There’s been no shortage of great pieces to choose from for my monthly transcription recently: Cody Wright’s groove with drummer Chaisarary Schenk was a serious contender, as was Simon Fitzpatrick’s cracking solo bass rendition of “Rosanna”. I intend to cover both pieces in future transcription columns, but this month I couldn’t resist scoring out Lőrincz Viktor’s “Rock and Roll Bass Solo”. This is the second time Viktor has been featured in this column, and with good reason: his technique is flawless and he always seems to have just the right licks for each occasion.
This piece is a short rock and roll blues which features some tricky fingerstyle soloing as well as some contrapuntal tapping passages. Against a simple drum groove, Viktor opens the piece with a serious of tasty blues/rock and roll licks that are heavy on chord tones. Those looking to get their soloing chops over simple three-chord blues forms could do a lot worse than to study these licks: they’ve been played many times on the piano or guitar, but make for excellent study material for bass players too. Note the nice use of a shake (rapid, side-to-side vibrato) in bar 8, as well as the upper register dominant chord in bar 10 – this is a typical three note voicing of the chord which omits the fifth, the most expendable note in this situation.
At letter B, Viktor plays a contrapuntal tapping line consisting of two parts: in the fretting hand, he outlines a simple walking bassline, whilst the picking hand taps out partial chord voicings in the upper register. Note that a 5-string bass makes this part a little easier as the two hands can remain in closer proximity, plus the low E in bar 16 is easier to play as a fretted note rather than an open string. When learning this part, focus on the first two bars, making sure you can play each part separately. You should then combine them, noting the beats on which the hands play together, and on which they are apart. This part of the song has a simple 12-bar blues form.
At letter C, Viktor plays a fingerstyle bass solo that is stuffed full of killer blues licks. Practice this slowly: there are several challenging phrases in here, particularly the quick arpeggio and descending legato run in bar 27. Keeping the other strings quiet whilst you play the arpeggio is the biggest challenge here. Note the use of an 8-bar blues form during this section.
At letter E, Viktor returns to the tapped blues sequence from earlier, this time embellishing the tapped part to include half-step slides into some of the chords. The technique required to play this line is exactly the same.
The piece ends with a repeat of the Intro section, which an additional tag on the end, capped with a tritone substitution (A♭7 in place of D7) into the final chord (G).
Follow along with this video:
Have fun with this month’s piece and I’ll see you for more bass guitar insanity next month!
Download the transcription (PDF – Standard notation and tab)