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Tag: Fender

Groove Of The Week #9: Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band – ‘Express Yourself’

Melvin Dunlap’s part on Charles Wright’s classic funk hit ‘Express Yourself’ is a bass line that everyone should know: View this post on Instagram Groove Of The Week #9: Charles…

Melvin Dunlap’s part on Charles Wright’s classic funk hit ‘Express Yourself’ is a bass line that everyone should know:

The syncopated groove sits squarely in Eb major and fits nicely in one position:

Charles Wright - Express Yourself copy

Got A Groove Request? Let Me Know!

If there’s a bass line that you love but have never got round to learning then let me know by commenting on this post – it could be a classic groove or a song that you feel deserves wider recognition from the bass playing world.

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Groove Of The Week #6: Me’Shell Ndegéocello – ‘The Way’

This groove easily makes it into my top 10 bass lines of all time. If you’re a bassist who wants to groove and you haven’t checked out Me’shell’s records then…

This groove easily makes it into my top 10 bass lines of all time. If you’re a bassist who wants to groove and you haven’t checked out Me’shell’s records then you’re missing out.

In fact, stop reading this right now and treat yourself to Plantation Lullabies and Peace Beyond Passion. You can thank me later.

Here’s how it looks written out:

 

I’ve spent a lot of time transcribing Me’shell’s lines – almost every song from her first 2 albums has at least one groove that I just had to learn. ‘The Way’ is a good introduction to Me’shell’s playing, featuring sixteenth note syncopation and a range of articulations – many of her lines are all about the feel, and luckily this one sits right on the beat (skip ahead to GOTW 50 if you want to attempt a Me’shell line with a more challenging time feel…).

 

 

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Groove Of The Week #3 – Curtis Mayfield ‘Move On Up’

This week’s groove is all about one of the essential tenets of bass playing: consistency Want a challenge? Try playing the syncopated,hypnotic bass line from Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Move On Up’…

This week’s groove is all about one of the essential tenets of bass playing: consistency

Want a challenge? Try playing the syncopated,hypnotic bass line from Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Move On Up’ for 5 minutes straight whilst maintaining consistent articulation, note length and dynamic level. Harder than it sounds, right?

Curtis Mayfield Move On Up

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Fret less, Say More

Last year I got a call to play some bass on some tracks for Records On Ribs artist Talk Less Say More. The plan was to make a record with…

Last year I got a call to play some bass on some tracks for Records On Ribs artist Talk Less Say More. The plan was to make a record with a decidedly 80s feel, which meant that I got to stretch out and take some risks doing things that I don’t usually do as part of my ‘day job’. I seem to remember the conversation going something like this:

“It’d be great to have some fretless bass. Do you have a fretless bass?”

“No…”

“Oh ok… Do you play fretless at all?”

“Sorry, I’ve never played fretless…”

“Ok no problem, we’ll hire you a fretless. It’ll be fine.”

In almost 15 years of playing this was the first time I’d had someone ask for fretless. So, the night before the session I take delivery of an unlined Fender P/J and do my best to get my fingers (and ears) around it.

 

 

On the day I tried to channel the spirit of Pino Palladino/Jaco/Bakithi Kumalo and other fretless players that I’d grown up listening to. Here’s how some of it turned out:

 

 

 

 

So, did the experience persuade me to take the plunge and go fretless? In a word, no.

In spite of the fact that I really enjoyed the session I don’t feel that fretless fits with my ‘voice’ as a bassist – although I’m heavily influenced by fretless players I’m sure if I made the switch then I’d end up sounding even more like a sub-par Jaco or Pino clone.

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Panic Stations! (or, the perils of lending gear)

I recently got a call from a fellow bassist asking if he could borrow a bass for a recording, on the basis that he needed something with a bit more…

I recently got a call from a fellow bassist asking if he could borrow a bass for a recording, on the basis that he needed something with a bit more ‘grunt’ than his jazz bass. As I’ve known the guy for a good few years (we regularly cover for each other if one of us is double-booked) I agreed – I was actually quite flattered to have gear that is deemed desirable by other players. I dropped the bass off with him and went on my way…

On the night after the session, I get a call from said friend. I duly ask how the recording went and how the bass sounded. This is the response I get:

“Well, that’s actually why I’m calling… I didn’t use the bass in the end because I somehow managed to leave it on a train…”

For a second I thought I’d somehow misheard him, but no. He left it on a train.

He offers to stump up the money for a new bass if mine doesn’t get recovered. It’s worth mentioning at this point that the bass in question is a 1980s Japanese Fender Precision, so not the easiest thing to replace. Since I bought it (for a very reasonable price) a year ago it’s become my main gigging bass for all occasions.

So, after much apologising by my friend it turns out that the bass was left on a Friday evening train heading into London. He’s tried to get in touch with the lost property office but they’re shut for the weekend. Cue what feels like the longest two days ever waiting for Monday morning to come around.

7.30am Monday and I’m waiting for news on the bass. It transpires that there’s a backlog in lost property and I won’t find out if my bass has been found until the next day. Cue much swearing and speculative searches of eBay/Gumtree to see if anyone’s nicked it and is trying to make a quick sale.

Tuesday I’m in a studio recording some Motown stuff (I can’t think of a date when an old P-bass would be more appropriate, but such is life.) When tracking is done I leave the studio and turn on my phone… I soon get a phone call from my friend informing me that the P-bass was safe and sound and that he was on the way to pick it up for me. Cue massive relief, no more sleepless nights and (marginally) less hair loss.

All this leads me to the following question: Should I refuse to lend out gear in the future? Quite probably.

Anyway, rant over.

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