Bass Transcription of the Week

  • Bass Transcription of the Week #24: “Rock n’ Roll Jelly”

    Artist:  Stanley Clarke  Album: Modern Man  Bass Player: Stanley Clarke Year of Release: 1978

    View and download the transcription here!

    Thanks for checking out my Bass Transcription of the week blog, where every week I publish and dissect a bass transcription that I have created! This week was a recommendation from Dave Green: the song is “Rock n’ Roll Jelly by Stanley Clarke!

    Note: This transcription is basically a “Best I Can Do” in terms of adapting what is played. Clarke was notorious for overdubbing piccolo bass and all kinds of things on his tracks, and as such this transcription may be exceptionally harder to play than what Clarke originally played. This is my first experience trying to transcribe Clarke’s playing and thus I am an admitted novice. Fair warning!

    The Song: As is common for Stanley Clarke songs, this is one hell of a bass feature! Backed by Jeff Beck and Carmine Appice on guitar and drums respectively, Stanley Clarke and company perform a rocking tune complete with an extended bass solo feature using overdubs and all other sorts of bass madness. Beck and Appice dutifully serve the song with an aggressive style that creates a powerful driving rhythm throughout, complete with dynamic ebbs and flows as are dictated by Clarke.

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    The Bass: Stanley Clarke’s bass is the core of the song, playing a chordal pattern that serves as the A section. This pattern moves between the I and bVII chord and also provides a prominent melody. The B sections feature Beck’s guitar with Clarke providing a more typical bass supportive role. Then comes the bass solo; incorporating octave melodies, fast trills for effect, more chordal patterns, lightning fast runs up and down the neck and a powerful devotion to stating the rhythm of the song makes for an enjoyable and compelling listen. Clarke demonstrates his particularly unique voice on the instrument here, and is as much a tour-de-force as any other song in his catalogue.

    Favorite moments: The entire bass feature (letters E through H) for its consistent invention.

    Thanks for checking out this edition of my Bass Transcription of the Week series! Be sure to check back for more updates as well as an entry in my accompanying Bass Cover of the Week series on Youtube! I hope you enjoyed the reading, and happy playing!

  • Bass Transcription of the Week delay!

    Hey everyone, I’m posting this to inform you that my newest entry in my Bass Transcription of the Week blog will be published either later today or early tomorrow. I didn’t have much free time this week to put together a transcription and the one I had next in line was no small feat! I’m working on it today and I look forward to publishing it!

  • Bass Transcription of the Week #23: “I Can’t Stand the Rain”

    Artist: Ann Peebles  Album: I Can’t Stand the Rain  Bass Player: Leroy Hodges

    View and download the transcription here!

    Thanks for checking out this week’s Bass Transcription of the Week! Today I’m looking at a bass line by a player that Matthew Wilson, current bass player for John Nemeth, requested that I look at: the bass player is Leroy Hodges, and the song is Ann Peeble’s “I Can’t Stand the Rain”!

    The Song: “I Can’t Stand the Rain” is the title track and opening song for Ann Peeble’s 1974 album, and it certainly serves as a strong introduction to the album. The song is built on the backbone of a very fat backbeat courtesy of Howard Grimes. The verse are built around a simple I7-IV7 chord progression, introducing more chords in the chorus. The progression lends itself to the rich horn pads that accompany Peebles’ vocal throughout.

    The Bass: Leroy Hodges is a master of simplicity, and his playing on “I Can’t Stand the Rain” is very clear evidence of this. He utilizes a sparse staccato-feel for the duration of the song, which creates a very powerful pocket between him and Grimes. During the verse sections, he incorporates an understated yet effective melodic bass line that serves as a counter-melody to Ann Peebles’ singing. During the B sections, Hodges lays back more and plays a simple rhythmic root pattern while the horns help fill in the space. Things like this show a keen awareness of everything that was going on in the arrangement on Hodges’ part, which allowed him to deftly serve the song to the utmost.

    Favorite moments: The simple use of melodic pattern in the A section bass line; his simplicity during the B sections; measure 31, which ends up being a slight flourish that adds a lot to the dynamic nature of the song.

    Thanks again for reading! If you enjoyed this, feel free to check out more of my transcriptions on this page! I also run a bass cover series on YouTube where I play these transcriptions along to the track, so you might enjoy that as well! Please let me know what you think, as I love to hear from readers, and if you have any requests I’d be happy to oblige! Thanks so much and watch for a new Bass Cover on YouTube this week!

  • Bass Transcription of the Week #22 - “Crotch Music (Live)”

    Artist: Ronnie Wood  Album: The First Barbarians: Live from Kilburn  

    Bass Player: Willie Weeks  Year of Release: 2007 (Recorded 1974)

    View and download the transcription here!

    Thanks for checking out this entry in my Bass Transcription of the Week blog! Today, I’m looking at a song that has been requested by my bandleader at the Nick Moss Band, Nick Moss: the song is called “Crotch Music” from Ronnie Wood’s live album The First Barbarians: Live from Kilburn, with Willie Weeks on bass!

    The Song: “Crotch Music” originally appeared on Wood’s first solo album, I’ve Got My Own Album to Do, which also featured Willie Weeks prominently. In fact, the song is credited to being a composition of Weeks’ creation, which isn’t surprising considering how bass-driven the song is. The form of the song is built around two main sections. There’s the main bass line which begins the song, and a funky vamp on a B flat chord. These two sections make up the bulk of the song, with an additional C section appearing with a vi-ii-V-I progression, marked as letter D on the transcription. Weeks incorporates a few different bass line patterns into these different vamps, which I will get into below.

    The Bass: Willie Weeks’ bass line begins with a pulsing rhythmic figure that makes for a quickly recognizable intro for the song. It is built around an A pedal tone with a descending chordal movement in the higher register, built from a Dorian scale. The B flat vamp sections vary in bass line depending on which part of the song you’re in; the first, letter B, is a very simple funk groove. Letter E is even simpler, with a galloping sort of rhythm throughout. Letter G is when things become more complicated with more ghost notes being thrown into the mix, and a move to a much higher register in measure 61. After the drum break, measure 84 introduces a new melodic idea that eventually gets echoed by the rest of the band as Weeks reincorporates the high register groove from measure 61, but displaced by two beats, followed by a lightning fast B flat Major 6 chord outline as the song winds down back into a simple B flat groove and eventually ends.

    Favorite moments: Weeks does very cool and interesting melodic things at letter D; letter G, where things start to get very intense for the band; the figure that begins on beat 3 of measure 120, because it’s one hell of a workout.

    Thanks for checking out this entry in my blog! If you enjoyed it, please leave a note saying so, and if you have any requests, you can comment or email me on nickfanemusic.com! Be sure to check back later this week for a new entry in my Bass Cover of the Week series on YouTube, and have a great day! Thanks for reading!

  • Bass Transcription of the Week #21: “Luminol”

    Steven Wilson  Album: The Raven that Refused to Sing (and other stories) Bass Player: Nick Beggs

    View and download the transcription here!

    Thanks for checking out another installment in my Bass Transcription of the Week series! Today, I’m looking at a song that was requested by my friend and former bandmate Mike Virgilio: Steven Wilson’s “Luminol”!

    The Song: “Luminol” is the first track on The Raven that Refused to Sing, Steven Wilson’s third solo album. Wilson is perhaps best known for his work with the band Porcupine Tree, which he fronts, and is firmly entrenched in the progressive rock genre. “Luminol” has this clearly on display, with its dynamic construction and numerous twists and turns. The song hearkens back to progressive rock from the late 60s and 70s; compare the keyboard sounds and harmonies throughout the song to Fragile-era Yes, or the heavy section at 9:48 to King Crimson’s “Red”. Fun fact: this album was co-produced and engineered by Alan Parsons.

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    The Bass: Nick Beggs had his work cut out for him when it came time to lay down bass on this song. Moving from the rollicking main riff to the more mellow quiet sections with ease, his bass playing ends up being the foundation upon which Wilson can create his soundscapes. His tone is reminiscent of Yes’s Chris Squire, though I’m not sure if he gets this sound with his fingers as opposed to a pick. Beggs shows a keen ability to simultaneously lay a strong foundation as a bass player while also leaving himself room to shine, which is certainly a valuable skill.

    Favorite moments: The introduction to the opening riff, since it’s such a propelling force; letter C, when the new riff enters since it’s an interesting change of pace; the aforementioned “Red”-like groove at measure 218.

    Thanks so much for reading! I hope you were able to take something away from this as I have, and can appreciate Nick Beggs’s bass work here. Check back later this week on Thursday to see a brand new Bass Cover of the Week from YouTube, and come back next Monday for a brand new transcription! If you have any requests, feel free to send me an email from my website, nickfanemusic.com or leave a comment! Have a great week!