Bass Transcription: Miki Santamaria’s “Thinking Out Loud” Solo Bass Arrangement
This month’s transcription was suggested to me by No Treble founder Corey Brown, serving to remind me of Miki Santamaria’s fantastic solo arrangements of pop songs for bass guitar.
This song, originally by Ed Sheeran, translates nicely onto the bass due to the relatively open key of D major. For the first 8 bars, Miki sets up a groove built around the simple progression (implied chords are shown in brackets), throwing in harmonics and hitting the strings on beats two and four to create a percussive backbeat. At letter A, he introduces the melody line over this same progression, combining multiple parts into one cohesive sound – note that the ghost notes for the backbeat are still played where possible. This idea continues throughout the arrangement.
When playing this piece remember that feel is as important as the technique needed to play the piece: it’s all for nothing unless it feels good! I also recommend adding a touch of reverb when performing, just to add some “air” around the natural bass sound. Also, be sure to listen closely to how Miki performs it as you study the score.
Download the transcription (PDF – Standard notation and tab).
Follow along with this video:
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.