Best Beatles Bassline

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Cernnunos, Jul 20, 2021.

  1. Cernnunos


    Dec 28, 2019
    Define this however you like. The most fun to play. The most complicated. The most melodic. I want to know your favorite Beatles basslines, and what's so great about them.

    For me, it's Glass Onion. It's a mix of counter-melody, which also has a steady chug that pushes the song forward. I also love the string attack, it's so brutal that you get the extra cool percussion effect of the strings clacking against the frets. I remember hearing that as a young teenager, and it grabbed me by the throat and demanded my sense of awe. 30 years later, I'm still examining this one bassline and trying to understand all of its beauty, complexity, and simplicity. To me, this bassline makes the song.

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  2. All_Thumbs


    Dec 6, 2016
    Huge fan of The Beatles and Sir Paul. But that Ric sounds strange to me. YMMV
    nixdad likes this.
  3. nixdad


    Aug 15, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    Great bass line, and thanks for posting. I'd never heard the isolated bass track to Glass Onion - fun!

    There are so many great Beatles bass lines it's hard to choose a favorite:
    - Penny Lane: melodic
    - While My Guitar Gently Weeps: the bridge is the best part and most fun to play
    - Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite: quirky, and makes the song
    - Hey Bulldog: this one intimidated me before I learned to play with a pick
    - Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds: so good!
    - With a Little Help From My Friends: such a fun tune
    - Think For Yourself: two bass parts!
    - A Day In the Life: fun to play, it's the heartbeat of the song
    - All My Loving: Walk it!
    - Here Comes the Sun: understated with some great parts
    - Nowhere Man: enough said
    - Rain: bass & drums, baby
    - And Your Bird Can Sing: so much fun; if we get the chance to add this, I'll include some of Paul's variations from the the Anthology take

    We play most of the songs listed. The ones we don't are on my list. ;)
  4. Cernnunos


    Dec 28, 2019
    I got into a discussion about this w/Lenie Colacino, who played Paul in the original Beatlemania. He thinks it's John on the Fender VI, but I argued that stylistically it sounds like Paul who used a Fender Jazz throughout the White album.
  5. KohanMike

    KohanMike Gold Supporting Member

    Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da because of the syncopation.
  6. Bad Bob

    Bad Bob Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2020
    Niskayuna, New York.
    I have two. All My Loving was a mystery to me in 1964; I loved the walk, but my 12 year old self had no idea what notes Paul was playing or why. It propelled me to buy a bass (with my parents’ help) and start trying to learn and unlock the secrets of bass playing.
    My other favorite is “Something” which is a clinic about adding color and texture without quite overplaying.
    Both songs, after all these years, are still fun for me to play.
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  7. David76112


    Feb 19, 2012
    I Want You (She's So Heavy) Paul really rips it up on this song. I had not listened to all of Abby Road in decades and was blown away when I really paid attention to the Bass lines.
  8. dalkowski

    dalkowski It's "rout," not "route." Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
    +1 for "IWY(SSH)"
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  9. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    Something is a love song to the bassist. Love the melodic counter melody movement Paul applies to that one.
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  10. bass12

    bass12 Have You Met Grace Jones? Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    I had to learn "Something" a number of years ago and I ended up transcribing the bass part (you know, actually writing it out :D). It was then that I realized just how good a bassist Paul is.

    And yeah, the line on "Glass Onion" is great!
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  11. Winslow


    Sep 25, 2011
    There are so many good suggestions in here that showcase Paul's innovative and melodic approach, and I won't argue with any of them. That said, I still really dig the thumpin' groove banger that propels the "Sgt. Pepper's" reprise:

    I never get tired of that thing! buttrock.gif
  12. My favorites are the 4 in our normal rotation.

    All My Loving - love this because I get to sing it
    8 Days a week
    Ob La Di
    With a Little Help from my Friends- our standard closer
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  13. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2005
    san antonio, texas
    'fixing a hole' - not my fave, but one of them. great note choices :)
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  14. RandalPinkFloyd


    Jun 3, 2012
    Fixed that for you.
  15. westrock


    Nov 18, 2007
    This was fun doing three piece.
  16. I think there is some question about who played bass on this one. Sounds more like John or George on Bass VI to me.
    Rain is probably my favorite McCartney line.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2021
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  17. nixdad


    Aug 15, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    Yep, Something is one I missed. Brilliant.

    Paul's riffage on this is a gas. You can tell he was having fun with this one.
  18. Mike JV

    Mike JV

    Mar 19, 2019
    "I Call Your Name" is a hidden gem in my opinion. Not as simple as it may seem. Love the "bounce" in his playing amongst other elements of what he's doing. Shows how well he had a grasp of things even back then.
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  19. Guitalia


    Jun 7, 2008
    Baltimore, MD
    Paul's bass lines are often brilliant, but George was reportedly annoyed by Paul's show-offy part on Something. Bass players love it, of course, but George would have preferred the kind of simple, understated bass line that Paul invariably used for his own slow songs (Here, There, And Everywhere and Let Me Roll It come to mind, but there are many more such songs, and their bass parts are always very simple).

    I enjoy playing that bass line, but it represents a raised middle finger to George and was recorded at a point in their relationship where they were barely able to work together.

    I've read that, in his early post-Beatles tours, George used to instruct his bassists to play the kind of simplified line he'd originally argued for but that he eventually relented when he found that audiences expected to hear the Abbey bass part.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2021
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  20. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis

    Dec 11, 1999
    I'll throw my hat in the ring by adding "Baby You're A Rich Man" into the list of tunes mentioned above. So many outstanding bass lines that it's impossible (at least for me) to pick just one.

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