Top 3 tips for a NOOB learning Rush's "Anthem"

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Armchair Bronco, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. Armchair Bronco

    Armchair Bronco Guest

    Jun 10, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Somehow, I managed to convince my 14-year-old son to take up the bass again. He used to play Nirvana covers with his younger brother about 4 years ago. :thu:

    Anyway, I got him started learning Rush's "Anthem" from 1975, and he's hooked. Loves the song and the challenge of learning a fairly difficult bass part.

    What are 3 or 4 tips he should keep in mind while he's learning his chops?

    This version on YouTube is pretty good:

    Anthem Bass Cover - YouTube
  2. chris lykins

    chris lykins Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2004
    phoenix az
    thanks for the link!
  3. Armchair Bronco

    Armchair Bronco Guest

    Jun 10, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    If you like the link, then give me a tip I can pass on to my kid!
  4. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Practice, practice, practice. Aside from having formal lessons, the best advice is to keep playing. Scales are important, as is proper technique- a teacher is always the best way to go.
  5. Phantasm

    Phantasm I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.

    Sep 16, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Man, I hope when my son's 14 he's trying to learn Rush covers! He's got a Rush onesie already.

    Son, if you're reading this 13 years, 2 months from now... I will love you always even if you don't play bass. :)
  6. labrador

    labrador Guest

    Apr 12, 2012
    My son is 9 I just bought him a Squire jazz for his birthday. He's been listening to Rush since he was born and loves limelight.

    Anthem is a fantastic song!!
  7. number11


    Jun 17, 2010
  8. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    My tips.

    1. I disagree with the digging in part. While I don't know all that much about Geddy's playing style, I knew a guy in a Rush tribute that absolutely nailed every part, and he barely touched the strings. I believe Geddy to have the same technique, but I might be very wrong. Regardless, digging in will only make it harder to nail.

    2. While the video is great and may be of some help, I think using Windows media player (or similar mp3 player) will be more beneficial. In learning challenging stuff I slow it down a couple of notches so I can play it. I play the parts relentlessly, countless times at the slower speed, then move it up a notch. I keep doing the same till I nail it with no problem. Then I start speeding it up for fun, and to really drill it in. Transcribe is a great program to do this with also. And you can isolate parts to repeat if you download that. It's free... you'll have to search for it though.

    3. Take it a little piece at a time. It'll get easier as he moves forward.

    4. While I don't think tabs are the greatest thing to learn with, for some fast and challenging stuff I don't think it's an altogether horrible idea to buy a cheat book. One of the published ones though. NOT INTERNET TAB!!!! The published books are usually on the money, with an occasional position or open note change needed. Not good to become dependent upon though. Better just for tough and stuck spots.
  9. number11


    Jun 17, 2010
    Hi Joe

    there's footage of Geddy lamenting his sore middle finger, as it is his " loud bastid". I'd be fairly sure he plays hard with his right hand, middle finger specifically. there's a "choking" of the string on the board sometimes, he hits it so hard.

    Just my 0.02 though.
  10. number11


    Jun 17, 2010
    Like Geddy had?

  11. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Bring Back Edit/Delete

    Nov 30, 2011
    Bay Area, CA
    Geddy is a great player, but also very unconventional. Yes, he plays extremely hard as confirmed on these boards a few years back by his tech for the S&A tour.

    I'd recommend trying to learn the parts applying "proper" technique first. For a learning player Geddy-style could circumvent some essential regular fundamentals.

    Anthem has some great little riffs that I believe can either be played around open strings or near the 5th/7th frets. New players will gravitate to the open string positions. Where possible, explore alternate fingering to see if you can bring more fingers and a larger portion of the fretboard into play.
  12. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    We know for a fact that Geddy digs in hard, and essentially uses one finger like it's a pick, however, that's not how he played when he recorded "Anthem." I read an interview where he said his current technique was developed in the nineties or so. I think he was more of a conventional fingerstyle player back then.

    Besides, you aren't just going to go after Geddy's exact sound; learn to play the song via the notes first. "Anthem" isn't that hard, really. Just take it line by line, and make sure you count it a bit, because there's a lot of start/stops in it, and you'll want to be where you're supposed to be.
  13. Armchair Bronco

    Armchair Bronco Guest

    Jun 10, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    For the record, my boy is anything but conventional. There's no teacher (other than me, and I'm a guitar player), and for him "technique" means hanging the bass as low as it can go so he looks like Krist Novoselic of Nirvana. :bassist:

    But, he likes using his thumb and first 2 fingers on his strumming hand, not a pick, so that's a good start I guess.

    The key I think is to mix in some rock classics (like Anthem) along with some modern songs that he likes. I'll learn the guitar parts (well, the rhythm parts, sans solos) and then we can jam together.

  14. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    Geddy is amazing at playing Geddy, but I wonder if he'd be able to play other bassists' songs with that technique. Have him learn it proper.
  15. Yeah geddy has some bad technique he has stated he does do bass tutorials or books as he doesnt want to pass on his technique and also he teaars his hands up on tour.

    That said everyone has there own style , I can play finger style but I absolutely hate it-I am a pick guy through and through and I am as about as good with right hand picking techinque as you can get, its just doing what you do.
  16. Armchair Bronco

    Armchair Bronco Guest

    Jun 10, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Awesome Star Wars reference!


    "How low can you go?"
  17. Personally I'd find hanging the bass that low (ala Novoselic) would make playing anything much more challenging that it needs to be - especially Rush - but there are plenty of low-slung bassists out there who prove me wrong daily so take that for what it's worth.

    Regarding Anthem - that is one of Rush's more accessible songs, in my opinion. It's "quick" - but the riff that sounds so quick is not all that hard if you play it up at the 5th and 7th fret and use pull-offs to roll 'em down. Once you get that part down, it almost happens by itself - but you do have to get your fingers used to that roll-off/pull-off technique.

    Also - getting that song to 'swing' up to tempo might be a challenge. As a matter of fact, that song is very quick in general and all of the licks, while they are not overly complex unto themselves, at that tempo and with that swing can get dicey.

    But on the whole all the lines and riffs are pretty straight forward. You just have to sit down, work 'em out and practice, practice, practice.
  18. The only tip I could give is to divide up the song into recurring motifs, learn them, and connect them together. Rush is essentially a riff band, and their songs are basically a collection of riff motifs. Once he learns Anthem get him to try Bastille Day, then 2112, and when he's ready, the ultimate Rush prog epic - Hemispheres. Once he learns Hemispheres he'll be able to play just about anything!