Bass Transcription: Wojtek Pilichowski’s “Cowboy from Prague”
This month’s transcription is “Cowboy from Prague,” a short piece by Polish slap bass wizard Wojtek Pilichowski, recorded at the Aguilar Artist Loft earlier in 2014. Wojtek has made a name for himself in recent years with his hard-hitting and energetic slap technique. True to form, he packs a lot of ideas into this short piece.
Wojtek takes influences from renowned slap masters such as Victor Wooten (check out the open-hammer-pluck techniques used at several points throughout) as well as UK bassist Mark King, whose use of fretting hand percussive slaps allowed him to pioneer an incredible semiquaver-based linear slap style in the early ’80s. Like King, Wojtek wraps a piece of electrical tape around his thumb to prevent injury.
When learning this piece I recommend studying the video closely and taking each phrase slowly, practicing it in isolation to begin with. Be sure to follow the slap guides written between the stave – it’s particularly important to place the left hand slaps on the correct parts of the beats as shown here.
In addition to conventional slap techniques, Wojtek also uses Victor Wooten’s open-hammer-pluck technique as well as several finger flams and hand pats. Again, watch the video for guidance.
Have fun with this transcription. You don’t get to play like this very often, but when the opportunity does arise, it’s nice to have ideas like this in your trick bag.
Download the transcription (PDF – Standard notation and tab)
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.