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Bass on 'Rock on' by David Essex?

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by bassteban, Mar 4, 2005.

  1. I heard this old nugget yesterday, for the first time through semi-decent speakers(stock Honda Pilot vs 70's AM radio). There is some SICKLY low bass on that. It definitely sounds to me like bass guitar, at least in the majority of the track. Does anyone have any idea who played what on that, or where to look/who to ask?
    This tune probably also qualifies for that 'cheesy song w/cool bassline' thread.
  2. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    I love that song, and that is some mighty bassly bass. No clues on any info though. Jimmy Dean... James Dean.
  3. DaveBeny


    Mar 22, 2000
    London, UK
    I can tell you that it is definitely HERBIE FLOWERS - perhaps the most-recorded British session bassist ever.

    The only electric bass he has ever played is an ancient Fender Jazz prototype - i.e. from before the Fender Jazz first went into production! :eek:

    He uses Rotosound Tru-bass strings and leaves them on for years at a time.

    It's Herbie who provided the famous twin basslines on Lou Reed's 'Walk on the Wild Side' BTW (probably his best known performance).
  4. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Would he have downtuned then on rock on?
  5. It's Herbie who provided the famous twin basslines on Lou Reed's 'Walk on the Wild Side' BTW (probably his best known performance).[/QUOTE]

    I assume that was double-tracked- ?
  6. -or they got creative in the studio & turned the tape down 1/2 speed or something. I'd love to hear from someone who was there.
  7. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    James Dean
  8. DaveBeny


    Mar 22, 2000
    London, UK
    I assume that was double-tracked- ?[/QUOTE]

    The track has two basslines, both played by Herbie - one on double-bass on one on electric bass - the electric line is more melodic and free-floating.
  9. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...and there was the "Late Night" Will Lee played BOTH parts(sorta) to "Walk On The Wild Side" simultaneously. I nearly spit out my chocolate milk.
    He tapped the high part with his left hand-
    Play "F#"(G-string/11th fret) slide UP to "B"(G-string/16th fret)

    Tapping with the right hand-
    Play the "D"(E-string/10th fret) slide DOWN to "G"(E-String/3rd fret)

    Basically, you're playing the "D" & "F#"(a 10th) & the "G" & "B" together(another 10th...sorta).
    Sliding both together gets dicey in the dark. ;)
  10. Zombie post alert!....

    Does anyone know how Flowers got his sound on Essex's Rock On?

    Specifically, what effects were used?
  11. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    I just found out that Herbie Flowers also played on this gem.

    Harry Nilsson ~ Jump Into The Fire

  13. stephenwrigley


    Mar 3, 2011
    I was talking to Herbie about this track today. He reckons he detuned the E string to A or Ab to get the really grumbly bass, and tracked it an octave higher, asked the engineer for lots of echo/reverb. There's quite a story attached to the recording, but essentially Herbie was in the studio while Jeff Wayne (who produced it) was out, having previously recorded drums, strings and horns. Herbie put the bass track down, with David Essex singing, in an hour, and Wayne loved it and kept it at that - no guitars or keys etc. Great decision. I've still heard nothing quite like it before or since.
    squidtastic likes this.
  14. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    Def Lepp does an awesome cover of this tune, especially the Abbey Road version.

    Sav ftw.
  15. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    I figured out how to do this exact thing quite a few years ago (when I was in college and had time to mess around like that). The closet thing to a "parlor trick" I could ever do on bass -- actually the *only* parlor trick I can do on bass -- but it turned some heads.
  16. manfish

    manfish Supporting Member

    Aug 2, 2005
    City Of Angels
    Great story from Herbie about the low thang!! I wondered if it was a 5 st or possibly an octave pedal.... Thanks!!! Its kind of my favorite pop rock production. I like to use it to test my speakers and reference mixes. I read Jeff Wayne had to get the string players a bit loosened up with a pint or two in the Abbey Road canteen before they could get the slidey snakey strings. Great record!!