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Bass Transcription: Walter Becker’s Bass Line on Steely Dan’s “Gaucho”

This month I chose the self-titled track from Steely Dan’s 1981 record, Gaucho as a focus of study.

I had never heard this group before, though my friends told me all the time there are a lot of good studio musicians on the band’s records. I never was interested in their music until recently when I found this record at a vinyl store in Santiago.

The album is amazing. The quality of the sound is great and includes some fine studio musicians like Anthony Jackson, Chuck Rainey, and Jeff Porcaro. It’s a must have for music lovers.

In this track, you can hear a riff from “Long As You Know You’re Living Yours” from Keith Jarrett’s Belonging album. It seems there was a legal battle for this song.

Walter Becker played the bass line on “Gaucho”. It looks simple but has a lot of details, including anticipated rhythms. The bass line works perfectly with Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro’s playing.

For the video, I recorded over an instrumental version that I found on the Lost Gaucho record.

Follow along with the transcription and the video below.

Have fun and see you next time!