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What's Dusty Hill really playing?

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by bumperbass, Nov 23, 2012.

  1. bumperbass


    Jun 19, 2012
    Guys (girls, too). Check out this video:

    and tell me what the heck Dusty Hill is playing...quarter or eighth notes? My band guys like playing this every now and then (not every night) and I swear, after listening to it a thousand times, I can't tell what he's doing, even when I listen to the original cut. The synth bass line playing along with his part sorta covers it up, plus he plays with very little definition in his tone.
    When we play this out live, I almost feel like I should be playing the synth part, but my hand probably would melt.
    Notice, on this video, it's the three of them playing, but there's another guitar playing offstage as well as the synth/keyboard guy offstage.
    Sort of cheating, but it's ZZ Top and they are two guys with beards with an incredible drummer. Frank Beard is one the classiest rock drummers around. Solid as a rock without overplaying.
  2. Stephent28

    Stephent28 Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    C470, CO
    Based on the speed of movement of his fingers I would say 8th notes..
  3. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
    Look at :46-:48 seconds. I don't think dusty is even turned on in that video, clearly they are playing along with backing tracks. The real question is why would anyone want to cover that song :)
  4. Evil Undead

    Evil Undead

    Oct 31, 2009
    Looks like quarters to me.
  5. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    If he were playing, it would be eighth notes.
  6. Evil Undead

    Evil Undead

    Oct 31, 2009
    Eights seems awfully fast.
  7. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Watch his fingers. It's half the speed of the underlying sixteenths.
    Larry McQueary likes this.
  8. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    That steady pulse is a synthesizer on the record.

    Although all three members of ZZ Top are credited with playing on the track, only Gibbons was actually present; engineer Terry Manning was responsible for all the musical parts save the lead guitar. However, David Blayney (ZZ Top stage manager for 15 years) explains in his book "Sharp Dressed Men" that the pumping synthesizer effect in "Legs" was introduced in pre-production by Linden Hudson.
  9. bumperbass


    Jun 19, 2012
    Wow! Some of you really think he's playing 8 notes to every one of Frank's kicks? I'd say 4 at the most, but my opinion doesn't mean any more than anyone else's. BUT, I think we could agree that he doesn't seem to have very much mids or highs in his tone, if we can't even HEAR what it is.

    @king biscuit, I don't know why we play it. It was on the list when I joined the band. I also thought they might be playing along with a backing track.
    Dusty Hill and Cliff Williams (AC/DC) both have muddy bass lines in a lot of their material. Sometimes I have problems identifying what Williams is playing (i.e. It's A Long Way To The Top).
  10. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
    LOL, you are a good sport bumper! :)
  11. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    No, not eight. Assuming the kick is on 1 and 3, he's playing four notes per kick. That's eighth notes. Two notes per beat. 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and ...
  12. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Tampa, FL.
    Well he's definitely not playing live in the video. Honestly, it sounds like he alters his pattern the entire song. Sometimes it's quarter notes with the kick, sometimes it's straight 8ths, and sometimes it's this bouncy, 16th note trill disco thing.
  13. Double E

    Double E I ain't got no time to play... Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2005
    Northeast Ohio
    Play what you like...what sounds good. I would rock 16th notes if there was no synth player in the band, to keep the familiar driving feel. It'd be a great workout.

    Great song, crowd pleaser for sure.
  14. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2000
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    This is the studio recording, everything is a little clearer here. It's a little hard to hear with all of Terry Manning's 16th note sequencing, but it seems like Frank Beard (anyone else see the irony of Frank being the only clean-shaven guy?) is playing 1/4 notes on the kick/snare and Dusty seems to be playing 8ths. These guys have toured with tracks since the Eliminator album came out (early 80s) so Dusty can play/not play at his leisure.

    At the time this was a huge hit and I could see why your band would cover it as it's a definite crowd pleaser fpr a certain age group. I would try 8ths and accent the downbeats and see if that works. Things will feel different without the sequence, so don't be afraid to go with what works for the band.
  15. garak7

    garak7 Irritating the Neighbors Since 1964 Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2010
    Bend, Oregon
    Agreed. When we used to cover it....long ago, I would play 16th notes with a pick in an effort to emulate the synth track.
  16. obimark


    Sep 1, 2011
    When I did this live I mixed it up, but I use a pick so playing the sixteenth notes isn't a problem, there is also some hammer-ons mostly from the 5th fret to 7th fret E, (A-string)
    I think he is playing but it is very low, looks like eight notes to me (at most).

    Looks like he hammers on sometimes, as well, from open D string even to second fret E. I think his bass is in the mix but it is VERY low...
    NOTHING wrong with this song at all, GREAT TUNE, that goes over well all the time, if you get the main guitars and drums/vocals right.
  17. nutdog

    nutdog when I'm a good dog they sometimes throw me a bone Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    in the dog house
    It looks like a fuzzy thunderbird.

    When I saw them in the 80s a bevy of beauties in hot pants pranced on stage during this tune. Should be standard practice.
  18. bumperbass


    Jun 19, 2012
    I'll try 16th's w/a pick tonight, if it's on the list. I am not pick proficient, only using it on 2-3 songs that need driving grit.
    Thanks, all. Happy shopping!
  19. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    The Fuzzy bass and guitar's were Dean USA's
  20. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    LOL. So you'd do the whole song at the speed of the synthesizer? Better stay hydrated so your fingers don't cramp up.