Creative Genius of Paul McCartney’s Bass Lines

 
       
 
Jun 13, 2017, 05:12 PM

Some technical discussion, but interesting observations on the composer’s bass-line contribution to the arrangements.

http://blog.discmakers.com/2016/03/creative-genius-of-paul-mccartneys-bass-lines/?utm_campaign=EA1723&utm_source=DMAudio&utm_medium=Email&spMailingID=54220841&spUserID=MjcwMjk0NzU3S0&spJobID=1181004714&spReportId=MTE4MTAwNDcxNAS2

There will always be another song to be written. Someone will write it. Why not you? http://www.garyeandrews.com

 
     
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Gary E. Andrews Joined Apr 12, 2005
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Jul 14, 2017, 04:00 AM

Well, I started playing Bass when I was 15, so took some lessions. At this time I was obsessed with Heavy Metal and stuff…

My teacher always made me to “analyze” the bass-lines of Bands… so we did something like AC/DC, Metallica, Iron Maiden and so..I remember I brought a song to one of the lessions… it was Iron Maidens “Look for the truth” and I told my teacher: “Wow, that´s the best bass line I could ever think of…”... gosh, I was naiv…

After a couple of month my teacher brought some lead sheets of the bass parts Paul McCartney was playing…. I was like… “Ha, Beatles….... ” but when I started to listen more closely I realised… they sound brilliant… and really make a difference ... I was trying to play some of Pauls parts… first I was like “never gonna learn this”... but eventually I got them… the difference was, that Paul never really played Bass like a bass player would do, but like a musician briliant!  ....

And ... ya know, generally a bass player is used to play the bass with two fingers (2nd and 3rd finger… for the rythem) .. Paul did never play this way. He used only his thumb…

Many musicians of this time - who were not “trained bass players” did this. Paul was a guitar Player, who took over the bass. Brian Wilson was a piano player and took over the bass. Both played the bass (“the rhythem”) only with the thumb… I don´t know if they did it to achieve a certain sound - but it could also be possible, they did it for not knowing any better…

[ Edited: 14 July 2017 05:24 PM by Martin G]

...every once in a while, I get in the mood or so…and start to play..

http://www.songcycle.org

 
     
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Martin G Joined May 27, 2009
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Jul 14, 2017, 10:31 AM

Fascinating! Self-taught, they used their thumb, and perhaps were more attentive to Melody, enabling them to ‘fit’ bass lines more precisely, not simply to the key, but to the arrangement of that particular Song in that key.

Ringo Starr’s drumming is more nuanced with The Beatles than in his solo work. There was possibly some direction from George Martin and consultation from the other Beatles to get that effect. Or perhaps the Songs themselves inspired the nuance.

There will always be another song to be written. Someone will write it. Why not you? http://www.garyeandrews.com

 
     
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Gary E. Andrews Joined Apr 12, 2005
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Jul 14, 2017, 05:49 PM
Gary E. Andrews - 14 July 2017 10:31 AM

Ringo Starr’s drumming is more nuanced with The Beatles than in his solo work. There was possibly some direction from George Martin and consultation from the other Beatles to get that effect. Or perhaps the Songs themselves inspired the nuance.

I forgot to mention two things :). You know my English is not the best, and hope it´s possible to guess what I am trying to explain :(...


The Beatles had two “left-hander” in their group. Paul and Ringo. While in Hamburg, Paul took over the spot as bass player and had to play a “right-hand-bass” (the old bass Stuart-Sutcliff used to play)... Paul played it “upside down”... but while still in Hamburg,  he started looking for a bass with better Quality…  and bought himself a Höfner 501, manufactured in Germany. it is reported, that no left-hander-bass was available by this time - so Paul bought a right-hand-bass and continued playing upside down… maybe that´s another reason, why his playing style was “unique”...

Ringo is a left-hander too, he used to play on a drum-kid for right handers.
Well, we all know - a “typical” right hander would play the snare drum with his weaker left hand and the high hat- which is placed left of the drummer, with the stronger right hand. The Drummer can achieve this by Holding the arms “crosswise” ... the main advantage of this playing style is, that the left hand can always stay on the snare drum, the right hand can “move around” and play the high-hat, Toms, Cymbals and so on…. Ringo played the high-hat with his left hand and the snare with the right hand, so he could never move around so quickly…

For a left hander, playing on a right-hander-kit… well,  there are some limitations as you can guess.. ... he compensated by finding his own, unique drum style…


Edit:
Non of the Beatles were “trained” musicians. They did not know how to read sheet notes. Non of them had a “classical”-music education. Non of them even read a songwriting book on “how to write a hit song”... no. Even their style of singing - sharing lead vocals/singing in harmonies was not to make the sound deeper or better. It “happened” to them. They started doin this in Hamburg… they used to play there every night, sometimes they had to play 2 or 3 sets per night. They devoloped their singing style during this time ... because singing the songs with one vocalist would have been tooooo hard… so they decided it would be less-stressful, if they start sharing the lead vocals on the songs/or singing it in harmony with 2 or 3 vocals…

So - George Martin, who became the Beatles Producer, WAS classicly trained. He was the one who developed the sound of the Beatles and helped them to “outwork” their ideas into brilliant songs. So for sure, you have to give Sir George Martin a big credit…

[ Edited: 15 July 2017 01:40 PM by Martin G]

...every once in a while, I get in the mood or so…and start to play..

http://www.songcycle.org

 
     
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Martin G Joined May 27, 2009
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Jul 24, 2017, 06:20 PM

I find myself playing a lot with my thumb as well, particularly when palm muting. I am also “trained” but mainly self taught. Thumb sounds so good sometimes.

Martin G - 14 July 2017 05:49 PM
Gary E. Andrews - 14 July 2017 10:31 AM

Ringo Starr’s drumming is more nuanced with The Beatles than in his solo work. There was possibly some direction from George Martin and consultation from the other Beatles to get that effect. Or perhaps the Songs themselves inspired the nuance.

I forgot to mention two things :). You know my English is not the best, and hope it´s possible to guess what I am trying to explain :(...


The Beatles had two “left-hander” in their group. Paul and Ringo. While in Hamburg, Paul took over the spot as bass player and had to play a “right-hand-bass” (the old bass Stuart-Sutcliff used to play)... Paul played it “upside down”... but while still in Hamburg,  he started looking for a bass with better Quality…  and bought himself a Höfner 501, manufactured in Germany. it is reported, that no left-hander-bass was available by this time - so Paul bought a right-hand-bass and continued playing upside down… maybe that´s another reason, why his playing style was “unique”...

Ringo is a left-hander too, he used to play on a drum-kid for right handers.
Well, we all know - a “typical” right hander would play the snare drum with his weaker left hand and the high hat- which is placed left of the drummer, with the stronger right hand. The Drummer can achieve this by Holding the arms “crosswise” ... the main advantage of this playing style is, that the left hand can always stay on the snare drum, the right hand can “move around” and play the high-hat, Toms, Cymbals and so on…. Ringo played the high-hat with his left hand and the snare with the right hand, so he could never move around so quickly…

For a left hander, playing on a right-hander-kit… well,  there are some limitations as you can guess.. ... he compensated by finding his own, unique drum style…


Edit:
Non of the Beatles were “trained” musicians. They did not know how to read sheet notes. Non of them had a “classical”-music education. Non of them even read a songwriting book on “how to write a hit song”... no. Even their style of singing - sharing lead vocals/singing in harmonies was not to make the sound deeper or better. It “happened” to them. They started doin this in Hamburg… they used to play there every night, sometimes they had to play 2 or 3 sets per night. They devoloped their singing style during this time ... because singing the songs with one vocalist would have been tooooo hard… so they decided it would be less-stressful, if they start sharing the lead vocals on the songs/or singing it in harmony with 2 or 3 vocals…

So - George Martin, who became the Beatles Producer, WAS classicly trained. He was the one who developed the sound of the Beatles and helped them to “outwork” their ideas into brilliant songs. So for sure, you have to give Sir George Martin a big credit…

 
     
Ted Gould Joined Jul 23, 2017
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