paul mccartney/beatles question

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by youngmanhood, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. youngmanhood


    Dec 13, 2009
    does anyone know of any website or anything I could see a timeline of his basses and when they were used I know he used a hofner and a rickenbacker and I'd love to have his sound in my arsenal for whenever I'm playing anything boppy and thumpy like beatles so just trying to figure out what i want to get.
  2. The short story: Hofner until 1966 and Rick after that. He has used a number of basses including a Yamaha, but that's the short story.
  3. thisSNsucks

    thisSNsucks I build Grosbeak Guitars and Basses Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 19, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    Grosbeak Guitars
    I'd be interested to know too.

    I know Sir Paul has rocked a Hofner, Rick, Jazz (in studio) a Yamaha BB (with Wings) and a Wal 5er I think, all at certain points in his career.
  4. youngmanhood


    Dec 13, 2009
    one other question, is there anything im missing not having a rick that i can't get from my jazz? I can get my jazz pretty thumpy for whenever i wanna do the sort of hop bop bass that the beatles are known for... but I figured maybe id ask see if theres a bunch im missing for that sort of sound not having a rick
  5. vanscoy


    Nov 30, 2007
    You know, this question has been asked a million times here and you get a million different answers. I was recently listening to the isolated basslines from the "cracked" Beatles Rockband .mogg files and, having heard "Hey Bulldog" isolated, I was struck how much his Rick sounded like my Jazz strung with Fender flats. After hearing a bunch of "Rick" songs, I am convinced the key to Paul's "tone" is his aggressive picking combined with kind of muting. He REALLY hits those strings hard in Hey Bulldog
  6. dminer


    Nov 26, 2007
    No one knows for sure except Paul, but it's widely believed that he used the mute on his Ric quite a bit from 66-68...unless your jazz bass is a really vintage model with the mutes you might want to experiment with some foam shoved under the strings near the bridge to try and replicate a muted sound. In the Revolution video Paul is clearly playing a Hofner with a large piece of foam as a mute. He also palm muted.
  7. Fab4ever


    Nov 28, 2005
    The Hofnerites here and elsewhere will tell you you absolutely need a Hofner to cop early Beatles tone (and, with tapewounds, the Get Back/Let It Be tone).

    But as many have said, Paul actually used a number of basses throughout his career, including a Jazz (While My Guitar Gently Weeps among others). His Wings period included plenty of time with the Wal (check out "Figure of Eight" from the wonderful and underrated "Flowers in the Dirt" album).

    Still, I find the classic Paul Beatles tone to be the Rick, with compression, a la "Come Together," "Rain," "Paperback Writer" and "Something."

    Good comments above about his technique and use of the mutes. Also -- his Rick had the old-school toaster pickup in the neck, and he generally used the neck-only setting. Plus, he often plucked the strings (with a pick, but not always) very near the neck, resulting in a fuller, less pingy sound.
  8. As a Beatle, the Rick did dominate from 1966 but his Hofner still got
    some use (I'm Only Sleeping, [DEL]She Said, She Said,[/DEL] Something, I Want
    You). He also used a Fender Jazz Bass (Glass Onion, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,
    While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Yer Blues, Sexy Sadie, Oh! Darling, Sun
    King, Mean Mr. Mustard).
  9. With Wings, he played the Ric on the '76 Wings Over America tour, but the photos with the Band on the Run album show him playing a right-handed sunburst Jazz Bass with a rosewood board and pearl inlays, upside-down. This would be a different bass, obviously, than the lefty '66 Jazz shown on the website mentioned above.
  10. mccartneyman


    Dec 22, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Managing Editor, Bass Guitars Editor,
    The story I heard on the righty Jazz bass was that it was in the EMI studio in Lagos when the band arrived. Denny Laine said McCartney picked it up and played it without restringing. If you check the Wings Over American video, I think you'll see that Paul used a pick between the two PUPS -- he had removed the rear PUP cover. There is still some debate about what bass was used on which songs on the later LPs, especially Abbey Road.
  11. jackajesusfreak


    Mar 5, 2009
    For me, the thing that made Paul a notch above the other bass players, was his ability to play those classic lines and patterns while singing lead most of the time. Kind of like a lead guitar playing a lead lick and trying to sing at the same time. (Obviously not an apples to apples comparison, but definitely difficult to do)
  12. plangentmusic

    plangentmusic Inactive

    Jun 30, 2010
    I've heard varying stories (from interviews with Paul) of how he'd go back and forth to the Hofner (after several repairs). At the time he recorded Sgt. Pepper he was using the RIck but it actually sounds quite a bit like a Hofner -- due probably to flat wound strings, using just the front pu and...well, the way Paul plays.
  13. Chrisk-K


    Jan 20, 2010
    AZ, USA
    Sir Paul started to play a Yamaha BB after the Wings disbanded.

    That's Danny Laine's bass. Paul didn't bring a bass to Nigeria to record BotR but Danny did. He borrowed it from Danny and recorded the album without re-stringing the bass.
  14. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    My Dog Sam Eats Purple Flowers
    Also some of the bass lines were played by John and George, using either a jazz or a Fender vi.
  15. DeanT

    DeanT Send lawyers, guns and money...

    It's actually Denny, not Danny.
  16. Ephi82


    Jan 30, 2010
    It's pretty hard to replicate what a Hofner sounds like using a quality solid body bass.

    IMO it's a tribute to his incredible talent that he was able to get that bass to sound as good as it did, so having a Hofner alone wont get you there. Having played a few, my guess is that it would be an expensive and frustrating experiment.

    Its also very hard to tell what he is playing in many of the later Beatles recordings.

    Unlike many others, McCartney didn't often use or emphasize the Ric's unique cutting tone. I wonder how much influence Martin and Emerick had on this?

    If the books are right, IMO, many (not all) of the songs recorded with the Ric sound deep and round, like a Fender and not like a Ric.

    Bottom line:

    Paul always sounded like Paul no matter what he was playing!
  17. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Inactive

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    I'll state this upfront: I WAS NOT THERE!

    Reportedly and confirmed by McCartney, McCartney did NOT play bass on She Said, She Said.

    McCartney does not appear on the track: the bass is played by Harrison. McCartney said, "I'm not sure but I think it was one of the only Beatle records I never played on. I think we had a barney or something and I said, 'Oh, **** you!', and they said, 'Well, we'll do it.'" (Miles, Barry (1997). Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now. New York: Henry Holt & Company. ISBN 0-8050-5249-6.)

    There was a Burns Nu-Sonic Bass around during this period that Harrison had.


    Speculate at will. :D

    I'm not convinced the bass line on Something was played on a Hofner.

  18. Staccato

    Staccato Low End Advocate Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2009
    A foam mute's purpose limits sustain and ambient volume? Wondering if muting would affect recorded sounds through pickups AND unwanted sound picked up on voice mics.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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