with Loman.  When I wrote songs in my band, I always to concentrate on a lot of different elements: the lyrics, the melody, a catchy chorus, the chord progression, the backing vocals, etc.  There wasn't a lot of time to focus on writing a special guitar solo (I was the lead guitarist).  But when someone else in the band brought in a song, I had nothing to focus on but the guitar solo, and subsequently my guitar solos ended up being a lot more interesting on songs that I didn't write.

That was just my experience, though.  Paul may have had other reasons.

My favorite bass line is going to contradict my point, though.  I love the constant movement and complexity of the bass line in "All My Loving", and … that's Paul's song.  Second favorite would probably be "I Saw Her Standing There" because, again, that bass line is all over the place and constantly dancing … but, again, that's Paul's song.

So what have I proved? :)

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4 June 2010
4.26am
mithveaen
Sitarday's room
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Man I'm so jealous! I can tell apart one instrument from another but it's almost impossible for me to say "Oh this is the bass and this is the guitar!" They sound pretty much the same to me.

 

I guess there are some tutorials in youtube to play bass that I can use to learn the difference right? I mean to know what a bass sounds like…

Here comes the sun….. Scoobie-doobie…… Something in the way she moves…..attracts me like a cauliflower… Bop. Bop, cat bop. Go, Johnny, Go. Beware of Darkness…  I believe in SH...
4 June 2010
9.32am
Joe
Pepperland
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PeterWeatherby said:

Second favorite would probably be "I Saw Her Standing There" because, again, that bass line is all over the place and constantly dancing … but, again, that's Paul's song.


 

From Wikipedia:

"Here’s one example of a bit I pinched from someone: I used the bass riff from 'Talkin’ About You' by Chuck Berry in 'I Saw Her Standing There'. I played exactly the same notes as he did and it fitted our number perfectly. Even now, when I tell people, I find few of them believe me; therefore, I maintain that a bass riff hasn’t got to be original"

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11 June 2010
1.08am
Monkberry
A Beginning
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I agree with LOMAN…

When the bass is all he had to focus on the resulting bassline was…well…more focused. Seems pretty obvious to me!

Favorite basslines: I Want You (She's So Heavy), Don't Let Me Down, Taxman, Rain, and Oh! Darling

Can't pick one favorite anything when it comes to The Beatles! Five is the minimum… 

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11 June 2010
11.43am
JoB
Carnegie Hall
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Most definitley Hey Bulldog. I only really looked out for and listened for the bassline in that particular song because someone pointed it out to me…Not naming names…James…

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11 June 2010
11.49am
Paulrus
Rishikesh
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Well, as long as you're not naming names. a-hard-days-night-ringo-12

EDIT: Speaking of names, I've changed mine from Paul McCartney to Paulrus. Just so everyone knows it's me, ahaha.

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30 July 2010
2.10am
MeanMrsMustard
Nowhere Land
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Does the "dum, dum, dum, dum-dum" thing from "I Will" count?

If I seem to act unkind, it's only me, it's not my mind that is confusing things.

30 July 2010
3.17am
Paulrus
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Yeah, I suppose

Well, the Ukraine girls really knock me out  They leave the West behind 
30 July 2010
8.26pm
MeanMrsMustard
Nowhere Land
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If I seem to act unkind, it's only me, it's not my mind that is confusing things.

31 July 2010
2.03am
ochdeus
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Dear Prudence, and A Day In The Life because I always remember the first takes of the song and the bass line is very basic but it really evolved and it made the song better

31 July 2010
5.06pm
MrBig
Rapture, Atlantic Ocean
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It's hard to say between Something and Old Brown Shoe.

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8 August 2010
6.21pm
Bjway
On The Hill
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hmm hard to pick.. I also like Something and Old Brown Shoe, Rain and Taxman are also good

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10 August 2010
8.15pm
Marcelo
Shea Stadium
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Celebrated_Mr_K said:

Most bass players simply follow the notes or melody of the lead guitar.  Paul did that a little, but he was more interested in actually composing music rather than following along.  He usually wouldn't even start playing the bass until the song was well hashed out.  Then he'd study it and develop a line that complemented or counter-pointed it. 

I love the bass playing throughout the Sgt. Pepper album.  Not just for the bassline, but the bass has a very distinctive sound on this album.  It almost sounds like Paul is plucking on a rubber band.

 


Yes! Plucking a rubber band! LOL

I totally agree. How did he do to sound like this?

I'd like to say "thank you" on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we passed the audition. John Lennon
22 February 2011
1.04pm
yellowlorryslow
A Beginning
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Gosh, it's too hard to choose! But I've always loved the bassline of "Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey" and "Baby, You're A Rich Man"

22 February 2011
1.50pm
Zig
The Toppermost of the Poppermost
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I think we now have 2 of these bassline threads going but this is the original?

Anyway, last week on the other thread, a few of you mentioned the excellent bass playing on Abbey Road. I listened to it Friday night and focused on the basslines. I have to agree, it is some of Paul's best work. I was particularly pleased with the bass on Something (some of you mentioned this one in particular). I had heard that song at least a gazillion-and-three times but never really paid attention to the bass. It was stunning to me how a traditionally "loud" instrument (at least to me anyway) could sound so pleasing on such a soft song.

So now this is reason number 5,785,338 why I love this site – thanks to hearing all these songs again through all of your ears, I get to enjoy them for the first time all over again.

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22 February 2011
2.03pm
yellowlorryslow
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The bassline on "Something" is really something.. For me, that bassline is what actually drives the song more than any other instrument. It makes me want to learn how to play bass. And there's a clip of someone covering that bass on YouTube pretty close to how Paul played it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..2GmuxB35vM

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