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What's your favourite Beatle bassline?
11 June 2017
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The Hippie Chick
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11 June 2017
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ewe2 said

Pineapple Records said
I just listened to Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! and couldn’t hear bass chords at the beginning.

It’s almost impossible to hear, particularly on the new remix, but they are there when the bass is isolated:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?…..b4NGc9FpV4

Right at the beginning, which is almost impossible to play along with! It’s also clearly heard in Anthology 2 from Take 1 so not an afterthought either. Unrelated note: why did we get Take 7 again on the new Sgt Pepper ‘s 50th?

 

I noticed that too about She Came In Through The Bathroom Window and Cry Baby Cry , and I note that in general in many songs over the years, Paul is good about putting a variance in when he will repeat something, whether a chorus or a riff or something (whereas most other pop musicians it seems feel bound to repeat formulas exactly throughout the song).  

To be fair, it’s something bassists argue about. Kim Deal, who I admire immensely, is utterly implacable about playing the simple line without embellishment, and regards variance as a form of egotism. And her music (and that of the Pixies) relies on that simplicity for its effect. I’ve never heard Tina Weymouth say anything similar, but she seems to echo that philosophy in her style. Sting’s basslines are deceptively simple and repetitive. Sir Horace Gentleman does vary things a tiny bit but usually sticks to the plan, as does Colin Moulding.

But on the other hand many players, especially the great session players, all have that way of putting interesting variance and always in the service of the song. Some bassist think like songwriters, and some don’t. I’m a huge fan of Tony Levin, who is a master of this art and the criminally unsung George Murray, who played some monster lines for some of Bowie’s greatest albums.  

Thanks for the audio of Paul’s bass.  I can barely hear what you call “bass chords” — but I think it’s only two notes (two strings) together, not full chords.  Maybe a triad, but I doubt it.

That’s interesting about Kim Deal (never heard of him or her) being so staunch about simple bass lines.  Actually, what makes Paul a unique bassist in my opinion is that he obviously can appreciate BOTH the simple bass line, AND the cool flourishes — and (like the old Alcoholics Anonymous mantra), he knows when the simple bass line is called for, and when the flourishes are called for (“the wisdom to tell the difference”).  Sometimes he does this in one and the same song (I’ll have to think about specific examples…).

One bassist out there who is almost extremely into the flourishes is the great funk bassist Paul Jackson, but he’s so good, is why I consider him to be the best of all (listen to his bass work on the song “Actual Proof” on the Herbie Hancock album Thrust).

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11 June 2017
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ewe2
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Pineapple Records said

Thanks for the audio of Paul’s bass.  I can barely hear what you call “bass chords” — but I think it’s only two notes (two strings) together, not full chords.  Maybe a triad, but I doubt it.

Two are enough for a bass chord. There are three and four note bass chords, rarely heard outside prog rock and metal. Two-note chords abound in pop and funk. The most common one is a 7th with the root sometimes as a third note but mostly implied. The implication of full chords is important in pop/funk because it doesn’t overdo it in those genres. Take a song like Christine by Siouxie and the Banshees, that’s all two-note chords and that defines the song.

That’s interesting about Kim Deal (never heard of him or her) being so staunch about simple bass lines.  Actually, what makes Paul a unique bassist in my opinion is that he obviously can appreciate BOTH the simple bass line, AND the cool flourishes — and (like the old Alcoholics Anonymous mantra), he knows when the simple bass line is called for, and when the flourishes are called for (“the wisdom to tell the difference”).  Sometimes he does this in one and the same song (I’ll have to think about specific examples…).

Kim is a her, apologies. I couldn’t find the youtube clip I referred to but there is this interview where there’s more than enough description of her approach. It’s like she says for most styles, the bass is glue and you’re obscuring the song if you go much further. With Paul I think I Want You (She’s So Heavy) is a good example of keeping a basic line (with a little variance), breaking out for that pre-chorus bass fill, and then going nuts on the rills for the long coda.

One bassist out there who is almost extremely into the flourishes is the great funk bassist Paul Jackson, but he’s so good, is why I consider him to be the best of all (listen to his bass work on the song “Actual Proof” on the Herbie Hancock album Thrust).  

Yeah that’s fusion though, if you’re not playing nth-dimension chess with bass in that field you won’t stand out at all 😀

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I'm like Necko only I'm a bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin and also everyone. Or is everyone me? Now I'm a confused bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin everyone who is definitely not @Joe.  This has been true for 2016 & 2017 Sig-Badge.png but I may have to get more specific in the future.

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12 June 2017
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Another really good one is Penny Lane , the bass in that song really seems to drive it and it’s one of those rare songs where the bass is easier to hear than the guitar.

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12 June 2017
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12 June 2017
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 Extremely difficult… the first songs that came to my head were Taxman and I Want You (She’s So Heavy) though.

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12 June 2017
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Just a few off the top of my head:

I Want You (She’s So Heavy)

Old Brown Shoe

Taxman

I Want To Tell You

Something

Lady Madonna

Hey Bulldog

The Word

Come Together

There’s many others but these ones come to mind first so I would say that they are my favourites. 

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13 June 2017
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I really like the bass parts to Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da and Drive My Car because there’s a guitar doubling the bass in both of those songs which although i hate it when other bands do it, i love it when The Beatles do it because instead of the bass doubling the guitar riff, it’s the guitar doubling the bass riff.

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14 June 2017
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Dark Overlord said
I really like the bass parts to Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da and Drive My Car because there’s a guitar doubling the bass in both of those songs which although i hate it when other bands do it, i love it when The Beatles do it because instead of the bass doubling the guitar riff, it’s the guitar doubling the bass riff.  

Those are great examples of riffy bass, and really *good* riffs. Neither are easy to play: Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da is a bassists marathon, I rate it harder than Old Brown Shoe Drive My Car isn’t simple either, McCartney varies the F# chorus riff and it can catch you out, but mainly it’s getting your speed up to hit the A riff and back up to the E riff cleanly and jumping into the chorus.

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I'm like Necko only I'm a bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin and also everyone. Or is everyone me? Now I'm a confused bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin everyone who is definitely not @Joe.  This has been true for 2016 & 2017 Sig-Badge.png but I may have to get more specific in the future.

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14 June 2017
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It may not be true because i’m very experienced at playing guitar, but i think both of those riffs are easy. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da is very easy for me to play, it’s just the root then you go from the second and hammer on to the third and then hit the fifth on the following string for the most part. As for Drive My Car , that one is a little harder but once you get used to it, it’ll be easier.

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14 June 2017
11.41am
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Dark Overlord said
As for Drive My Car , that one is a little harder but once you get used to it, it’ll be easier.  

For some reason I was thinking of Day Tripper and not Drive My Car , and what is simple on guitar isn’t necessarily so on bass. But the two songs are great riffs and are similar in the guitar/bass doubling. 

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I'm like Necko only I'm a bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin and also everyone. Or is everyone me? Now I'm a confused bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin everyone who is definitely not @Joe.  This has been true for 2016 & 2017 Sig-Badge.png but I may have to get more specific in the future.

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14 June 2017
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I forgot to mention The Ballad Of John And Yoko . I love the bass on that song.

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21 December 2017
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Currently, my favourite Beatles bassline is the one of Cry Baby Cry . I really love how it is different in every chorus and verse. The syncopations that go along with the words ‘Painting pictures for the children’s’ holiday’ are especially amazing. All those slides in the last verse are fantastic as well.

Not once does the diversity seem forced -- the genius of the record is how the vaudevillian "When I'm 64" seems like a logical extension of "Within You Without You" and how it provides a gateway to the chiming guitars of "Lovely Rita. - Stephen T. Erlewine on Sgt Pepper's

21 December 2017
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Currently, I’d say Nowhere Man , ’cause I just recently discovered its existence. a-hard-days-night-john-6


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22 December 2017
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Good topic, since I particularly relish good bass playing. To me, “good” bass playing involves a combination of talented flair + satisfying appropriateness for the song.  So my choice for “favorite” would be …  Mean Mr. Mustard. 

(Two caveats: If I thought about it more, I might come up with other better candidates; and my choice doesn’t mean there aren’t dozens of other Beatles songs with basslines I love.)

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22 December 2017
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I love watching his fingers during live performances of Silly Love Songs. So impressive to play that bassline and sing that vocal at the same time. 

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22 December 2017
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He made everything look easy at that gig didn’t he a-hard-days-night-paul-7 I was still blown away by Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite ! it’s not just a great bassline, he can actually play that and sing the song. Although I wish he could have done this one:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?…..0g78HcaO1I

 

Brian is playing some very weird version of the song there, but that’s the great thing about it! a-hard-days-night-paul-11

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22 December 2017
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I’d probably say Helter Skelter. John plays a damn good bass if I say so myself!

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22 December 2017
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Ooo, I forgot I Want You (She’s So Heavy).

“While I will admit to a certain cynicism, the fact is that I’m a naysayer and hatchet man in the fight against violence. I pride myself in taking a punch and I’ll gladly take another - because I choose to live my life in the company of Ghandi and King. My concerns are global. I reject absolutely revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love. I love you, Sheriff Truman.”

 

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