Parts thatcha always thought were easier than they are

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Joe Nerve, Mar 11, 2005.

  1. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    My band decided to cover Alright Now, the classic Free song. Gosh darnitt that little neat sounding bass thing during the solo at the end is one hell of a bass exercise -assuming I'm doing it right which I'm pretty sure I am. I do the first half on the open E and A strings - and the second half using the harmonic D on the G string 19th fret. Never noticed the second half also has an open A in it. It's a really difficult line to play smoothly and musically like on the recording. My hands are fumbling for new ways to mute the E and A string. I love challenges. I shall play this line BETTER than it's creator!!!!!!!!!

    If anyone knows the line and I'm off somewhere please correct me. Other than that, anyone ever surprised by how difficult something really simple sounding was?
  2. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    OPEN "A"-string is a must on that tune.

    I don't recall using harmonics, though; I remember fretting those notes.
    Just played it...I see I'm using the plucking hand to mute the OPEN "A" to OPEN "E".
  3. Yes, familiar with that part of that tune. :cool: I fret the notes, rather than using the harmonics.

    How about Sublime "What I've Got"? A simple sounding line that made me scratch my head in making it sound smooth. I detune my A on that one.
  4. I've got a DVD "mega hits of the 70's & 80's" which has Free doing Alright now live;

    first bit on the E string (A E F# A F# and E) (bear in mind Andy Fraser used a short-scale EB3)

    second bit up at the top of the neck (G D F# D), with a open A string pedalling between each note (Andy Fraser used his thumb to pluck the open A)
  5. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    Thank you, I had a feeling there was some thumb action in there. :) Trickiest part for me is getting up and down the neck smoothly without making a bunch o noise with the E string. I'm muting it with my right hand pointer when I hit the upper notes - it's what's seeming to come naturally.

    Hey, I'm really starting to live this bass geek thing now.
  6. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    Chaka Khan's "Ain't Nobody"
  7. Hey Joe, the trick to making it up the neck, is to start up right after the last F# in the first part of the phrase. Next note is the open E, and you can use that one beat to get up the board. It drove me nuts for a while, then duh!

  8. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    I can get up the neck in time - tricky part for me is shutting the E string up when I do part 2. Can't mute it with my left hand cuz it's buzy and my right hand needs to learn a new way of doing that. The right hand pointer isn't feeling totally right yet cuz I have to quickly shift that finger also. I started toying with repositioning my hand and muting the E with my thumb. It seems like a really simple thing to do, but to do it quietly and cleanly (again, like on the recording) is a bit of challenge and something alien to the things I ordinarily play.
  9. yep, thumb is how I mute the E string, and index finger to pluck the open A string pedalling bit.
    I suspect Andy Fraser might have had it easier with what sounds like flats or dead rounds, with humbuckers (and didn't the EB3 have a filter setting that made it sound even more thuddy?), and old Marshall amps. dunno what it would have sounded like with fresh steel roundwounds through a hifi rig....
  10. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products

    I love this forum. Where else on the planet could ya find this kind of understanding.
  11. :cool: :)
  12. I've sometimes found melodically simple basslines have deceptively tricky rhythms-
    eg. The Cure's "Lullaby" is one-
    the pattern of two 16ths and one 8th on the root, then one 8th and two 16ths takes some concentration to play repeatedly nearly throughout the song.
    also in "other voices"- an octave fill comes in on the 3rd time the chords go round when you'd expect it on the 2nd or 4th time.

    some AC/DC songs also have little rhythmic variations to a simple root note (i'm thinking of songs on the Razor's edge album).

    another example- The Stranglers "how to find true love and happiness in the present day"- the bridge, where a pitch gets one 8th note, then two 8ths, then three 8ths.
    they did a more complicated version on "four horsemen" where a pitch gets one 8th, then two, three, four, five, six, and then back the other way:D -quite a test of timing and ensemble playing.
  13. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Stevie's "Master Blaster" is a little like that for me. It might be the bouncy sort of reggae rhythm, or the fact that I suck, but for some reason, it actually presents more of a technical challenge than I originally thought that it would.
  14. One song that comes immediately to mind is 46 and 2 by Tool. I've been working on that one for years and still can't get all the timing and changes worked out in the right order. I also at one point made the mistake of thinking that I could memorize the entire version of Whipping Post off the Allmans first live album.
  15. I've just read rumours that Andy Fraser died of AIDS last week :eek:

    no official confirmation, so I doubt it's true, but it's quite freaky that we were discussing his bassplaying around that time....
  16. baba

    baba Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2002
    3rd stone from the sun
    All things Aston Barrett.
  17. Livin on a prayer (Bon Jovi) - sounds easy, but both hands need to get busy damping E and A strings to keep it clean. do-able, no prob, but not as easy as it sounds to do well
  18. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    I remember the first time I tried to play along with Rod Stewart's "Do You Think I'm Sexy?," thinking it's just an easy 70's octave part with two notes on top instead of one. My hands got sore and started fumbling and losing the rhythm in less than a minute :(