How the hell do you play tommy the cat?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by M.D.S., Nov 7, 2005.

  1. M.D.S.


    Nov 8, 2004
    Cause I have no idea!

    Trying to play the Suck on This (4-string) version of Tommy the Cat has now been bugging me for the best part of five months, and now it's just getting really really frustrating...

    I think I'm fast enough to play it, but I just don't know where to start even trying to play the main riff (Not helped by the fact every tab I've seen on the net is pretty much unique :crying: and the version I have in a book I bought is COMPLETELEY different from ANYTHING ELSE!)

    Could anyone tell me how you learned this song, or at least give me a basic idea of where to start?

    *Bangs head off wall repeatedly*
  2. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    Haha! It just clicked for me one day.

    I'll just leave you with this-- A BUNCH OF DEAD NOTES.

    Listen to the live version on Rhinoplasty. You just do like, eighth note dead notes throughout the whole entire thing.
  3. Murf


    Mar 28, 2001
    Yep..what he said..and btw every tab of tommy the cat on the net is WRONG!!!!
  4. EPrendergast


    Sep 23, 2005
    Wales, UK
    I wouldn't mind learning this either - maybe a video would help? Anyone know where to find one?
  5. Yeah, this is the kind of song that you just have to screw with yourself. I'll try to tab it out for you the way I play it (which sounds pretty damn good to me):

    --4----------3h5-----5-------5-------3---- repeat

    Remember, lots of muted notes. It may sound wrong like this at first, but the key is to just play fast as hell so you don't think about it so much.
  6. M.D.S.


    Nov 8, 2004
    I thought that might be it... Thanks for the tab though, that looks a lot more promising than anything I've seen before..

    *Goes off to try plying it again*
  7. the craziest part - he is singing while he's doing these wild lines
    i think Les defies description...there's nobody else really playing like he does
  8. Kael

    Kael Supporting Member

    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    If you'll listen, there is also a descneding A, Ab, G on the low E string.

    something like
    Almost sounds like two differing bass tracks layered.
  9. EPrendergast


    Sep 23, 2005
    Wales, UK
    Les Claypool played double bass before he played Bass Guitar - maybe that helped with his mad skills?

    Could someone who has this song nailed maybe do a brief recording of them playing the bassline slowed down?
  10. Yeah, I know about that part too. I was just giving him a simplified version of the main riff. It's the kind of bass line where taht kind of thing is really expendable, like if played fast nobody would even know it's gone. I usually do play it, but like half-muted. I'll fret those descending notes on the E, but they're barely audible when I play it cause, honestly, it sounds better muted then with the clear notes.

    @EPrendergast--I would but I have no clue how to record stuff on my PC and I don't have any recording equipment at all.
  11. seems to me a lot of what claypool does is muted notes and more than a few kinda random noise bits. he pulls it off though, i'm not slagging the guy cos he is a truly awesome player :) its just part of his style.
  12. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I haven't really played this song in ages, but here's a quicky recording of how I play it. I never was much of a perfectionist when it came to learning other people's ****.
  13. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    No one can really play it like les, we can all learn it and probly even come pretty damn close, but its just one of those songs that only he can do properly. Kinda like Cliff with anesthesia or geezer with bassically, sure we can all learn it, but they were the only ones who could play it like it was meant to be played. If that made any sense at all.

    ...Or, yknow, look at the tabs here, they look pretty close ;)
  14. Thanks to share, I really appreciated it!

    I know now what I have to practice... some of my chords are wrongs :eek:
  15. Sorry i'm not home right now and didn't get to check out Wrong Robot's video yet. But here, even though alot of it is animated and switches inbetween characters. There are a couple areas in which you see claypool for 5-10 seconds and it will give you a feel for what he is doing and his playing style. But as others have mentioned.. no one will play it like Claypool.

    But Enjoy,
  16. HAHAHAHHAA!!!!! Oh man, it's been so long since I've seen that video. Makes me laugh every time I see that cartoon cat. Primus was always reliable for a hilarious video every now and then. Anyone ever seen these guys live?? I had the pleasure of seeing them 3 times in 7 months:D and every time was amazing. This song is definitely the highlight of any Primus concert, everyone trying to keep up with the vocals is hilarious.

    Wanna hear a little chunk of random Claypool trivia?!!?!?!? SURE YA DO!!
    In the video for "Jerry Was A Racecar Driver", Les is using the same 6-string fretless as in the "Tommy The Cat" video, but with one major difference. When he did the video for Jerry, he had just got that bass from Carl Thompson (amazing luthier, Anyway, if you look closely in the Jerry video, you'll notice that his bass didn't have that huge trademark CT "scroll" on the top. He had some neck problems, sent it back to Carl for an overhaul, and got it back with the "scroll" on top as it appears in the Tommy video.
  17. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    good vid, i had no idea what that song was actually about (besides a cat named tommy) until i saw that. huh
  18. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    There are about three notes in the main riff. It's mostly a matter of getting the dead note pattern worked out. The whole singing while playing comes with time. For some reason, Primus stuff is the only thing I can play and sing... it's so rhythmic... the slap patterns, that it's like singing while drumming on a desk or something. It helps you keep time vocally. It's weird... I could sing and play primus stuff before I could sing and play AC/DC stuff... hmmm.
  19. azeng808


    Dec 12, 2004
    how do you do the desending A, Ab, G on the low E string? I cant find a finger pattern to do that quickly enough.