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les claypool and chords

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Cossiemon, Aug 9, 2002.

  1. Cossiemon


    Aug 20, 2001

    I've never seen Les play - live or video. So i was wondering how does he play chords?

    Does he strum with his fingers or a pick? Or how does he do it?

    I'm absolutely amazed at his bass lines :eek:
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    He strums with his fingers.
  3. RedV


    Mar 19, 2002
    Eustis, FL
    Alot of times he'll arpeggio chords too...like playing with his thumb and two fingers, like a banjo. Definitely cool stuff.

  4. kirbywrx

    kirbywrx formerly James Hetfield

    Jul 27, 2000
    Melbourne, Australia.
    Looks cool, but it would be hell on your nails, (as feminine as that sounds) it wouldnt be too good for them or does he use the tips of his fingers?
  5. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Another trick Claypool does is his strings are actually two G strings and two A strings, but he tunes the standard EADG which makes chording easier.
  6. melvin


    Apr 28, 2001
    When I play Primus stuff with chords and what not I like to use the very tips of my fingernails (the part you cut/bite off) which Im almost certain is how he does it (after seeing Videoplasty a million times.) When the music calls for an "up-strum" I use the very tips of my fingers. I can get a very Claypoolian sound playing chords like that
  7. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Yeah in reality, it's not that rough on your fingernails at all. Just don't really dig in, do it lightly but with enough power to get the desired sounds...

    P.S. Melvin... Ninja's are most definatly cool!
  8. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    I just thought of something that would help... learn "Those damned blue collared tweekers" or "Eleven" as far as Claypoolian chords go, these are the easiest. If you use tabs, the ones on this site are correct... well at least the main strummed riffs (which is the entire thing for Eleven)
  9. old_skool


    Aug 17, 2000
    Milwaukee, WI
    Too Many Puppies is a good one too, pretty easy stuff.
  10. almost all the primus stuff i play is chords, and I always play with a flick off kind of strum, where your hand opens as you get closer to the string. Too many puppies is an incredibly easy song compared to the rest of the catalog, those damn blue collar tweakers is easy up until the bass solo part(at least for me), and john the fisherman is good for working on up and down strumming.
  11. Matt Sanchez

    Matt Sanchez

    Jun 25, 2002
    I've seen Primus live a couple times ("Primus Sucks Primus Sucks") and got to meet him when he played the Edge in Jacksonville Florida (97 - with Cookiebush). I was more into Lester's master track "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver" than any of his other works. The riffing on "Jerry.." works like magic, the way it sits in the pocket. I transposed the line for 4 string bass and is it mind boggling how well it works with the drum lines set up by Tim Alexander. Everything has it's place in that riff.

    Les Claypool Strums chords, taps triads, and plucks double stops. He favors the flat five sounds and like the previous poster commented - if you want to learn a great song that his band Primus wrote - check out John The Fisherman (off of Frizzle Fry). The Carl Thompson he plays on that track has a kahler tremelo bar (btw, they started making these again for around 500 clams US). The chords (1 five Octave) are strummed with the nails (up and down strokes) I forget the key the song is in however this one has a great circular groove. This is some what tricky to play and sing at the same time, however, it is repetitive enough that if you learn it with a metronome you can let your hands on auto pilot.

    Les Claypool's best album with Primus (IMO) is Frizzle Fry - certainly not the best recorded or most popular but it is loaded with grooving cuts and seems to have great movement through out the album and imo much more fluid than their notorious - Sailing the Seas of Cheese album (of Tommy the Cat and Jerry Was a Race Car Driver fame).

    My favorite Les Claypool album Period is his Solo project called - Holy Mackeral and High Ball with The Devil. Some of the guest artists are Jay Lane, Charlie Hunter, and spoken word with Black Flag graduate Henry Rollins. I believe there is a track where Les plays drums as well. Also, the last track on this album is a combination of eletric bass guitar and acoustic bass, more specifically "Arco". The bowed notes are all lower register and drone out with the most powerful yet defined fuzz box noise you're ever going to hear on a recording - just a powerful track from the lowend mindset (and commical of course!).

    Don't forget to check out his work with former Police drummer STUART COPELAND and Phish frontman/guitarist TREY ANASTASIO in their Trio called OYSTERHEAD - I missed their live show in Gainesville Florida (was their last showdate) and from what I heard they sounded like **** live. Oh well, some great blending between Trey's style and Les's styles on Oysterhead. Perhaps, the best I've heard in terms of blending that Les has done with other artists (aside from Tom B. - guitarist from Rage against the Machiene).

    Bass Regards,
    Matt Sanchez
  12. its not hard 2 learn how to match up singing john the fisherman and the bass part, they have offset rythyms,but the words usually end a line a few notes before the end of the second part of the bass line, its kind of hard to explain, but it took me about 2 weeks to get them to match up. BTW, Most of frizzle fry is on suck on this, only live. Oysterhead isn't really a good mix of claypool and trey, they don't have a good mix, every song is either primus or phish, nothing in between.
  13. The technique people have described here is known as flamenco strumming; les has a rather "extreme" version of it, as you will see if you watch Too Many Puppies live.

    BTW, Matt, Rage Against the Machine's guitarist was Tom Morello, not "Tom B." I know more about Tom Morello than any sane man, including Tom Morello, should, so trust me on this one. :cool:
  14. Matt Sanchez

    Matt Sanchez

    Jun 25, 2002
    Thanks man, good looking out! knew i'd mess up one of them names... gave away the antipop cd so no liner notes either,lol. Tom M. is an original sounding player as it gets that's for certain! I remember when Rage first came out they were around the time that we were all coming off the grunge high with mudhoney and the screaming trees type **** and the closest thing to that type of sound was Helmet at least where my radio dial was hitting. In a weird way, Flamenco is what made me a bass player. My late uncle was a Flamenco classical guitarist. He lived in Santa Rosa, California and was the person that inspired me to play bass on a serious level. I have a recording of his, an album if you will. He is the most expressive Classical player I've ever heard (maybe i'm biased). It is rare to find a guitarist that can play with blinding speed and make every note count and every note incrediablly powerful. I sent him recordings of Stanley Clark solos (all the school day's stuff) that I learned by ear around the age of 15. On the same tape were a bunch of orginal songs recorded on a Tascam 424. My bass "idol" at the time was Jaco Pastorios and when I sent my tape to my uncle for constructive critism he said... "well, Matthew, you sure don't sound like Jaco!" That I was totally cool with - big deal, I wasn't trying to sound like him, i thought. It was when he told me that I reminded him of Jamaladean Tacuma that I got offended, lol. I thought Tacuma sounded like an abnoxious player on his recordings - a real step on your toes kind of bass player. Looking back... that is just the type of player I was - a step on everyone's toes type of player that played too much, over played everything. I was insecure and immature then and overplaying was the Linus' Blanket. Anyway, not long after that he started sending me crates full of cassettes with typed notes about each album on cassette. These were bass player albums - played by every real deal acoustic bass and electric bass master you could think of from Ron Carter to Jack Bruce and everything in between - people I had never heard of before. The messed up part about this whole thing is that my uncle Fred was paralized at this point from a stroke, his ability to play as a concert classical guitarist was gone. The recordings he made me were all from vynal to tape. He told me to be a sponge and try to soak up all the knowledge I could about my instrument, among other things a great mentor. When he died I could not fly out to California to bury him. He lived alone and died from a stroke and heart attack combination. In his apartment my father and brother found one instrument left (he sold all of his classical guitars to pay medical bills and gave away his harps to his care taker's children)... the only instrument left was a bass guitar. It was the only instrument his fingers could control after having his stroke. My Father and my brother brought the bass back to me here in Jacksonville. All that time I never met the man in person. We met over the phone and all that time I was in Florida and he was in California. Yet, to this day - Fred's spirit is my guide on bass!!!

    Bass Regards,
    Matt Sanchez

    ps. to those that love claypool's style of playing - i would reccomend checking out geddy lee of RUSH and chris squire of YES. the music may be a bit hard on your musical taste buds - however, these are the styles claypool grew up on and they clearly influenced his voice on the instrument...... later!

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