Free Bass Transcriptions

Free Bass Transcriptions

Here come the dots

Category: Lessons

Rhythmic Displacement: Meshuggah’s ‘Do Not Look Down’

I have a confession to make: Although I have a deep appreciation of all things musical there’s one genre that I always come back to… metal. Proper metal. Played by…

I have a confession to make: Although I have a deep appreciation of all things musical there’s one genre that I always come back to… metal. Proper metal. Played by angry men with pointy guitars and beards; I was raised on classic rock (Led Zep, Sabbath, Deep Purple etc) and from there I spent my teens exploring the heavier end of the musical spectrum – I went through thrash metal (early Metallica/Megadeth), briefly delved into death metal (Carcass, Opeth, Children of Bodom) and even a had dubious metalcore phase before finding a handful of bands that made the sort of noise that really appealed to me…

One of those bands is Meshuggah.

This track caught my attention because it clearly highlights one of the band’s trademark writing techniques; the interwebs are littered with people asking ‘What time signature is this Meshuggah tune in?’. Whilst the majority of Meshuggah’s compositions sound as if they’re in odd time signatures the vast majority are in 4/4 – it just seems that the guitars have a healthy disregard for bar lines…

 

Djently Does It

The intro of ‘Do Not Look Down’ comprises of a unison guitar/bass figure that lasts for 17 quavers (or their equivalent) before repeating. When played over a drum part that in 4/4 this creates a shifting rhythmic effect where the accent at the start of the figure emphasises a different point in the bar each time it repeats.

The accent first falls on beat 1, then the ‘and’ of 1, then beat 2 etc. After 7 cycles we’re back to starting on beat 1 again. This could also be written as alternating bars of 4/4 and 9/8, or in the horrendous meter of 17/8, but what we’re really hearing is the effect of two different time signatures being played at the same time (i.e. polymetric playing)

The main purpose of this post is to highlight the concept of using polymetric devices to add a new dimension to compositions. This idea could easily be adapted to create basslines that use odd groupings of quavers (e.g. 5, 7 or 9) to create rhythmic tension when played over a drum part in 4/4.

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Lick Recycling, Pt.2

Continuing the previously aired topic of lick recycling, here’s another borrowed lick that gets a workout from two great fretless players, Jaco Pastorius and Pino Palladino. The phrase in question…

Continuing the previously aired topic of lick recycling, here’s another borrowed lick that gets a workout from two great fretless players, Jaco Pastorius and Pino Palladino.

The phrase in question originates in Igor Stravinsky’s ‘The Rite of Spring’, composed in 1913. Listen to the opening line played by the bassoon:

 

Fast forward to 1977, and Jaco’s phenomenal solo on Weather Report’s ‘Havona’. Listen out for the third phrase of Jaco’s solo (at 2:51) and you’ll hear the Stravinsky lick:

 

 

Another Jaco recording from the same year shows him borrowing the same lick from Stravinsky again, this time on Joni Mitchell’s ‘Talk To Me’. The third phrase of Jaco’s intro melody should be recognisable by now…

 

 

The next link is slightly more tenuous as it’s not a direct note-for-note insertion of the ‘Rite of Spring’ melody, but whenever I hear Pino Palladino’s opening melody on Paul Young’s ‘Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home)’ I can’t help but be reminded of the Stravinsky/Jaco phrase:

 

Here’s the transcription of the phrase in question, first Jaco’s lick from ‘Talk to Me’ (the line has been written down an octave for ease of reading):

 

Pino’s part from ‘Wherever I Lay My Hat’ shows similarities in both note choice and phrasing:

In fact, Pino admits the Stravinsky quote in this interview. I love his reaction to hearing the tune on the radio for the first time:

All the examples mentioned feature the lick in the context of a major chord, where it outlines a major 7 sound. It could be applied in other areas – play the lick in C against an F major chord and you’re instantly implying a Lydian (major 7#11) tonality.

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Lick Recycling, Part 1

Just a brief one this time as things have been rather busy of late in preparation for heading off to Norway tomorrow for a week of gigs with Jamie Abbott….

Just a brief one this time as things have been rather busy of late in preparation for heading off to Norway tomorrow for a week of gigs with Jamie Abbott. This is what happened when we went out there last September; hopefully, this one will feature more of the same (if you’re allergic to bass solos, stop watching at 2:45):

The real point of this post is to bring up the concept of recycling. There’s nothing new under the sun, and all players have ‘borrowed’ ideas from other musicians at some point. Sometimes this manifested in subtle ways, such as tone, phrasing or use of certain articulation that reflects the influence of another player. On other occasions, licks are transplanted in a ‘copy and paste’ fashion, which is what we have in the following transcriptions.

The first transcription is Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons ‘December ’63 (Oh What a Night!)’. Check out the Ab major lick just before the D.S:

 

 

Now take a look at the last four bars of the bridge of Cee Lo Green’s ‘Forget You’, featuring bass courtesy of Pino Palladino:

Notice something about the lick over the D7 chord in the third bar?

It’s pretty much a note-for-note reproduction of the ‘December ’63’ lick. Rumbled!

That’ll do for now, the next instalment will feature more lick recycling courtesy of Pino, Jaco Pastorius and Igor Stravinsky…

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One from the vaults

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any fresh transcriptions, so here’s Nate Mendel’s line from Foo Fighters ‘Learn To Fly’. There’s Nothing Left To Lose was one of my…

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any fresh transcriptions, so here’s Nate Mendel’s line from Foo Fighters ‘Learn To Fly’.

There’s Nothing Left To Lose was one of my favourite albums as a teenager, and although I don’t really think of Nate as having a massive influence on my playing he definitely has some great lines. ‘Stacked Actors’ has some great playing on it:

Anyway, here’s the part for ‘Learn To Fly’. Nothing too complicated going on… enjoy!

Foo Fighters – ‘Learn To Fly’ Bass Transcription

 

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