Ray Manzarek's left hand

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by cytodavid, Aug 27, 2008.


  1. cytodavid

    cytodavid

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    Is it me, or did his left hand create some of the best basslines recorded?
     
  2. scrodzilla

    scrodzilla

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  3. DistortedBass

    DistortedBass Supporting Member

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    Absolutely. In the studio they did have a session bassist though.
     
  4. scrodzilla

    scrodzilla

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    Hell yeah...Elvis Presley's bass player Jerry Scheff did quite an AMAZING job laying it down real thick on the LA Woman sessions. That entire album is superior!
     
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  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    I recently played one of those Rhodes bass units Ray used. I was disappointed to find out that it was the lowest notes on a Rhodes put into a dedicated bass keyboard. No difference in tone at all.

    Ray's left hand was killer, though. He wrote a lot of basslines that are very difficult to play on a bass. "Break On Through" and "Light My Fire" are a couple examples.
     
  7. Marcury

    Marcury High and Low Supporting Member

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    Great lines and made their sound what it was.
     
  8. Oric

    Oric

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    The man is invincible. Every time I watch a video of him playing alone, it's like just being told "eat it" over and over again.
     
  9. ClassicRock55

    ClassicRock55

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    Correct me if I am wrong, but Manzarek would play the basslines with his feet (using a bass keyboard) as well as his right and left hand on the main keyboard. What a beast.
     
  10. Tony B. Filthy

    Tony B. Filthy Supporting Member

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    Hmmm...so there was no bass boost circuitry in it? I guess I always assumed there was. I suppose playing it monophonically through an amp or sound system EQ'ed for bass it would have been enough in any case.

    The first Doors album and all their live stuff never suffered one bit with Manzarek using it, that's for sure.
     
  11. Tony B. Filthy

    Tony B. Filthy Supporting Member

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    Apparently one of the early session bassists, Doug Lubahn, now has a book out chronicling his time with the Doors.

    http://www.douglubahn.com/
     
  12. Linkert

    Linkert

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  13. CapnSev

    CapnSev

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    It's a pretty interesting book. I picked it up at the Barnes and Noble bargain section a while back. The most interesting thing in there is that Doug claims that Jim Morrison was perfectly capable to play all the basslines himself, but refused to. I guess he couldn't be Jim Morrison if he had a bass in his hands.

    It's an interesting perspective of the band, but it can be a slow read.
     
  14. funkhedonist

    funkhedonist

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    Just posted my version of riders on the storm (instrumental) on youtube:



    I used to play the left hand as well, but not at the moment as I broke my left wrist recently!.. The bass part was sequenced using a bass guitar-like sound before I knew the doors as well - and realized it was ray on the rhodes.. Hope you like my version!
     
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    True. I do think Ray put some EQ on it, though. It doesn't sound to me like a Rhodes when I hear it. It does on "Break On Through" just a little bit, but it sounds bassier than what I heard at the store.
     
  16. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

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    Yes, the Fender/Rhodes key bass was just the lower part of a regular Rhodes Piano. They later came out with an 88 key Rhodes piano, but it was pretty putrid. The original piano was 73 keys because beyond that (on either end) it got very hard to amplify and the tines were hard to tune. It was just a more portable version for keyboard players doubling on bass.

    But because it was a separate voice, it could be EQd differently which could account for the sound. But all The Doors' recordings with which I'm familiar, have an electric bass too. Lots of different session players, including Lubahn, Carol Kaye, Harvey Brooks, and Jerry Scheff. Apparently while recording "LA Woman" the band decided to hire Scheff as a full member. But Morrison died before anything happened.

    jte
     
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    Boy, Jerry Scheff sure had some bad luck with singers...Morrison, Elvis...
     
  18. beaverteeth92

    beaverteeth92

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    Light My Fire was played by Carol Kaye in the studio.
     
  19. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    That's what Carol claims, but that isn't an electric bass. No way, no how.

    BTW, I think a lot of these claims that these old studio musicians actually played on albums with competent musicians like the Doors are bogus. The Doors live sounded just like their albums. And while they certainly had musicians playing bass and fleshing out the core of the band on other instruments, I don't believe for a second that studio musicians played on Doors albums instead of the Doors.
     
  20. Tony B. Filthy

    Tony B. Filthy Supporting Member

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    Correct. If I'm not mistaken the entire first Doors album is all Ray Manzarek's left hand. They didn't use a session bassist until Strange Days.
     
  21. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

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    From Manzarek's web site (quoting a Keyboard Magazine interview from 1977)...

    "Why did you play keyboard bass with the Doors?"

    "We never found a bass guitarist we wanted to work with. We had guys like Harvey Brooks and Douglas Lubahn playing bass on the sessions with us, but when the band was forming we looked around for bass players and never really found any. Then one day we were auditioning at some place-we didn't get the gig because we were too wierd-but they happened to have a piano bass on top of an organ, and when I saw that I said, "That's perfect. I'll just play the bass with my left hand and play the organ with my right hand." The Rhodes keyboard bass didn't record that well since it didn't have an attack, but in person you could turn it up real loud and it was fine."

    "Who influenced your keyboard bass style?"

    "My left hand influences came originally from boogie woogie pianists like Pinetop Smith and Albert Ammons when I heard their left hands repeating those figures over and over, so when the time came for me to play the bass lines for the Doors, I had those two things going; I was able to keep a repeating line going with my left hand while being free to improvise with my right. In the course of modern popular jazz there have been a lot of guys who have done this; Lennie Tristano was the king of the left hand during the 1940s."

    jte
     

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