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John Paul Jones: “What Is And What Should Never Be” Isolated Bass Track

If you’re looking for vintage tone and a melodic groove, look no further.

Zach McFatridge shared this clip of John Paul Jones’s isolated bass from the Led Zeppelin classic “What Is And What Should Never Be” from their second album.

With some bleed from the drums, it’s easy to hear Jones and drummer John Bonham locked in tight.

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      John Naas

      John Naas

      JPJ used flats for at least the first two Zeppelin albums, I remember reading about it in a magazine a couple of years ago but I don’t recall if they mentioned exactly when he switched to roundwounds. This definitely sounds flats with the tone rolled off quite a bit. I don’t think he’s using mutes, the note decay seems more consistent with unmuted flats.

    Leonard W. Kasaba

    Leonard W. Kasaba

    He used Flats until 1974 Live , in the Studio he started using rounds around 1971 on certain songs; by 1975 he was only using rounds.

Sá Reston

You just can’t get more classic than that!

Bazz

Bazz

awesome, learnt this last night, beautiful smooth playing by the master, onto Ramble On next!

Philip Buonpastore

Philip Buonpastore

It’s a real pleasure, and certainly a lesson to listen to the isolated bass track of one of my favorite Led Zeppelin songs. The very interesting thing about listening to JPJ playing the bass in isolation is how the minor variations in every aspect of the track – in note timing and placement, how the line both repeats and varies in each verse and chorus, the bass slightly overdriving the mic, and even the technique of recording itself adds character to the track. I think this is the essence of what made classic rock so interesting to listen to, and why it stands the test of time even today. Production methods of the time allowed for the human quality of the players themselves to come through, and I think this is a main reason why there were so many great but entirely different sounding bands that populated the classic rock genre in the late 60s to mid-70s. It is something that is missed in recorded music in later eras – over production is antithetical to what makes music so interesting to listen to and so fundamental to the art form – the human element.