Paul McCartney and his Basses

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by JD Supernatural, Feb 21, 2012.


  1. Blazer

    Blazer

    Nov 27, 2003
    The Netherlands
    Rogue luthier employed at Knooren Handcrafted bass guitars
    In all probability his Rickenbacker.
    0ffc5eebb39a2cbed461e011da2b24dc.jpg
    This picture was taken in 1969, probably during the "McCartney" sessions.
     
    bobyoung53 and TomB like this.
  2. bbjonz

    bbjonz Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2004
    Tucson, AZ
    I posted this pic a few pages up. It's from the recent "Abbey Road" super deluxe reissue set.
     
    Steve Boisen likes this.
  3. Blazer

    Blazer

    Nov 27, 2003
    The Netherlands
    Rogue luthier employed at Knooren Handcrafted bass guitars
    Ah sorry, my bad.
     
  4. bbjonz

    bbjonz Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2004
    Tucson, AZ
    No worries. I'm sure Macca used the Ric on "McCartney," too. Pics during those recording sessions show him with a fairly full beard. I know he did some promo shots with a left-handed, burst Telecaster but I don't recall any with a bass.
     
    bobyoung53 likes this.
  5. Skokiaan

    Skokiaan

    Jun 19, 2004
    New Jersey
    Here is one.

    62bfbd18af2dcd52dec72594de6158de.jpg
     
    bobyoung53 likes this.

  6. It looks like he had tape wounds on it, what happened to "bright shiny silver things"?
     
  7. mark107

    mark107

    Jul 10, 2009
    I believe the answer is simple. McCartney was first and foremost, a songwriter. And he wrote on guitar for the most part. My assumption here is that if he wrote a song on the guitar using a capo, the quick and easy move for him to be able to play it on the bass would have been to put the capo on the same fret as where he had it on the guitar. That is not to say that the capo remained for the actual tracking of the song, but maybe only as an early pass with a bass newly in his hands. This makes sense to me. So, what song was that? It could well be Michelle, as that song had the capo pretty high up on the guitar. And seeing as it's his song, I rest my case :)
     
    ICM likes this.
  8. Pretty sure these photos are from Michelle. That makes perfect sense what you’re saying, its the most logical answer. He wrote the song on capo 5 on guitar, worked it out real quick on bass using the capo as a reference point and then ditched it for the official recording.
     
  9. Skokiaan

    Skokiaan

    Jun 19, 2004
    New Jersey
    He's got tapewounds on his Ric here in 1972.

     
    ICM and bobyoung53 like this.
  10. winterburn69

    winterburn69

    Jan 27, 2008
    Saskatchewan
    Most likely his Rickenbacker. Although possibly his Höfner which he has started using again in 1969 (for Let it Be & a few on Abbey Road)

    McCartney was mostly recorded at his house, so probably not.
     

  11. He's finger plucking too.
     
  12. bbjonz

    bbjonz Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2004
    Tucson, AZ
    Interesting that he'd have tapewounds during Abbey Road (summer '69), flats for McCartney (early '70), and then tapewounds again in that '72 video (which is pretty cool, BTW). Note too that the upper horn has been sanded by the '72 video--no more protrusion (or whatever one might call it). Can't imagine that he changed bass strings often. I don't suppose he had two Rics? Prolly not...
     
  13. Skokiaan

    Skokiaan

    Jun 19, 2004
    New Jersey
    He doesn't have a second 4001S, so it's the same bass. The mods are fairly well documented.
     
    nixdad likes this.
  14. bbjonz

    bbjonz Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2004
    Tucson, AZ
    Yes, they are. For example, here. Just curious about the string changes for a guy who probably hasn't changed his own strings since 1963...
     
  15. southpaw723

    southpaw723

    Oct 20, 2013
    Pittsburgh
    Because helter skelter was Paul! I’m not gonna win this argument though. But you can hear in the deluxe white album Paul singing along to a bass part in a demo at the :11 mark
     
    StereoPlayer likes this.
  16. southpaw723

    southpaw723

    Oct 20, 2013
    Pittsburgh

    It’s odd how close the rick in dear prudence sounds to the tone in helter skelter. Very chunky/plunky
     
  17. mark107

    mark107

    Jul 10, 2009
    All these years I assumed that Dear Prudence was the Rick, but hearing it in isolation I would testify in court that that is a Fender Jazz bass. It's both pickups, all knobs up all the way, bridge cover (with neoprene rubber mute), the stock Fender F80 flats, just like from the factory.

    The "sonic fingerprint" of any guitar or bass is cemented by the physical location of the pickups, even more than what the pickups actually are. If you put two J pickups into a Rick, but maintained their original (Rick) position, it would still sound like a Rick. If you took a J bass, and relocated the pickups to where Rick places them, it certainly would not sound like a J anymore. So I would bet a large amount of money that this is the J. I'm kinda shocked actually.
     
    Steve Boisen likes this.
  18. mark107

    mark107

    Jul 10, 2009
    I agree with this. Macca singing that little piece while the bass plays the identical rhythmic figure makes this an open and shut case.
     
  19. I don't agree. Every source, including the book in the 50th Anniversary remix edition of the White Album, says John is on bass here. The playing sounds way too sloppy to be Paul, and the tone sounds more like a Bass VI than a Jazz to me. There's a certain quality to it that makes me think of the lower-tension strings on the Bass VI. The guitar solo is obviously Paul, though.
     
  20. bbjonz

    bbjonz Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2004
    Tucson, AZ
    I agree. In fact, if I ever meet Macca and am allowed to ask one question, it would be, “Which bass did you use on Dear Prudence?” (Not that he would remember...) And if I’m allowed a follow up: “What happened to that ‘66 Jazz Bass?”

    As a lifelong Jazz Bass player, and having owned many models from a pristine ‘62 (which I still have) to current MIA models (and everything in between), the sonic quality sounds like a Jazz to me and we know for a fact the Jazz shows up during the WA sessions. Prudence was recorded at Olympic Studios, likely because it had one of the first 8-track machines in London, which means the sessions were poorly documented, or at least not nearly as well as those at Abbey Road. So we might never know unless Sir Paul tells us. And I’m sure you know he played drums on DP, too. Ringo, uh, went on holiday for a couple of weeks...
     
    Steve Boisen likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jun 23, 2021

Share This Page