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Tom Scholz of Boston ---- any love here for his bass lines ?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Bass301, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. Bass301


    Jul 13, 2008
    Although Tom Scholz is best known as a guitarist and songwriter for Boston, have you ever listened to the bass lines he wrote for the songs ?

    In life he was first a pianist (left hand as bass line) then started playing guitar relatively late in his development.

    My understanding is the Boston songs' bass lines for at least the first two albums, and probably more, were written by Scholz.

    I find the basslilnes very melodic and contoured, adding quite a good dimension to the songs.

    Any commentary and music theory analysis about the Boston basslines style would be welcomed.
  2. Tanner5382


    Sep 26, 2010
    Canton, GA
    He also played most of the bass on the first album.
  3. tomshepp

    tomshepp Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2006
    Maynard MA
    I wouldn't be surprised if he actually played bass on the recordings. I know someone who was very close to him who confides that Scholtz was obsessive about every note on those records.
  4. bloobass


    Jul 10, 2012
    Louisville, KY
    I think the bass playing on Boston's first album is great. They can provide a challenge to learn and are fun to play. I recently had to learn "Smokin" and "Rock n Roll Band" for a show. Once I dug in and really started listening, I was blown away by some of the runs and phrasing.
  5. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Tom is a guy who showed more of an understanding of bass as an integral part of the music than most guitarists.

    The Boston bass lines have that guitar player feel in many places, where you knew it was a guitarist playing bass, but at the same time a lot of the stuff had that adept melodic Bassist feel Intertwined within the music, it worked, and a lot of it was very tough to play live. We played a lot of Boston in the 80's.

    I am a huge fan of Boston, and have been since the first time I heard them in the late 70's. Awesome music.
  6. Bass301


    Jul 13, 2008
    How accurate are the bass transcripts in the "Boston Bass Collection" book , and also the bass lines in the public domain on the Guitar Pro song downloads from the Ultimate-Guitar website ?

  7. micgtr71


    Dec 4, 2012
    I didn't realize this. I always thought it was Sheehan. Those bass lines are wonderful. I love the bass during the solo in Rock and Roll Band. Also, this was the first time I heard a low D in a song. Excellent bass playing.
  8. Bass301


    Jul 13, 2008
  9. A lot of love here. I thought he was a good guitarist but great bassist. What I've read and hear leads me to believe he played bass on the first three releases. The bass playing style remained even after Fran Sheehan left during the recording of Third Stage. Agree with Musiclogic, I generally find guitarists make dull bassists (another exception would be Yngwie Malmsteen's Trilogy) but Tom put a lot of great 70's bass playing feel to his songs and refrained from being wooden.
  10. steelbed45

    steelbed45 TRemington Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2011
    Nolanville, TX
    I had to learn "Rock 'n Roll Band" for a Berklee course and really enjoyed it. Bonus was recording my line using my old Bass Rockman from the mid 80's.
  11. RichardCranium

    RichardCranium Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2009
    Boynton Bch FL
    Agreed that he's a rare guitarist that "gets" bass playing there's some tasty stuff on those records.

    From what I've read all of the first record is Tom, Brad, and the drummer whose name escapes me at the moment. The only exception is Let Me Take You Home Tonight which was done in LA as a cover story while Tom was back home doing it by himself. I would guess all of the second and third records are all him.
  12. My understanding is that Scholtz did play all the recorded bass on at least the first two records. I like the playing just fine, suits the music well. Boston was one of my favorite bands growing up.
  13. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I think the bass on those first 2 albums is really good and deceptively challenging. I know I haven't bothered to "really" learn them yet.

    Off to iTunes...
  14. ronlitz


    Apr 20, 2008
    Northern Virginia
    I'm practically obsessed with Tom's bass lines on the first album. Not just the playing, but the tone. IMO, one the best rock bass tones (and mixes) ever.

    Awesome interview with Tom in the January 2013 Bass Player magazine (volume 24, number 1) - and a transcription for "Hitch A Ride". Tom goes into a little detail on the recording of Boston bass (Gibson EB-0 with a Jazz pickup added, played with a pick, Rotosound strings, considerable EQ before compression, then more EQ).
  15. +1

    I was floored when I learned that Fran Sheehan (an accomplished long-time professional) did NOT play the bass parts on the first album (and maybe little-to-none on the second?). Sheehan really nailed those lines live (I saw them twice BEFORE "More Than A Feeling" hit, and a few times after).
  16. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I always really liked the bass lines in Boston's songs. Those first two Boston albums were something else. I never really knew whether it was Tom or Fran playing on those albums. Although, I have a theory that if you're last name is "Sheehan," then you're automatically an awesome bass player, since Fran, Billy, and Bobby (R.I.P.) Sheehan all kick major bum on the bass geetar. :D

    You can really tell that every bass note is meant to fit perfectly in Boston's songs; yet it never sounds forced or mechnical in the way Ric Savage's perfect note-by-note bass lines did on Hysteria. It's almost like the Paul McCartney approach to AOR. I'm surprised to hear that those lines were played with a pick, because they sound very much like they were done pizzicato. Learn something new everyday!
  17. RickC

    RickC Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2005
    Count me in. I love the bass work on those records.

  18. SactoBass

    SactoBass There are some who call me.......Sactobass Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    Sacramento CA
    Much respect!

    I always enjoy playing the bass to Peace of Mind.
  19. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    Tons of love here.

    I have followed Tom since the first album. His music is my all time favorite. His bass work is outstanding.
  20. matti777


    Dec 13, 2007
    Edmonton, Canada
    +1 great tone. I've wondered how they got those notes to vibrate like that.