The Beatles: Isolated Bass on “Paperback Writer”

Today’s isolated bass track has some historical significance for the Beatles. According to the Wikipedia page about this song, “‘Paperback Writer’ is marked by the boosted bass guitar sound throughout, partly in response to John Lennon demanding to know why the bass on a certain Wilson Pickett record far exceeded the bass on any Beatles records. This changed with the … single.”

Mark Lewisohn’s book The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions quotes Beatles’ engineer Geoff Emerick as saying the song was “was the first time the bass sound had been heard in all its excitement. Paul played a different bass, a Rickenbacker. Then we boosted it further by using a loudspeaker as a microphone. We positioned it directly in front of the bass speaker and the moving diaphragm of the second speaker made the electric current.”


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Share your thoughts

  1. Very interesting!!

  2. John Congerton

    Strange. Rain sounds much more like Hofner than Ric

  3. It’s not only the bass, as you hear at some places. Interesting though. Sounds more the Hofner, than a Rickb.

  4. scbilly

    This was the bass part that got me excited about the instrument 40-odd years ago (Roger Glover on “Pictures of Home” helped too). Thanks!