Bass Transcription: ABBA – Money, Money, Money

A strange concoction of baroque-infused disco, ‘Money, Money, Money’ was ABBA’s follow up single to ‘Dancing Queen’, both taken from the absurdly popular 1976 Arrival album. The track reached number one in eight countries, but was one of the few ABBA singles not to top the charts in the UK. As with the bulk of the band’s recorded output, the bass part on this track was conceived and played by Swedish bass ace Rutger Gunnarsson.

Confession time: This is my favourite ABBA song by a mile, mainly because of Rutger’s superlative bass playing; absolutely everything he plays is a hook of some sort.

Bass Transcription: ABBA – Money, Money, Money.pdf

Back to the main point of interest – the bass line. The bulk of the bass part in the verse and prechorus is comprised of constant 8th-note octaves, a disco bass playing staple. While parts like this might seem basic, there’s a subtle art to balancing the fretting and plucking hands during repetitive octave lines in order to make the articulation and volume of every single note consistent. Things get more interesting as the song progresses – the tempo and meter changes at the end of the prechorus can be tricky to navigate, so those bars might need more attention than others.

With regards to the multiple meter changes, I wrestled for a long time as to whether the bar before the chorus was a slightly rushed 5/4 or a laid-back 9/8. The first prechorus feels more like the former, while the second prechorus seems to be the latter; you may well disagree.

During the first eight bars of the chorus the bass mirrors the vocal both rhythmically and melodically before venturing off into new territory with some ear-grabbing slides. The re-intro that follows the chorus features Rutger doubling the tune’s signature melody; 16th-notes at 122bpm might take some practice (at least, they do for me).

As if this wasn’t enough, the last chorus is up a semitone in the nightmare key of Bb minor – watch out for all the flats!