Free Bass Transcriptions

Free Bass Transcriptions

Here come the dots

Author: Tom Kenrick

Groove Of The Week #40: Tower of Power – Maybe It’ll Rub Off

Francis ‘Rocco’ Prestia’s unshakeable semiquavers have been the foundation of Tower Of Power for almost 50 years (that’s an awful lot of notes…). Along with drummer David Garibaldi, Rocco has…

Francis ‘Rocco’ Prestia’s unshakeable semiquavers have been the foundation of Tower Of Power for almost 50 years (that’s an awful lot of notes…). Along with drummer David Garibaldi, Rocco has been a mainstay of funk’s most celebrated rhythm sections, providing the backbone to ToP’s signature grooves including ‘Soul Vaccination’, ‘What Is Hip?’, ‘Soul With A Capital ‘S” and ‘There’s Only So Much Oil In The Ground’.

I felt like it would be criminal to run a series of posts about groove without including at least one of Rocco’s lines, but I was determined not to go for the obvious choices. ‘Maybe It’ll Rub Off’ (from 1975’s Urban Renewal) revolves around an ear-catching unison riff which features plenty of Rocco’s famously tight 16th-note playing:

The bass line on ‘Maybe It’ll Rub Off’ requires a fair amount of technical control to execute with authority; semiquavers at 111bpm isn’t too horrific given that the ‘question and answer’ nature of the riff provides plenty of opportunities for your fingers to recover. On a nuts and bolts level, the notes fall into the classic minor pentatonic box pattern (albeit with a small position shift and some chromatic passing tones thrown in to add some colour). Getting from the extremely high register fill back to a low F in time requires some acrobatics unless your bass is blessed with a multitude of extra strings; if you’re the owner of a 4-string bass with 20 or 21 frets then you’ll have to skip this (or play the high notes using artificial harmonics, a la Gary Willis…). 

For those of you who are interested in finding out more about Rocco’s signature semiquaver style there’s a very informative (and relatively comical) instructional video by the man himself:

I seem to remember that the original VHS had a blooper reel included. Unfortunately, this seems to have been clipped from the YouTube upload. For shame.

No Comments on Groove Of The Week #40: Tower of Power – Maybe It’ll Rub Off

Groove Of The Week #39: Incognito – ‘Talkin’ Loud’

From Basses to Buses – Wear Your Damn Earplugs – Time Management It’s 2017 and I’m still way behind on this damn project. Here’s Randy Hope-Taylor’s excellent part on Incognito’s…

From Basses to Buses – Wear Your Damn Earplugs – Time Management

It’s 2017 and I’m still way behind on this damn project. Here’s Randy Hope-Taylor’s excellent part on Incognito’s ‘Talkin’ Loud’:

I hear a clear hat-tip to one Francis Rocco Prestia (with a hint of Jaco’s ‘Come On, Come Over’ groove thrown in). The tempo isn’t bright enough to make the syncopated semiquaver line too troublesome, although shifting up and down the neck in time to grab the high-register double stops might take some practise. 

Here are the dots:

incognito-talkinloud

I didn’t discover Incognito until the age of 19 when I was introduced to the ‘Tribes, Scribes & Vibes’ album by one of my tutors. Randy Hope-Taylor’s superlative playing on this (and other) Incognito albums definitely had a profound effect on me. Rumour has it that Randy has been known to drive London buses from time to time…

 

Now Hear This

A few weeks ago I bit the bullet and got my hearing tested. While I’ve always tried to be diligent about wearing earplugs at gigs and rehearsals I still find that my tinnitus is noticeable and it isn’t getting any better. Here’s what almost 17 years of live music look like:

img_3685

If you work as a musician in the UK then you might be eligible for the Musician’s Hearing Health Scheme which allows you to have a hearing test and custom moulded earplugs for £40 (instead of the usual £170).

 

It’s About Time

In the nebulous wasteland between Christmas and New Year, I always fall into the trap of looking back over the previous 12 months and fixating on all the things that I still haven’t managed to achieve, then resolving that next year will somehow be different and I’ll get everything done.

Time management is something that I have always struggled with, and this video really hit home:

If you’re not familiar with Bob Reynolds (either his music or his vlog) then I’d highly recommend becoming thoroughly acquainted with both.

 

 

 

No Comments on Groove Of The Week #39: Incognito – ‘Talkin’ Loud’

Groove Of The Week #38: Esperanza Spalding – ‘Funk The Fear’

Esperanza’s Chromatic Odyssey – Getting In The Festive Spirit   Here’s a funky finger-twister from one of my favourite bassists, Esperanza Spalding: Here's a 12-tone finger twister from Esperanza Spalding:…

Esperanza’s Chromatic Odyssey – Getting In The Festive Spirit

 

Here’s a funky finger-twister from one of my favourite bassists, Esperanza Spalding:

 

If you take a look at the dots you’ll notice that it contains all 12 pitches from the chromatic scale:

esperanza-spalding-funk-the-fear

 

Normally the preserve of modern classical composers, 12-tone serialism gets a modern reworking here thanks to Esperanza. Although some of the note choices are decidedly more ‘out there’ than most funk bass grooves, there are some elements that feature in numerous classic funk lines; the use of octave motifs and chromatic approaches with the percolating semiquaver rhythm lend an air of familiarity to an otherwise otherworldly groove. 

‘Emily’s D+Evolution’ is packed full of interesting harmonic twists such as this, mixed with melodies that betray a pop sensibility and (of course) groove-laden bass playing.

 

‘Tis The Season

Sleigh bells. Compound time. Choirs of children. Weird non-diatonic chord progressions.

These are a few of the hallmarks of the Christmas hits that rear their ugly heads at this time of year.

In previous years I’ve told myself that I’ll write them down to avoid having to re-learn them next Christmas, and having recently endured the horror of listening to them again I’ve finally started putting together charts for the usual Christmas suspects.

Here are the first two:

Slade – Merry Xmas Everybody

Shakin’ Stevens – Merry Christmas Everyone

 

No Comments on Groove Of The Week #38: Esperanza Spalding – ‘Funk The Fear’

Groove of The Week #37: Sly Stone – ‘I Get High On You’

What Were You Doing At 16? – The Humble Brag – Doing The Work   Cast your mind back to when you were 16. What were you doing? (musically, I…

What Were You Doing At 16? – The Humble Brag – Doing The Work

 

Cast your mind back to when you were 16. What were you doing? (musically, I mean…)

I was probably trying to learn Cliff Burton’s ‘Anaesthesia (Pulling Teeth)’ solo from some TABs that I’d found on Activebass.com (oh, how times change). 

I certainly wasn’t casually recording some unbearably funky picked bass with Sly Stone. But then again, I’m not Bobby Vega.

 

 

Here’s the transcription of teenage Bob’s groove on ‘I Get High On You’:

sly-stone-i-get-high-on-you

 

 

Sixteen years old. Just let that sink in.

(now is probably as good a time as any to do some practice, no?)

 

Doing It Properly (For Self-Preservation)

A couple of weeks ago I found myself depping with a function band who were playing at a charity event. I got an email in the week before the gig informing me that the guest of honour would be (Madness frontman) Graham ‘Suggs’ McPherson.

(non-UK readers: Madness were a popular ska band in the 1980s. Apparently, they hold the record for most time spent in the UK singles charts from 1980-86. Thanks, Wikipedia)

Three tracks to prepare, no rehearsal, no discussion with Mr Suggs about arrangements. I’ll confess now that I spent way more time on those 3 songs than I’ve ever done on learning a First Dance for a wedding gig – not because I’m a big fan of Madness or I was expecting Suggs to turn around and offer me a gig at the end of it, but because the music deserved my time and my respect. You get out what you put in, it seems.

Performing hit songs with the person that wrote them was definitely a nerve-wracking experience but also hugely rewarding.

Here’s how the gig looked:

Charts of the aforementioned Madness tunes will appear shortly.

And no, sunglasses indoors were not my choice. I’m not that unbearable. Yet.

 

Doing It Properly (For Self-Perfection)

Enough with the clanging already, back to reality.

Sometimes opportunities come up that are extremely time-consuming and have little or no financial reward but are deeply fulfilling on a musical level.

If you’ve spent enough time on this blog you’ll know I’m a massive Wayne Krantz fanboy, so it’ll come as no surprise that when I was offered the chance to work on a project involving his material I wanted to get it right.

Cue lots of saturated listening to the original recording and live bootlegs and lots of swearing trying to figure out what the hell Lincoln Goines was up to.

And lots of coffee.

I even wrote out the dots by hand to aid memorisation of the part. Here’s the first page of scribbling:

img_3636

 

A few days before the session Wayne actually released the score for this tune. Sure, it would’ve saved me lots of hours if I’d had his chart in the first place, but I would have missed out on the process.

Here’s how it turned out. Makes a change from playing Lionel Richie on a Saturday night, that’s for sure:

 

No Comments on Groove of The Week #37: Sly Stone – ‘I Get High On You’

Type on the field below and hit Enter/Return to search