Brian Wilson as a bass player.

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by BehindTheMoon, Nov 18, 2001.

  1. I heard "Good Vibrations" a little while ago, and I also remember reading that Brian wrote all of the bass lines, although he didn't play the parts himself on record.

    I have to say, that he must be a damn fine musician. As well as a vocal genius - wow! Those vocal arrangements make my head spin.
  2. He's an amazing artist, thats for damn sure. Have you listened to the Beach Boys album 'Pet Sounds'? 'Good Vibrations' was originally supposed to be on it. That album has some awesome arrangements. He is definately a genius.
    btw, didnt Carol Kaye play bass on both 'Pet Sounds' and 'Good Vibrations'?
    Brian and Carl Wilson both played bass guitar on other Beach Boys albums.
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  3. Brian Wilson doesn't know Bass from Shine-ola.

    When the idiot-savant did play bass, with was with his index and middle fingers firmly planted on the rest and he plucked with his thumb.

    Hal Blaine did all the studio drum work.

    I have tape of Carol Kaye explain exactly how she came up with the riff to "Good Vibrations." In fact it's in the VH-1 Beach Boys documentary.

    Brian only came up with music on the piano.
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  4. Blackbird

    Blackbird Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Yow! Where'd that come from?:confused:

    Granted, he played bass with his thumb, but that's how the instrument was conceived. With the "thumb rest" below the G string. Yeah, Carol Kaye played the bass, but the music was still Brian's.

    I think he came up with some pretty impressive stuff, especially since he was 23 when he made Pet Sounds and is deaf in one ear...
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  5. I'm confused. Dennis Wilson didn't perform the drums in the recording studio? And I thought it was Brain who discovered that whatchamalcalit thing that makes that weird sound on 'Vibrations.'
  6. Blackbird

    Blackbird Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    The Theremin. No. I believe that the instrument is named after its inventor.

    And Dennis Wilson did play drums live, but was ghosted in the studio, especially in the later stuff.
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  7. Yeah, Dennis Wilson played on some of the earlier stuff but not the later stuff, but I think he was possibly the best songwriter in the group. He eventually become the main songwriter later on and songs like 'Forever' are just great songs.
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  8. Blackbird

    Blackbird Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Uh, you mean after Brian, right?
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  9. Yeah, I guess so, point taken. But specifically speaking about lyrics, was Brian that strong? He definately came up with some really well written stuff, but also much of the lyrics on 'Pet Sounds' were written by Tony Asher, under guidance from Brian.
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  10. FZ2017


    Jul 15, 2017
    You hit the nail on the head my friend. I remember seeing the guy plucking with his thumb and thinking wow this guy's a hack
  11. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Brian Wilson was a composer extraordinaire (savant?)...not a bassist. IMO.

    Not including "Good Vibrations" on an LP was very altruistic. He figured most fans had already bought the single...why include a song they already owned?

    EDIT: Unselfish is a better word than altruistic.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
  12. FZ2017


    Jul 15, 2017
    He was definitely a composer first and foremost. The only reason he ever played bass was because it was easier as a front man. If anything he's more of a piano/keyboard player than a bassist!
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  13. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Agree 100%.
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  14. joninjapan


    Aug 13, 2003
    Tokyo, Japan
    look on youtube for the "beach boys lost concert" a 1964 concert

    Brian is certainly not the most accomplished bassist, but in this video the band impressed me with their overall presentation. Especially the lack "wanking" in between songs.

    Maybe Brian is a robot, but he does sing while playing.
  15. FZ2017


    Jul 15, 2017
    The coolest thing about Brian was him composing Pet Sounds and working with the Wrecking Crew! Carol Kaye and Tommy Tedesco man wow great musicians taking cues from Brian Wilson .
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  16. dtripoli


    Aug 15, 2010
    Hey, I play bass correctly.
    Floating thumb or thumb anchored and use my first 2 fingers to pluck the strings.

    Number of songs released:
    Brian Wilson - 150+
    Me - 0

    Number of #1 Hit Songs
    Brian Wilson - 25+
    Me - 0

    What am I doing wrong?
  17. FZ2017


    Jul 15, 2017
    Has nothing to do with your bass playing! What you speak of is a matter of composition and songwriting. Two different beasts performance and composition.
  18. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    I know this is going back 17 years, but there's no theremin on that song. It's a Tannerin. It sounds like a theremin, but is a totally different instrument. You play a theremin by waving your hand near an antenna. You play a tannerin by moving a needle on a bar (or a wire) back and forth over painted keyboard keys so you could actually play it in tune with other instruments.

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  19. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    It doesn't matter if he can play. As a visionary, producer, and composer he was a genius.
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  20. Cool bit of trivia! I did not know that.

    Verified by the infallible Wikipedia.

    Electro-Theremin - Wikipedia

    I always thought to myself how accurate that melody is for a theremin. I know there are some deadly accurate theremin players, but that was freaky accurate. This helps explain it.
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