4 February 2014
Thanks for enjoying the piece! I've tried to suggest the synchronous relationship by pairing Paul's development with Ringo's and saying as much. You won't get far if those two guys don't get along. Having said that, it's also true that a lot of guitarists claim that relationship with drummers, Keith Richards for example, and that comes back to rhythm chiefly. The way the bass and the drums can work together is their attention to the structure of the song, while both can in their own way augment what the guitars and vocals are doing, they have that job as well. It suited their style. Ringo was never going to play like a Mitchell or a Moon, Paul was never going to play like an Entwistle or a Bruce. The way they kept out of each other's way is as important to the songs working as their contributions to it, if that makes sense.
There were technological limitations but just as much a production philosophy limitation in the way people thought about mixing in those days. The Beatles wanted a more bass-heavy sound because they were hearing that on American records, don't forget. The British side of the time was very, very midrangey. By comparison, yes the bass was in there and driving, it just depends what you're comparing it to. I think it was improved by much less echo/reverb than everyone else was doing, that's usually a bass killer (as anyone who's played in a big hall with an under-strength or badly-placed PA will tell you). I think George Martin got away with a bit but "eased into" more bass. The second album sounds much better than the first, which was done in a day anyway. After all that, the bass tone, while good for driving a surfer song, was apt to be muddy unless carefully mixed. An interesting exercise is to compare Beatles production to The Rolling Stones or even the Yardbirds and see just how conventional those rhythm sections are mixed, as well as the bass sound they chose; those guys were still sounding the same in 1965! The Beatles were doing Day Tripper .
Makes perfect sense. Stay in your lane and you won't foul up traffic.
I like the bit on Richards; rhythm guitars are overlooked just as often, yet are so integral to the band's sound. IMO they're often the source of a band's sonic personality.
I'll have to Get Back into the collection and try that exercise. Thanks for your reply!
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5 February 2010