Bass Transcription: Vulfpeck – ‘Adrienne & Adrianne’

Vulfpeck Adrienne bass solo

Here’s an early slice of Vulfpeck featuring a short but sweet solo from Joe Dart. ‘Adrienne & Adrianne’ is taken from the band’s second E.P. Vollmilch (2012), which helped to solidify their status as one of the music industry’s true viral success stories. In the two years following the release of Vulfpeck’s first single, ‘Beastly’, the band’s fanbase had grown exponentially thanks to videos shared on social media, and their high level of musicianship was also starting to attract critical acclaim, with Joe Dart’s name appearing in No Treble’s list of favourite bassists of 2013.

It’s easy to hear why the band (and their bassist) are so popular – I challenge you to listen to the first 20 seconds of ‘Adrienne & Adrianne’ without nodding your head, tapping your foot, or starting to play air bass. Vulfpeck’s sense of groove and enthusiasm is infectious, and it provides many listeners with a much-needed DIY alternative to the overly polished and sterile offerings of many major label acts. This tune draws heavily on classic bands like The Meters, using sparse instrumentation and syncopated 16th note figures played in unison.

I transcribed this for one of my students, who was working on it with his band. As such, there are two versions of the chart provided here:

  • A full, note-for-note transcription of Joe Dart’s bassline (including the bass solo):

Vulfpeck – ‘Adrienne & Adrianne’ bass transcription.pdf (note-for-note)

  • A ‘sections only’ lead sheet for people who want to play the main parts, but might want to work on the tune with other musicians and improvise their own solo:

Vulfpeck – ‘Adrienne & Adrianne’ bass LEAD SHEET.pdf (sections only)

‘Adrienne & Adrianne’ Transcription Performance Notes

Here are some things that I found useful when working through the transcription:

  • There are lots of possible locations and fingerings for both the A and B sections, so try and work out as many as you can and go with the one that sounds best to your ears.
  • Joe’s articulation changes a lot as the song progresses, and he’s not always consistent in his note length when sections get repeated – I did my best to capture what he played, but some staccato notes may have slipped through the net.
  • When it comes to the bass solo, being able to play it note-for-note at tempo is a great party trick, but that’s all it is. I’m an advocate of transcribing the concept, not the lick. What does that mean? If you look at bars 77-78 of the transcription, you’ll notice that the phrases that Joe plays are built from the C major pentatonic scale. The first three-note pattern gets repeated from a different point in the scale, then is reversed and repeated with the addition of a ‘shake’. Rather than just copying those two bars, could you write your own set of major pentatonic patterns that would work here? This process allows you to start building your own vocabulary for improvising with rather than just adding another lick to your stockpile.


Dying for another dose of Dart? Take a peek at these posts:

Vulfpeck – ‘Back Pocket’

Vulfpeck – ‘Dean Town’

Groove of the Week #36: Vulfpeck – ‘The Birdwatcher’

Quick Licks Episode 1: Fearless Flyers – ‘Bicentennial’

Fearless Flyers – ‘Ace of Aces’