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Verdine White Question

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Dr. Cheese, Dec 14, 2011.


  1. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Did he use flatwounds on the later EWF albums, say after 1975? I'm sure he used them on the earlier albums, but I'm not sure about the later ones. Either way, I always loved how he sounded so tight and punchy.
     
  2. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
  3. MixBass

    MixBass

    Feb 23, 2006
    L.A. Harbor
    Co-founder. GrabAxe
    I don't know the answer but...I was transcribing some Verdine the other day. He has that slippery way of making a fretted bass sound fretless. I hadn't thought of it before but perhaps flats have a tiny bit to do with that, just a guess.
     
  4. froghat

    froghat Supporting Member

    Jun 14, 2009
    Rhinebeck, NY
    I've been wondering about Verdine's incredible vibrato too. I just can't seem to get that much out of a fretted bass. How does he do it?
     
  5. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I know Verdine has a background in doublebass. I suspect that either doublebass or cello training is at the root of his vibrato.
     
  6. esa372

    esa372

    Aug 7, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    It seems to me that he is miming in that clip...

    :bassist:
     
  7. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    ...don't know. Trust me, I have been quick to point out otherwise, too.
    This bass tone is more gnarly than the recorded version of "Serpentine Fire".
    There are also a couple of bass fills not on the recorded version.
     
  8. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    Would you give an EW&F tune example...
     
  9. esa372

    esa372

    Aug 7, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    Agreed, but there are at least three moments in that clip where his hand position does not match the audio.
     
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  11. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Same here... it's been a pet peeve of mine since I had seen him live early in his career and knew how amazing he could be. I saw him dance from one side of the stage to the other repeatedly and never miss a beat.


    That performance is a different groove from the original recordini so I'd guess they would've had to tape that and the rest of that band would have to synch to it. It all "sounds" live to me. Not saying it was impossible but back in 1978? I seriously doubt it.
    His upright background would lead to more open string use than most electric only players. Based on the poor quality of that video, I can't say what he might be "missing" as far as hand position. He's playing a lot of it in lower registers than the original recording (even parts that I originally thought were higher upon first listen) and it's far busier too IMO.
     
  12. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Those high register trills were one of my favorite things about him back in the day.

    You have to get your hand in position just in time and then rapidly move it side to side in a very tight motion. Easier said than done.

    To practice, try this: with your fretting hand palm up, press your index finger and thumb together and then see how quickly you can shake your hand side to side it in motion less than a quarter of an inch wide. You're on your way.
    :D

    It's also handy for winding an automatic watch.
    ;)
     
  13. just did a little "bass karaoke" along w/the vid and he's definitely nailing a fair amoung of open string notes in there so my money's on that's a "for real" recording.

    Now I'm supposed to go back and play some country tunes I have to learn after playing along to EWnF? Oy.....:D
     
  14. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    There can be just as much fun in simpler lines. Not to get all zen on ya.
    ;)
     
  15. no worries and no slam on country, love it, just gotta shift gears back to that headspace :bassist:
     
  16. esa372

    esa372

    Aug 7, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    I never suggested a tape was being used - could be another player backstage (?) ...I really wouldn't know.

    But, either way, there are times when I hear 1st string upper register, while his hand is on the 4th string lower register.
    (Check out 1:20, 1:32, 1:35, 2:03, 2:44 - all moments where things just don't add up.)

    Now, just for the record, I dig Verdine - I even list him as a major influence on my own playing... but, I also know that "the show" was sometimes more important to him than playing, and that he would sometimes make "arrangements" to accommodate his steppin'.

    :bassist:
     
  17. we're very much on the same page :cool:

    I believe he's using standard tuning unless my bass is out of whack, which I suppose means it's that time of year to retune again :D
     
  18. Ross Kratter

    Ross Kratter Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 31, 2010
    New York, NY
    Artist, RS Berkeley, La Bella Strings and Phil Jones Bass Amplification
    Exactly. I believe he was actually in the Chicago Symphony before he moved to LA to join EWF. I've noticed the last two times I saw them live that he uses DB fingerings on electric bass, as in 124 (Simandl). The vibrato definitely comes right from that as well. And by the way, he definitely does not mime. Period. Both times I saw them I was just a few rows back from the stage, and every note I heard was what he was fingering.
     
  19. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I never said you suggested a tape was used. I guess we're even.
    :cool:

    If you think he's not playing, by all means run with that.

    Just for grins I went back and looked at the first three times you listed. On my computer I see a pretty crappy 240P resolution clip. Full screen on a 42" monitor. I hear the song in what appears to be Db instead of the original C. The highest register note I hear him playing is the octave of that Db.

    I had pulled out my Electra MPC Outlaw 4 string before to see how high I'd have to go on a four. Not very... 6th fret on the G string for the highest note. If that's considered upper register, cool.

    Plus I don't know how he had his bass tuned.

    So... bad picture, sounds just like Verdine (which is why I said tape vs. ghost player), can't really see his fingers, notes aren't really very high... I'm still going with live. YMV. I AM NOT SAYING YOU ARE WRONG. I AM SAYING I DON'T SEE IT. And I know he sometimes did not play live ( I mentioned it earlier in the thread) and I don't know when that started but that sounds like Verdine playing live to me. Hopeful that that clears this up.
    :cool:
     
  20. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Another seasonal tuner. Glad to meet you!
    :D
     

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