Superstition (Stevie Wonder) bass line

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


  1. u84six

    u84six Supporting Member

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    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 Supporting Member

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    Now I'm hearing:

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

    u84six Supporting Member

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    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? ;)
  4. oniman7

    oniman7

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    Saint Augustine, Florida
    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
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  6. PlayTheBass

    PlayTheBass aka Mac Daddy Supporting Member

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    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 Supporting Member

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    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 Supporting Member

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    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 Supporting Member

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    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 Supporting Member

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    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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