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Newbie Question / Rock Around The Clock / Bass line /

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by GrahamNN3, Aug 5, 2019.

  1. GrahamNN3


    Apr 11, 2018
    Newbie Question:

    About the song: (We're Gonna) Rock Around The Clock performed by Bill Haley and His Comets.

    The original bass line seems to have been played on a double bass - and so sounds quite high in register / pitch when played on a 4 string electric bass.

    So I don’t know what to play?

    Do I play the original line -

    Or play a 12 bar blues in place of the original bass line - which seems to mix better

    Or add an octave pedal - to the original line?

    What do you play?

  2. I have never played this, but anytime I have to emulate an upright bass, I just roll off the treble and solo the neck pick up. All while playing the original line. It helps to pluck as close as possible to the neck as well.

    Most of it is tone, not necessarily what you actually play.
  3. GrahamNN3


    Apr 11, 2018
    OK - thank you
  4. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Double bass and 4 string electric bass are tuned identically and sound in the same octave (E1 A1 D2 G2). You do not need an octave pedal to perform double bass parts on your electric bass.

    @Pizza1988 has good advice if your tone is too "twangy."
    Bboopbennie, HolmeBass, JRA and 2 others like this.
  5. GrahamNN3


    Apr 11, 2018
    Thank you
  6. Malcolm35


    Aug 7, 2018
    I do not think I have ever played this song, however, I'd first call up the chords. Then following the chords I'd start pounding roots to the beat. When that was comfortable I'd add a 5. Root on the 1st beat and a 5 on the 3rd beat. If it still needed more the old tried and true R-5-8-5 kinda works on most any Rock song for me. R-5 first.....

    The 5 is always - from the root, up a string and over toward the bridge two frets, or down a string same fret. The 8 is always up a string same fret as the 5.

    For help with R-5-8-5 and all those other numbers How to get started?
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2019
    pellomoco14 likes this.
  7. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    that tune has been played a bunch of different ways effectively. but the original bassline walks and swings and it's not just a repeating pattern (many "rock 'n roll" tunes of the era did the same!)--- don't forget the dom 7th! good luck! :thumbsup:

    Paulabass, 2tonic, rd2rk and 5 others like this.
  8. GrahamNN3


    Apr 11, 2018
    Thank you - very useful.
  9. GrahamNN3


    Apr 11, 2018
    I will make note on the dominant 7ths - Until you wrote that I just thought they were mis-strikes on the double bass!
    JRA likes this.
  10. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    On the original recording in A, he's just playing up and down the scale over each chord. On the I he plays on the G string and moves to the D for the IV and V chords, probably to get more projection. On BG, you can play the same notes down an octave.
    GrahamNN3 and Aqualung60 like this.
  11. If you didn't already realize it, the bass player is also playing in a slap style (probably with gut strings) - all the percussive clicks that you hear are the right hand hitting the strings in between notes.
  12. Don't hear that much anymore! Maybe except from Reverend Horton Heat!
    2tonic and GrahamNN3 like this.
  13. nilorius


    Oct 27, 2016
    Riga - Latvia
    Play the 4th or 5th bass. Choose between fretless and fretted.
    GrahamNN3 likes this.
  14. kohanmike

    kohanmike Gold Supporting Member

    I play that with my ukulele group, I do a straight boogie in the key, in our case G, so I start on the third fret of the E string (G) and my pattern is this:

    GrahamNN3 likes this.
  15. LoTone

    LoTone Clean as an Entwistle... Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2010
    Quebec, Canada
    One of the things that may throw you off a bit is, that this song is arguably the first Rock and Roll song ever recorded in the early 50's. At that time, the art of recording bass mixed with electric guitars was in its infancy. So, when you listen to any recordings of that song, the bass has an exceptionally muted and muddy sound. If you play that song live in the 21st century, it would be OK to have your bass sound a bit sharper with more definition.

    So, don't worry too much if you don't sound exactly like on recordings.
    Ekulati, tradernick and GrahamNN3 like this.
  16. Yep, modern audiences will probably appreciate the greater clarity of the electric bass anyways.
    GrahamNN3 likes this.
  17. DoctorZee

    DoctorZee Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2018
    New York / New Jersey
    Don't see those words strung together very often!
    2tonic and GrahamNN3 like this.
  18. GrahamNN3


    Apr 11, 2018
    I’m playing fretted with tape wound strings.
  19. GrahamNN3


    Apr 11, 2018
    Thank you
    kohanmike likes this.
  20. emblymouse

    emblymouse exempt Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2006
    This thread has already dissected the bass part more than it was at the original session. Get loose and go man go!!
    JimmyM, 2tonic, Jason Hollar and 2 others like this.

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