Level 42 - Lessons in love
Just a quick question.
I just bought a bass after playing guitar forever and I off course visited the one song, that define bass for me, when I was you.
Lessons in Love by Level 42.
Mark King just playes appegios 1 3 5 8 where the rhythm is dum - da da dum - da da. One - and a Two etc.
I've been looking at Mark Kings left hand and I can't determine if there is a left hand slap, left hand damp or just nothing after the first thump. (Between the thump on One before the next two thumps on and a)
Welcome to the bass! Your eagerness is obvious, as this song is tough unless you have a mature slap technique.
Check Youtube for Level 42 Rewind Festival, you will find good live recordings of this song and others. Good camera work showing Mark King and his play style, including Lessons in Love. It's not incredibly apparent what he is doing with his left hand, but he certainly is using it for muting. Very subtle. You know how it should sound, so adjust the muting accordingly as you feel it.
I've been playing bass for 20 years, and while I can do rudimentary slap (pops, thumping, etc), this song is elusive due to is rapid fire technique. Slow down the tempo and land each note. That's where I am currently at least. One of these days I'll get it! It is a great tune.
I've also am leaning toward it being used for muting/damping rarher than as a left hand slap.
And yeah, I was 14-15 years old when this song was big, and always loved it :)
Massive Level 42 fan here... Mark King always does lots of muting and extra thumps with his left hand but if you watch him live, he's still playing those relentless triplets for four minutes with his right thumb. He definitely ornaments with pops and some left hand slaps for the "machine gun" triplets that he does live... But that right hand slapping is just insane and constant, both live and on the recorded version. This part is challenging to even play fingerstyle for four minutes.
Other than Mark himself, the best source for Level 42 parts is the fantastic bassist Stuart Clayton. Go to www.basslinepublishing.com. He has published several insanely detailed transcription books of virtually the entire Level 42 recorded catalog. They're really spectacular books, especially if you really want to try and learn exactly what Mark King's bass playing so unique and funky.
MK's playing is busy and active but he actually does respect the concept of space at least a little. If we're talking about the spot between where the root is played and the set of sixteenths is on the same note, I think nothing is played there. The dead space there is a defining point of the line.
Bear in mind that most of L42's material since the "World Machine" album is supplemented by sequenced synthesizer bass parts. These are usually doubled by bass guitar, but not always verbatim. At the end of the day, MK can't go too crazy, percussive, or notey because the result would be too complicated on the low frequency portion of the band's sound .
There is no left hand slap.
Just the thumb with the right hand wrist movement.
At first, I improperly used my "accordion" elbow or even the double thumb slap. I also tried left hand slap, but...
Nothing else just right hand thumb/wrist.
You start practicing at 100BPM, and slowly increase till 114BPM.
I saw Mark King playing "Lessons of Love" live at 119BPM.
Level 42 - Lessons in Love (live) . MK indeed uses some embellishments while playing live but not on the original recording.
Level 42's "Live at the Town and Country Club" DVD (which is, I believe, a re-release of the "Guaranteed Live" laser disc from 1992) has lots of great shots of both of Mark's hands during that song. He's certainly ornamenting plenty but as Whousedtoplay and I both mentioned, it's really all about that relentless right hand thumbing.
Yeah, "Lessons In Love" is more like a lesson in endurance.
Some great shots of his playing here...
He's got something wrapped around his thumb, can't tell if it's foam or a harder thing for the slap.
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