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Superstition (Stevie Wonder) bass line

Discussion in 'Tablature [BG]' started by u84six, Sep 25, 2012.


  1. u84six

    u84six Nobody panic, the bass player is here! Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2006
    US
    Damn, I've looked at about a handful of youtube vids and of course everyone is doing it differently. I'm also aware that the root note of the verse riff is a Eb, but since I need to do this in a cover band, we'll probably do it in E so that no one has to tune down. Anyway, I think I'm hearing a low D in there too! So what is the main riff?

    At first I heard:

    |--------------------------------------------
    |--------------------------------------------
    |--------------------------------------------
    |----G----F#----F----E----E----E-----E-----E

    Then I play along with the song and something is not right. Maybe the bass is tuned down to a D and they're playing in Eb (but my example is E tuning, I know)

    Does anyone know the riff?
     
  2. u84six

    u84six Nobody panic, the bass player is here! Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2006
    US
    Now I'm hearing:

    |--------------------------------------------
    |--------------------------------------------
    |--------------------------------------------
    |----G----F#----D----E----E----E-----E-----E
     
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  4. u84six

    u84six Nobody panic, the bass player is here! Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2006
    US
    Ok, the vibration through the crappy speakers is saying:

    |--------------------------------------------
    |--------------------------------------------
    |--------------------------------------------
    |----G----E----D----E----E----E-----E-----E

    So the original version, the bass is tuned to a Db and the song is in the key of Eb. Does anyone agree/disagree? ;)
     
  5. I think any chromatic walk would work. I've seen people do C-B-Bb-E or something similar. As long as it's based around a root, 4, or 5, I think something that specific is open to interpretation
     
  6. PlayTheBass

    PlayTheBass aka Mac Daddy

    Dec 7, 2004
    Carmichael, CA

    That's pretty close. Stevie is mainly doing a slur between the 2 and b3, like:

    G|--------------------------|
    D|---------------4/5\4------|
    A|7-----7-----7-------7--5--|
    E|--------------------------|
     
  7. u84six

    u84six Nobody panic, the bass player is here! Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2006
    US
    I agree that anything can work, but I usually like to know exactly what a bass player is doing. That's half the fun of learning a song.

    Anyhow, I think what was throwing me off (aside from my crappy speakers) is that the bass on the song is tuned down to a Db. What he's doing on the opening riff is:

    |-------------------------------------------------
    |-------------------------------------------------
    |-------------------------------------------------
    |----Gb----Eb----Db----Eb----Eb----Eb-----Eb----

    It's not a chromatic line.
     
  8. PlayTheBass

    PlayTheBass aka Mac Daddy

    Dec 7, 2004
    Carmichael, CA
    That works. I don't think there's any bass on the original recording, so there's no detuning. :) Just Stevie on the Moog.
     
  9. u84six

    u84six Nobody panic, the bass player is here! Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2006
    US
    Yeah, you're probably right. But it's hard to tell on the recording. Some of the riffs have pretty long slides like on a bass neck, so it's impressive if he was able to simulate that on a keyboard. I doubt you can do that with a pitch bender, but maybe one of those guitar/keyboard things.
     
  10. PlayTheBass

    PlayTheBass aka Mac Daddy

    Dec 7, 2004
    Carmichael, CA
    I know, there are some big sweeps on the pitch bend in there, but it's all classic Moog bass stuff. I think the pitch bends on those went at least a fifth, and maybe a full octave.

    You can also tell by the tone and the lack of "bass noises" like fret noises, differences in timbre from note-to-note across strings, hammer-ons vs. plucked, etc. It's actually a great lesson in trying to make a real bass sound as smooth and funky as that synth.
     



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