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The toughest Beatles song to learn

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Darkhorse1962, May 10, 2018.


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  1. I've been playing Beatles on bass for years. There are plenty of songs with a challenging bass line, likea Rain, Old Brown Shoe, Taxman.

    But the one song that confounds me to this day is Lovely Rita. For some reason I can't get that groove down

    Anyone else have trouble with that Beatles song or another one?
     
    nixdad and MuffledBoomy like this.
  2. ClusterFlux

    ClusterFlux

    Apr 11, 2018
    Revolution Number 9

    :D
     
    andruca, electracoyote, ICM and 5 others like this.
  3. Badwater

    Badwater

    Jan 12, 2017
    The hardest Beatles songs to learn are the ones I don't really groove to.
     
    mobdirt likes this.
  4. biguglyman

    biguglyman

    Jul 27, 2017
    Rochester, NY
    Been doing the Beatles thing for years too. Toughest one for me so far has been Nowhere Man.
     
    nixdad likes this.
  5. ElectroVibe

    ElectroVibe

    Mar 2, 2013
    I don't know but I loved learning "Rain".

    "Something" is one of my favorites. It's like an entire melody countering George's song. I haven't even attempted it, at least not on bass.
     
    nixdad, GregC and biguglyman like this.
  6. ElectroVibe

    ElectroVibe

    Mar 2, 2013
    I have attempted Nowhere Man too. That bassline is completely insane. I wonder how he came up with that.
     
    nixdad, Artman and Bassngtr like this.
  7. biguglyman

    biguglyman

    Jul 27, 2017
    Rochester, NY
    ...and I'm expected to sing backups too. That don't help...
     
  8. OldDog52

    OldDog52 Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    The isolated bass track for Nowhere Man was on YouTube for a while but it got pulled. The isolated version up there now is poor quality. Clearly someone has the good one but I’ve never been able to find it again. The cover versions don’t do it for me.
     
    nixdad likes this.
  9. OldDog52

    OldDog52 Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    Cry For a Shadow is a relatively obscure early Beatles instrumental with an awesomely-recorded bass track mixed up front. Sounds great if you have a subwoofer. :)

     
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
  10. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Minneapolis
    Most Beatles songs are ridiculously hard, and sound ridiculously easy. That's why they're legends. I've had drummers tell me how untalented Ringo is, only to mess up his time changes/fills/signature licks to the point where I question if they can play at all.

    On bass, a great example is Revolution. The walk in that bass part is simple, but I've heard a million bass players play it wrong, simply by not getting the nuance of the timing. Don't Let me Down is tricky. Something is difficult to keep track of, if you want to go note for note; even Come Together is a bit exacting (on bass AND drums!)

    Every Beatles song has very specific parts on guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and additional instruments. I haven't even addressed vocals yet.

    Harmonies are frequently messed up in cover versions; lead vocals are difficult, simply because two of the vocalists are among Rock's very finest, and the third, (George,) has a delicate, unique tone that adds nuance to the overall sound.

    I can't emphasize it enough: The Beatles are certainly not THE GREATEST BAND OF ALL TIME, (subjective,) however they are ONE OF THEM (not subjective; based on record sales, influence, songwriting and performances, there is simply no way to deny it)
     
  11. ClusterFlux

    ClusterFlux

    Apr 11, 2018
    While I concur that Ringo's drumming is frequently underrated, and getting the vocal harmonies correct can be tricky, the vast majority of Beatles compositions really are not that difficult to play. A cover band missing a few subtle things here and there doesn't really prove that the music is hard.

    At the risk of stating the obvious, most jazz compositions are significantly more complex than a typical Beatles tune. I doubt that a bassist who is a little bit off on the rhythms of "Come Together" will nail the bass parts to Coltrane's "Giant Steps" or Herbie Hancock's "Actual Proof." :D Even a lot of Beatles-influenced Prog Rock presents a greater technical challenge than the average Beatles track.
     
    nixdad likes this.
  12. Definitely learn it. It's a great bass line and sounds good just playing it solo.
     
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  13. OldDog52

    OldDog52 Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    Said it before. Saying it again. The vast majority of Beatles covers on YouTube are woefully inferior to the originals. You can say the songs are simple and uncomplicated and anyone can play them. Well there’s a huge difference between playing them, and playing them well.

    I love the bass tone in Cry a For a Shadow. I don’t know how they got that tone on tape. If you’re a bassist looking for a legit Beatles tune to cover, with the bass very prominent, but without the complication of also singing, there’s your song.
     
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  14. As for the hardest Beatles song to learn? Wow, there are so many and very few easy ones
    we could be here all week and still be debating the difficult from the most difficult


    "An old friend told me early on, if you want to be a great guitarist or bassist, buy the
    Beatles Song Book 'A to Z', or whatever it's called and learn every song in it.
    Having completed that, you will be able to play in most any genre, know most of the common and uncommon turnarounds, almost all the usual chords used in pop and then some not so common, you'll be able to rock, folk, shuffle, play the blues and most any style of pop music. The most important thing it will do will give you hand strength and the ability to change chords quickly and easily. Develop a sense of melody and chorus.
    Some Beatles songs have chord changes every other strum and some every strum.
    Pick out pretty much any pop song in the last 40 years and somewhere in that song will be something the Beatles already did. I'm sure there are entire songs that are 100% Beatlesque.
    'Lies' by the Knickerbockers comes to mind.



    'She's the One' ....and we can assume she was just 17, and you know what I mean
     
    MEKer, GrooverMcTube and mikewalker like this.
  15. dannylectro

    dannylectro

    Aug 2, 2010
    Atlanta, GA
    Penny Lane. That is all.
     
    nixdad likes this.
  16. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    A really fun song for me to learn was "And Your Bird Can Sing". Lots of nuanced/tricky stuff to play it just like Paul.
     
  17. biguglyman

    biguglyman

    Jul 27, 2017
    Rochester, NY
    Just learned it...and you are exactly right. What you say is true about a lot of McCartney's bass lines. Ex. Little Help
     
    Son of Wobble likes this.
  18. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Minneapolis
    Sorry, but what Beatles songs do you play proficiently? Please list them in order for your comments to have merit. As I said, it's one thing to talk about how simple Beatles songs are, but it's another thing to pull them off. 99% of musicians play Beatles covers TERRIBLY.

    Beatles compositions really are very very very difficult to play well. Cover bands don't "miss a few subtle things here and there." Cover bands typically BUTCHER most Beatles songs. Again, the trick that makes the Beatles one of the greatest bands of all time is how simple all their songs sound, but how terribly complicated they actually are.

    And not many audiences want to hear Giant Steps.
     
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  19. ClusterFlux

    ClusterFlux

    Apr 11, 2018
    Meaning what, those cover bands suck because they don't precisely mimic every iota of timbre from the recorded versions? Are you suggesting that every cover band perfectly nails "Whole Lotta Love" but is utterly incapable of playing "Eight Days a Week"?

    How many cover bands get "Superstition" correct, when you apply the same standards as with Beatles covers?

    Do you really think it's harder to play the bass line from "And I Love Her" than "YYZ" or "Tommy the Cat"?

    Is Paul McCartney a technically more proficient bassist than Jaco Pastorius, Chris Squier, James Jamerson, Tal Wilkenfeld, Tony Levin, or Pino Palladino?

    Come on.


    Meaning what, the bass line to "Giant Steps" is simple to play, because jazz has a smaller audience? You do realize that line of argument makes no sense whatsoever, right?
     
    Tbone76 and buldog5151bass like this.

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