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Geddy Lee's Tecxhnique on Power Windows

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by darth by tor, Nov 9, 2005.

  1. darth by tor

    darth by tor

    Nov 9, 2005
    Hi Everyone!
    New here and all that, Nice Place you have here.
    So Im a bassist of nearly twenty years but Im lacking in my technique terminology. So does anyone out there know what technique Geddy Lee employs on Rush's "Power Windows" album in particular on the track "Marathon"
  2. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    As far as I know, it's just his fingers, using a Wal bass DI'd into the board in the studio. No magic, just Geddy. He's not slapping, if that's what you mean.
  3. darth by tor

    darth by tor

    Nov 9, 2005
    I know he's not slapping as I can play the part but Im just wondering it's a particular style as I havent heard it used before, is it double stopping?
  4. As far as I can remember, there are no double stops in "Marathon". Geddy does use them in "Force Ten" and "Turn The Page" from Hold Your Fire however. In "Vapor Trails", there are some instances of chordal playing.

    On "Marathon" he is doing a lot of raking, and i think I hear a fair bit of muted notes as well--giving a percussive effect. The parts of the song I'm talking about are pretty much the intro and verses. The chorus is mainly keyboards if I recall correctly. The song is played very very fast on light gauge strings. If you ever hear the live version of this song, it is considerably slower. I prefer the studio version.

    Hope this helps. :bassist:
  5. darth by tor

    darth by tor

    Nov 9, 2005
    Thats Great Canadabass!
    Thank You, would you mind defining what exactly a double stop is and where exactly Geddy Uses one in the songs you mention.
  6. Hi Darth Tor,

    You're most welcome! I don't have either of those CDs or my bass with me right now. A double stop is sounding two strings at the same time. An example would be fretting both the 12th fret of the D and G strings, and using your index and middle finger to pluck those strings with your right hand. This would give you two notes sounding together. It especially works well on the top two strings (D and G).

    In "Force Ten", Geddy is using it for the verses..I believe he's playing the 12th and 14th frets double-stopped on both the D and G strings...sorry I coudn't check that out for you on my bass.

    In "Turn The Page", you can hear the double-stops being used in the first instrumental section which is JUST bass and then the keyboards slowly are faded in. I believe those double-stops are also around the 12th and 14th frets of the D and G strings.

    Both great and underrated songs! :hyper:

  7. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    I play double stops with my thumb and index, is that weird/wrong?
  8. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    It depends on the context - thumb and index finger can work very well for double stops but it depends on what you need to do before and afterwards. I don't know the song in question though so can comment on how Geddy might have been playing it.

  9. Thanks for the post..this is a question ive been wanting to ask for a while but couldnt figure out the terminology to pose the question in the first place. Geddy said in the "rush in rio" video that he swings his fingers forwards and back as if hes waving with his hand standing still. He hits the strings as hes doing that..hence part of his sound. Whether he used that on power windows is a mystery but i love that funky sound on the album and tour that followed.
  10. Hi fleabee,

    The first time I saw Geddy do that technique is during their 1997 Test for Echo tour. I've seen every tour since the 1984 Grace Under Pressure tour. As far as I can remember, he only did it during "Closer to the Heart". There is actually a video online somewhere of him doing this. If you do some Google-ing you should find it. This video was made to promote Different Stages I believe. Listen to the live version of CTTH on Different Stages, and you'll hear the same "1 finger flamenco" technique. No wonder his index finger was causing him problems as he said during the Interview portion of Rush for Rio. I have no idea why he doesn't have tendinitis doing that. Although Geddy is a hell of a bassist, there are much better players to study as far as technique goes. But he definitely makes it work. So to answer your question, no he definitely didn't use this for Power Windows.

    Hope this helps! :bassist:
  11. labgnat

    labgnat Banned

    Oct 29, 2005
    outta this world
    i use middle and index for double stops when i'm playing something more melodic and pretty, but i use stanley clarkes style of flamenco strumming double stops which is great for rocking out. check out the song "school days" stanley clarke, perfect example of this. i'm not really sure how geddy does it tho
  12. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    Yeps, that is a great place to start on strumming practice! Also see some of the Gambale Hamm Smith records (GHS) for Hamm doing some stuff like that...

    the solo from Astral traveler and the groove line in Katahdin both contain some great flamenco strumming lines...
  13. lawrens


    Nov 26, 2005
    hi folks !!

    can somebody tell me how geddy gets that sound on the "livein rio dvd" ?

    I really dig that percussive sound (check "leave that thing alone"...)
    in my playing I try to get that kind of sound, but I guess geddy must be using a lot of effects :D

    thanx by advance :cool:
  14. sotua


    Sep 20, 2004
    SF Bay Area
    1.- Jazz Bass
    2.- Overdriven Amp (in his case, a mix of U5 direct, U5 through Sansamp RBI for dirt and then the same run through some Trace Elliot tube amps for even more warmup, or some farfetched scheme like that)
    3.- Light gauge strings
    4.- Low Low action
    5.- Play really, really, REALLY hard, and near the neck. Strumming with your nails isn't frowned upon :)
  15. lawrens


    Nov 26, 2005
    yeah thanx sotua, I will try to get all that stuff!!! (just kidding :D )

    do you know someone playing with this stuff ?
  16. sotua


    Sep 20, 2004
    SF Bay Area
    Well, when I was going for the Geddy Lee tone, the best results where achieved with:

    1.- Light strings (Rotosound Funkmasters, I think a .90 E string?)
    2.- Crank the treble on the bass (it was active)
    3.- Crank the bass on the amp.
    4.- Play hard towards the neck.

    I think a maple necked bass helps... :)
  17. lawrens


    Nov 26, 2005
    okay sotua, thanks for the infos...

    do you mean you don't play this way anymore ?

    is this is the case, what is your way of playing now ?