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Transcriptions - Page 3

Bass Transcription: Dee Murray’s Bass Line on Elton John’s “Step Into Christmas”

Bass Transcription: Dee Murray’s Bass Line on Elton John’s “Step Into Christmas”

Dee Murray is a giant of the bass guitar many people do not rate as being among the best of all time, but I certainly do. His playing on the holiday single “Step Into Christmas” by Elton John is nothing short of impressive as he finds many inventive ways to make very simple chord changes sound exciting and new. After...

Bass Transcription: Walter Becker’s Bass Line on Steely Dan’s “Gaucho”

Bass Transcription: Walter Becker’s Bass Line on Steely Dan’s “Gaucho”

This month I chose the self-titled track from Steely Dan’s 1981 record, as a focus of study. I had never heard this group before, though my friends told me all the time there are a lot of good studio musicians on the band’s records. I never was interested in their music until recently when I found this record at a...

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Bass Transcription: Mick Taylor’s Bass Line on The Rolling Stones’ “Tumbling Dice”

Bass Transcription: Mick Taylor’s Bass Line on The Rolling Stones’ “Tumbling Dice”

Every bassist has been in situations where they have had to hold down a one-chord or repeating bass line ostinato for long periods of time or an entire song. It can be challenging to approach these mind-numbing repetitive songs and keep it interesting while not overplaying. Many Rolling Stones’ songs feature verse sections, such as this, that consist of only...

Bass Transcription: Dominique di Piazza’s Bass Solo on John McLaughlin’s “Belo Horizonte”

Bass Transcription: Dominique di Piazza’s Bass Solo on John McLaughlin’s “Belo Horizonte”

This month, the transcription is dedicated to French bass virtuoso Dominique di Piazza. I think Dominique deserves more recognition in the bass world. Ask any bassist today – Hadrien Feraud, Matthew Garrison, Adam Nitti, and many more – and they will swear that di Piazza has had a profound influence on their bass playing. His solo piece “Marie,” has opened...

Bass Transcription: Danny McCulloch’s Bass Line on The Animals’ “Monterey”

Bass Transcription: Danny McCulloch’s Bass Line on The Animals’ “Monterey”

Continuing the theme of British bassists from 1968, this time I’m looking at Danny McCulloch’s bass line on “Monterey” by The Animals. This band formed in the gritty northern English city of Newcastle in 1960, and were one of the edgier sounding bands associated with the “British Invasion” of the U.S. pop charts by the middle of the decade. Their...

Bass Transcription: Jimmy Johnson’s Bass Line on Allan Holdsworth’s “Spokes”

Bass Transcription: Jimmy Johnson’s Bass Line on Allan Holdsworth’s “Spokes”

Today I’ll pay tribute to one of my bass heroes: Jimmy Johnson. His versatility always amazes me. He plays smooth jazz with his band Flim & the BB’s, he holds down the groove with James Taylor, and he always keeps the group together under complex harmonies with Allan Holdsworth. Johnson has a unique voice on the instrument, with very melodic...

Bass Transcription: Jaco Pastorius’s Bass Line on Weather Report’s “Night Passage”

Bass Transcription: Jaco Pastorius’s Bass Line on Weather Report’s “Night Passage”

Today we will be tackling Jaco Pastorius’s bass line on the title track from Weather Report’s 1980 album, Night Passage. This is one of the best Weather Report albums. To me, it always sounds fresh and modern, like a timeless record. The group also includes drummer Peter Erskine and percussionist Robert Thomas Jr, who sound very tight together. In this...

Bass Transcription: John Paul Jones’ Bass Line on Dusty Springfield’s “Take Another Little Piece of My Heart”

Bass Transcription: John Paul Jones’ Bass Line on Dusty Springfield’s “Take Another Little Piece of My Heart”

Dusty Springfield was a British singer whose early chart success in the UK and USA was with straightforward pop tunes such as 1963’s “I Only Want to be With You,” and more sophisticated ballads like 1966’s “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me”. The 1968 Dusty… Definitely album began her change towards a more R&B/Soul sound, with inclusion of...

Bass Transcription: Dee Murray’s Bass Line on Elton John’s “Amoreena”

Bass Transcription: Dee Murray’s Bass Line on Elton John’s “Amoreena”

“Amoreena” was Dee Murray’s first recording collaboration with Elton John, and from analyzing the transcription of his playing on this tune, it’s not hard to see why John and Murray had such a prolific career working together. Many different bassline approaches are employed to great affect in this song. The form of the bassline as a whole also demonstrates good...

Bass Transcription: Bob West’s Bass Line on Odetta’s “Hit or Miss”

Bass Transcription: Bob West’s Bass Line on Odetta’s “Hit or Miss”

Something I notice when listening to inexperienced bassists is that they often tend to line up all of their technical ideas, one after another, when creating a bass line. It’s similar to a chef using all their spices to make just one dish. Most of us will learn with experience that less is not only more but you can reinvent...