Bass Transcription: Tal Wilkenfeld’s “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers” Solo
This month’s transcription is bassist Tal Wilkenfeld’s fantastic solo on the Jeff Beck classic “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers”. There are several live recordings of this track, but the one transcribed here is from the Crossroads Guitar Festival from 2007.
Download the transcription (PDF) and follow along:
Tal’s stellar performance on this track has proved enormously popular, making it an obvious candidate for my monthly transcription column!
The solo section for “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers” is eight bars long: two bars of Cm7, two bars of Abmaj7, two bars of Bb/F and two bars of an altered G dominant chord. Tal’s solo begins at 1:11 into the track.
Tal opens her solo with a G Mixolydian lick (G, A, B, C, D, E, F, G) that is heavy on chord tones. Note that the final note of this lick is a Bb, the seventh of the Cm7 chord that begins in the next bar. The first main figure of the solo (bar 2) is simple lick that is also heavy on chord tones – Tal hits the ninth (D) first, then uses the seventh (Bb) and the root (C), finishing her lick with a shake. A shake is a type of vibrato that involves rapidly moving the fretting finger from side to side across the fret. The effect is very similar to a trill. Tal uses shakes frequently in this solo. For the next phrase, beginning in the third bar, Tal begins by outlining an arpeggio from the minor third of the chord – Eb. Doing so allows her to hit all of the chord tones from the Cm7 chord except the root, and also adds in the ninth. This practice of playing the arpeggio that begins on the third of the chord (remaining in key of course) is a popular move when soloing as it allows the performer to hit strong notes while also avoiding the obvious sound of the root note. You see that Tal uses this approach several times during the solo. Another example can be seen in bar 5 where she plays a Cm7 arpeggio over the Abmaj7 chord. Again, this gives her the third, fifth, seventh and ninth of the chord, but not the root.
Tal finishes the first chorus of her solo with a lovely dominant lick (bars 8 and 9). This one is heavy on chord tones again, moving from the third (B) to the root (G), the fifth (D), back to the third, up to the octave. In the second bar Tal accents the seventh (F) and the flattened ninth (Ab). She also makes the most of the augmented second interval between the flattened ninth and the third towards the end of this bar.
Tal takes things up a gear with the second chorus of her solo. While many of the licks are based around the C minor pentatonic scale, there are some fantastic chromatic lines woven in amongst these: check out the killer lick in bars 14 and 15 for example. For the final two bars of this chorus, Tal plays a four-note “cell” figure, using a repeating sixteenth note triplet pattern, bringing to mind Jaco’s rhythmic work on tracks such as “Continuum” and “Donna Lee”. This lick is tough to pull off, but note that the four-note cell is repeated over and over, gradually moving up the fingerboard. This creates some tension as the line steps outside the harmony a little.
Tal continues the momentum created by this lick with a repeating figure based around a G minor shape – this is another example of juxtaposing a different arpeggio over the backing harmony: the G minor arpeggio, played over the Cm7 gives access to the ninth (D), the root (G) and the seventh (Bb) – no root notes in sight! Note the use of shakes and slides in this lick.
Have fun with this solo, it’s a great one to get under your fingers. Remember that learning a great solo, but picking it apart and analyzing it is another. You should find that by dissecting the licks that Tal plays (as I’ve done here to some extent) you will have new ideas for your next solo!
Stuart Clayton writes for and runs Bassline Publishing, a small company who specialize in bass guitar tuition and transcription books. Check out basslinepublishing.com for more.