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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!

Marcelo Cordova is an electric and acoustic bass player from Chile. He has released five solo albums. Check out his website, where you can download his transcriptions and listen his music. Marcelo endorsers EBS amps and play Pavel Basses.

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