1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Sir Paul

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Bigwig, Apr 2, 2006.

  1. Bigwig


    Dec 27, 2003
    I've got a couple questions about Paul Mccartney.
    Did he use a pick? or finger style?
    And since alot of the greatest of beatles tracks were after they were done touring, and they had no need to play any songs live, did he write his basslines before or after his vocals?
    Whenever I listen to beatles tracks i try to break down just how they came up with what they did, (although they might have been on some wild drugs when doing so).
    The second question may not be possible to answer, but I'm sure most of you know the second one.
  2. paul n

    paul n

    May 6, 2005
    Arden, NC
    Both, but primarily pick. At least I've seen more photos and video of him palying with a pick than with fingers.

    I think he wrote/writes primarily on guitar and maybe piano. As for when the lyrics got/get writen, I think it depends on the song. I know with "Yesterday" he had the melody and such worked out well before he came up with the lyrics (wich suposedly came to hime in a dream). I believe he writes the bass lines latter, after the song is worked out. I remeber reading something along the lines of, he liked it latter on after they got the better multi-track recorders, because he could wait till the other tracks were done before he had to write his basslines. I'm sure it didn't always work out that way but hey, there it is...

    ~Paul :)
  3. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    I only remember one live Beatles video (I think they're playing "She Loves You") in which Paul can be seen plucking the strings with his thumb. Aside from that, I've always seen him using a pick.

    Actually, just the melody came from a dream and later he put a provisional set of lyrics to it:

    Scrambled Eggs,
    Have an omelette with some Muenster cheese,
    Put your dishes in the washbin please,
    So I can clean the scrambled eggs.

    Join me, do,
    There's a lot of eggs for me and you,
    I've got ham and cheese and bacon too,
    So go get two and join me do.

    Fried or sunny side,
    Just aren't right,
    The mix-bowl begs,
    Quick, go get a pan, and we'll scramble up some eggs, eggs, eggs, eggs.

    Scrambled eggs,
    Good for breakfast, dinner time or brunch,
    Don't buy six or twelve, buy a bunch,
    And we'll have a lunch on scrambled eggs.

    And a short variation:

    "Scrambled eggs / Oh my darling you've got lovely legs"...
    nixdad likes this.
  4. oldfclefer

    oldfclefer low ended

    May 5, 2005
    Southern Ohio
    I'm sure as with most songwriters, each song's lyric, melody, and music came into being in the order that he was inspired on that particular day, and on certain songs, I'm sure he went back and changed things later too.

    Since he changed from being a guitarist, he was a pick player on bass. The great thing about Mac is that he really understood the role of bass unlike many guitarists who try to play bass.
    nixdad likes this.
  5. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I just picked up Geoff Emerick's book about his days recording The Beatles.
    At the time of Sgt. Peppers, Emerick & the band knew they were finished as a live act...so, the studio became more than just a recording tool & the horizons of what was possible increased.
    At this time, McCartney began staying way later to put the bass parts down last. IMO, he may have had a notion of what he wanted...staying late while the others were gone did allow him to experiment & get creative with it.
    Emerick sez this was a good time watching Paul grow & mature as Rock bassist.

    It does some like some of the mind-enhancing drugs led to some good & not-so-good/crazy ideas.
    Sometimes, it was just the fact that John liked a certain poster("Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite"), sometimes it was pure "serendipity"(Emerick's word for luck)...like the time the alarm clock rings precisely as Paul sings "Got up, got out of bed" during his 1/2 of "A Day In The Life".
    For that long chromatic dissonant climb in "A Day In The Life"...Lennon suggested something powerful, McCartney thought of using a FULL orchestra, martin said that would be too expensive, Ringo joked, "Why not hire 1/2 & have them play it twice"?
    Everyone looked at each other since that was 'genuis' (& now possible with overdubbing/extar tracks).

    Check out Emerick's book.
    He didn't seem at all impressed with George's solos(until the end)...McCartney usually nailed the guitar solos in 1-2 takes.
    Lennon's drug use took its toll on his energy.
    Yoko was a piece of work.
    Martin was not a good leader when it mattered most(White Album sessions...basically, 4 'solo' albums' under The Beatles' name.
    Phil Spector comes across like a total dickwad.

    Good book!
    nixdad likes this.
  6. paul n

    paul n

    May 6, 2005
    Arden, NC
    I've a quite a few picks of him using two fingers down by the end of the neck. Of course I've seen way more of him using a pick.

    I understood that he worked out the melody, put those throw-away/filler lyrics to it untill he could come up with some realy lyrics. Then he woke up one day with a song stuck in his head, but he had no idea who had writen it, but it fit the "Scrambled Eggs" melody. He asked around and no had ever heard the song before so he figured he must have come up with them him self. And hence the most recorded song in history was born :) Of course I'm sure there's a few versions of that story floating 'round,just like most Beatles folklore.

    ~Paul :)
    nixdad likes this.
  7. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    As much as I love Paul, I fear that these days he would have stuck with the Scrambled Eggs lyrics. He's released worse than that. Ahem, "Biker Like An Icon" cough, cough.
  8. zack01


    Aug 3, 2002
    Sometimes it seems that Paul was even better guitarr player then George...It was Paul who played the guitarr solo on Ticket to Ride he also played on Taxman. On the song srg pepper ....it took george about 5 hours to come up with a guitarr part...Mccartney didnt like it and so he did the guitarr part himself in 40mins....
  9. Alex E

    Alex E

    Mar 2, 2006
    Paul definitely had some great ideas on guitar. I think he was more spontaneous than George and probably more innately talented.

    On "Blackbird", how the heck did he come up with the idea to write the guitar line in ascending 10ths on the verse and descending 10ths on the chorus, all the while peddling the open 'G' string on alternating notes? Simply genius. The 'Taxman' solo is quick, but pretty demanding and just different in structure.
    I love his guitar solos on "Fixing a Hole" and "The End". They are very cool and have a great tone. The lead guitar work, which is all Paul on the entire "Band on the Run" album, is very good.

    Interestingly, all the drum work on 'Band on the Run' is Paul, too.

    Underrated musical stud? :bassist: I think so!

    Unfortunately, I do agree with an above post that his lyrics have gotten really sloppy at times over the years. I don't know if that is a deliberate effort to distance himself from John or if he just got lazy.
    nixdad likes this.
  10. plexibass


    Jun 30, 2005
    emericks book is essential

    anthology [book & dvd]

    beatles recording sessions- recently reissued book

    beatles gear

    all 4 of these books will answer your questions and then some.
    nixdad likes this.
  11. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Emerick sure agrees. After reading his book, it is obvious to me that Emerick was not a fan of George's guitar solo work with The Beatles.

    Emerick was there for that, too...in EMI's studios in Nigeria.
    Wings' drummer & guitarist quit right before that recording was to commence.
    Some funny stuff in Emerick's book about recording that album in the 3rd World.
  12. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    and to return to the original post, the cover of Geoff Emerick's book clearly shows Paul playing with fingers.
  13. paul n

    paul n

    May 6, 2005
    Arden, NC
    With a pick:




    Incidentaly, this ws the ONLY Pic I could find on the web of Paul playing with fingers, and he's miming along to a track, not really playing. I did a google image search for: "Paul McCartney", "McCartney", and "Beatles", and went through roughly 20 +/- pages of picks per search

    That said, there's a bunch of picks of Paul playing with fingers in the Beatles Gear book. He did play with fingers, and some times with his thumb, but mostly with a pick.

    Of course it's WHAT he played (musicaly), not HOW he played it that matters.

    ~Paul :)
    nixdad likes this.
  14. Alex E

    Alex E

    Mar 2, 2006

    Hi Jim,
    Where can one find Emerick's book? I'll bet it's interesting. That guy's opinions are very valid, and yes, I did know he was at the B.O.T.R sessions in Lagos, Nigeria.

    I'll bet was Paul was regretting the decision to record in Lagos almost immediately. Especially after he and Linda got mugged one night.
  15. plexibass


    Jun 30, 2005
    any book store will have it as it is really new
  16. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Yep, it just came out in March '06. $26 US Dollars for the hard cover. Be aware: There's no pictures except what is on the dust cover.
    I'm still plodding through...I started with Chapter 7, "The Making Of Revolver" & went through until the book's end. Now I'm going back through the early days.

    Interesting...tell you what, he doesn't seem to be impressed with Harrison's guitar playing at all.
    I didn't realize the solo in "A Hard's Day Night" was overdubbed while the backing track played at 1/2 speed...& there were others, too.
    And Emerick is definitely a big fan of Paul.

    ...and it's always fun reading about Magic Alex!

Share This Page