Johnny Cash Octave Question

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by rydin4lifebass, Jan 26, 2014.

  1. This is a dumb question but I'll ask anyway. I'm listening to the song "Wreck of Old 97" by Johnny Cash. The song is based on the Bb, Eb, and F chords. Is THIS recording best played with the Bb on the 8th fret D string, the Eb on the 6th fret A string, and F 8th fret A string or down lower on the neck (Bb 1st fret A string, Eb, 1st fret D string, and F 3rd fret D string)? I'm asking because I want to play in the right octave to match that recording but I'm just not sure/
  2. Anyone?
  3. Good lord its not that critical ! Play the Bb on the A string so the song has some bottom end for the audience and to drive the band.

    You're over thinking this.

    NOBODY is going to know the difference - except you. I doubt the original bassplayer could tell you what he played without listening to the record.

    TIP - The audience doesn't care.
  4. Capitani


    Nov 25, 2013
    I agree that it shouldn't matter that much. However, I sometimes shift between octaves based on the acoustics at a gig and whether my notes are profiled enough against the rest of my band.
  5. Play the Bb 6th fret E string, same octave as playing the Bb 1st fret A string, it will sound rounder and plumper. The Eb 6th fret A string and F 8th fret A string will be right there to grab.
  6. RDT


    Aug 28, 2009
    Buy a 5 string, specifically for this song if need be :smug:, drop all 5 down a 1/2 step and play the Bb on top'll add a whole new sound to it. :bag: Plus, you have an "excuse" to buy another bass. :hyper:
  7. Calebmundy


    Apr 5, 2007
    You got the right octave-8th fret D-string., so well done! It can be hard to hear those details on an old recording. Whether or not to play it at one octave or the other is up to you. I agree that no one in the audience will notice, and that the lower 3rd fret A string position might support a live band better. If you're going for the super-authentic sound, then it's the upper of the two octaves.
  8. SERIOUSLY...thanks for the input! I know I'm way to critical about some of this stuff and in a band situation, it really wouldn't matter. I'm one of those guys that likes to play along with the original recording note for note and my OCD (yes, I'm on medication) certainly doesn't help matters any. I'm working on my ear but having a hard time trusting it. Again, many many thanks!
  9. Calebmundy


    Apr 5, 2007
    My pleasure. There's a lot of value in learning even simple songs note-for-note-really paying attention to things like octave and note length, and really trying to nail the exact sounds. There's a reason why hit records are hits, and adding all of that to your tool bag is very worth your time!