YYZ: How difficult is it to play?

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by TestForEcho, Jul 21, 2004.

  1. TestForEcho


    Jun 17, 2004

    I've been playing bass for about three years now and have always loved listening to Geddy Lee's wonderful bass playing.

    My band plays primarily original material, so I know only a few cover songs. However, about three months ago I decided to learn YYZ on my own time.

    I'm still having a lot of problems with some parts of the song, especially with my right hand. Sure, I can hobble my way through the entire song...but if you listen closely I'm missing notes left and right, slowing down some parts, rushing others, completely screwing up the quick solo passages... I'm just having a really tough time playing it evenly, and consistently.

    For more experienced bass players out there...How hard is this song for you to play correctly? Did you have a tough time learning it? Do any parts still give you trouble?

  2. davepack

    davepack Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2004
    Denver, CO
    I learned YYZ at about the same time-frame as you...about 2-3 years after I started playing. Sounds like all you need to do is practice the parts you're having trouble with. Practice them slower, SLOWLY increasing the tempo until it's up to speed. Don't increase the tempo until you can nail it on the slower speed, and when you do speed it up, only speed it up a little at a time. It'll take a while to work all the way up to the proper tempo, but when you get there you'll be able to nail the whole song with little effort. Get a metronome and have fun!!
  3. I've been trying to play that damn song for 15 years and I still can't get it. :help:
  4. TestForEcho


    Jun 17, 2004
    Hi Dave. Thanks for the response.

    Although I've been playing a few years...I'm not a very technical bass player. Sure, I love to listen to Manring, Berlin, Wooten and all the other great virtuosos out there but when it comes to playing I just play simple rock and roll.

    So, I've never really practiced playing fast before. Granted, YYZ isnt the speediest bass playing ever recorded...but it definately requires nimble fingers.

    I think my two biggest problems are right and left hand coordination (in fast passages) and skipping strings on my right hand (also in fast passages...I have a hard time switching strings without flubbing it up).

    Looks like I need to dig out the old Metronome and work on these specific skills for a while.
  5. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    I've had no major problem with it. I started learning it after about about 6 or 7 months after I started playing. I wouldn't say I've mastered it, but I can play it well enough.
  6. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    It just takes practice. I havent practiced it much/at all, so if/when i play it, its insanely sloppy and such, but the speed isnt a problem at all. It just takes practice.
  7. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    It's a fun song to learn. I learned it in about 83 when I was a wee lad. Now that I am all grown up I have a real definition for the song and how it is played. There are a lot of tricks to playing it right. Last year I got to sit front row and watch the master at work. I am glad to say I play it right. Just practice and you'll get it. It's one of those songs that once you learn it you'll feel like a king.
  8. It takes a lot of practice no matter what your experience. I learned it about 9 months ago after about 2 years of playing experience. It took a while, especially the little bass fills, but I can play it pretty well and I'm just getting better at it. Just takes time to get used to the riffs.
  9. well anything by rush is hard because Geddy uses such a unique style .
  10. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    What tricks can you impart to us?

    For me, after 21 years of playing, I can honestly say I can SOMETIMES get it ALMOST right.
  11. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!

    In the mid 80's, when I was in the USAF... we played YYZ at the local talent show, & won...

    Whats funny is, the other day I tried to play it again,, for the first time since the 80's, & boy did I F it up bad. Maybe I should go back & pick it up again...
  12. neptoon


    Jul 25, 2000
    summerville, sc

    join the club...maybe i should spend more money on my basses... :D
  13. The_major_Rajor


    Apr 15, 2003
    um I learned yyz about a year ago, The main parts that were sorta tricky would be the intro scale type thing at aroudn 30 seconds which is pretty fast.
    The main riff is also kinda tricky at first because of the string alterations, they when you get to the solos I always found the 2nd one to be the tricky one, but there really is no secret other then practice. The line during the guitar solo is also somewhat tricky I guess.
    Try and get ahold of rush in rio, or even better download their performance of it during the "hyf" tour, Geddy is using his wal and you can see some close ups of him during the solo breaks and various other parts during th song. His tone is amazing as well, compared to the distorted mess it is today.

    Anyways if you know the notes he is playing, just practice slow and eventually work up to dream theatres speed.
  14. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    Back in the 80's I worked my tail off on that tune and did it pretty well (the band always argued about that flashy riff that comes after the tritone intro; not sure if we ever got it right). But like you I tried it earlier this year after a LONG layoff, and my result was best described by the letters F and U. :scowl:
  15. SlavaF


    Jul 31, 2002
    Edmonton AB
    IMO, it sounds deceptively easy - the intro isn't bad, the scale isn't that fast, the main riff isn't that complicated. But when you play it, man are you ever wrong on that! The main riff is the hardest IMO, and the bass breaks are a lot tougher than they sound. Every time I play it, it sounds OK, but it's never as fluid as Geddy's playing, nor does it sound "right". All the little fills he plays makes it much harder to learn... but I'm gonna try anyway! :bassist: