Weekly Basslines #143: You're My Best Friend (Queen)

Continuing the series about my personal bass heroes.....

John Deacon, the bassplayer for Queen, is one of my bass heroes ever since I took up playing bass and even long before that. When I heard the song "You're my best friend" the first time, I was immediately caught by the bassline. His fluent runs on the higher register are one of the very outstanding features of his bass playing and I always had fun transcribing, learning and playing his basslines. His choice of notes reveales a great musical background knowledge - besides bass he also played the piano and the guitar and he had the technical skills to master his often virtuosic ideas. Later I realised that Deacon had also written the song and even played the electric piano on that tune and ever since I'm a big fan of his musical talent. In addition to "You're my best friend" he also wrote a few more big hits for Queen like "Spread Your Wings", "Another One Bites The Dust" or "I Want To Break Free".

Here's the excerpt of the video documentation "The Making of A Night At The Opera" concerning John Deacon and his hit song:

And here's the isolated bassline:

As I mentioned before I've transcribed a lot of John Deacon's basslines. You can find some here on my blog:

My absolute favorite one is "Millionaire Waltz".
But amongst others I also did "Spread Your Wings",  "Teo Torriatte", of course "Another One Bites The Dust", "I Want It All" and "Under Pressure".


Weekly Basslines #142: Shu Ba Da Du Ma Ma Ma Ma (Steve Miller Band)

"I've Always Wanted To Do This......"

I've transcribed hundreds of basslines in the last few years, collected from the internet whatever I could get, even bought some comercial transcription books, so that I finally already have a BIG collection of basslines at my disposal. However there are still some left, which I always wanted to transcribe, but never got round to do and obviously noone else did, as there are no available transcriptions on the internet or comercially published. Sometimes I even started taking down a few lines, yet could never complete it. So I came to the decision, that I start a kind of "Work-In-Progress" series here. Some unfinished transcriptions off my personal "Still-To-Do" list.

Shu Ba Da Du Ma Ma Ma Ma is on the list now for already more than ten years. I recently found my scribbled notes in the lowest drawer of my writing desk and rediscovered this cool funky bassline by Gerald Johnson, who recorded a few albums with Steve Miller, but is also know to work with Dave Mason (ex-Traffic), Les Dudeck or Stephen Stills.

The song with the weird title is from one of Steve Millers most famous albums "The Joker" (1973), featuring his Number #1 hit of the same name.

Here's the unfinished transcription, which at least contains the bass solo:

to be continued.... ;-)



Weekly Basslines #141: Geraldine and John (Joe Jackson)

Here's the second part of my series about my personal bass heroes.

This time it's Graham Maby.

Wikipedia says:

"Graham Maby (born 1952, Gosport, England), is a bass guitar player. He has recorded and toured with Joe Jackson since his first album, appearing on most of Jackson's albums and tours. He has continued to record and tour with Jackson even while working with other artists.

In the early '90s he toured with Graham Parker, Garland Jeffreys, the Silos, and Darden Smith, among others. In 1996, Maby joined They Might Be Giants recording and touring with them. From 1998 until 2002 he recorded and toured with Natalie Merchant's band. Maby has also appeared on recordings with Marshall Crenshaw, Joan Baez, Freedy Johnston, Ian Hunter, Regina Spektor and Dar Williams."

I'm really a big fan of Graham Mabys bass playing ever since the first time I saw the Joe Jackson Band in the early eighties. I love the way he's creating interesting and remarkable basslines that essentially support the song. To demonstrate what I mean I picked one of Grahams most remarkable basslines he recorded with Joe Jackson on his second album "I'm the Man" from 1979.

And there are lots of more extraordinary basslines Graham Maby provided on different Joe Jackson songs.
Here's a few of my favorites:
Sunday Papers from Joe Jackson's first album "Look Sharp":

Beat Crazy from Joe jackson's third album "Beat Crazy":

Got The Time from Joe Jackson's first album "Look Sharp":

On Your Radio from Joe Jackson's second album "I'm The Man":


Weekly Basslines #140: Higher Ground (Roger Chapman)

I often get asked by my students what my favorite bass players are and a lot of them are quiet puzzled when I tell them that I don't favor the commonly mentoined suspects like Jaco Pastorius, Victor Wooten or Flea. Of course they're all great bassist, but I prefer bassplaying that always supports the song, no matter what style, and ads something to the overall sound of the music. Well it's hard to describe and therfore I decided to post a series of basslines from my personal bass heroes.

I start off with John Wetton.
Here's an abstract of the Wikipedia article about him:

"John Kenneth Wetton (born 12 June 1949) is an English singer, bassist, and songwriter. He was born in Willington, Derbyshire, and grew up in Bournemouth. He initially rose to fame in with bands such as Family (feat. Roger Chapman), King Crimson, Roxy Music, Uriah Heep, and Wishbone Ash.
After his period with King Crimson, Wetton formed UK, and later he was the frontman and principal songwriter of the supergroup Asia....
Wetton has done extensive work as a session musician with acts such as Brian Eno, Bryan Ferry, David Cross and Roger Chapman....."

With his old buddy from "Family" days Roger Chapman John recorded two albums "Mail Order Magic" (1980) and "Hyenas Only Laugh For Fun" (1981).

I did a transcription of the song "Higher Ground" from "Mailorder Magic".
The song is driven by an unison guitar-bass riff derived from the e minor pentatonic scale:

Here's the full transcription:



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Weekly Basslines #139: Living In The Past (Jethro Tull)

Glenn Cornick the original bass player for Jethro Tull sadly passed away last week at his home in Hilo, Hawaii. He was 67. He played on the band’s first three albums, “This Was” (1968), “Stand Up” (1969) and “Benefit” (1970), and contributed amazingly inspiring and memorable basslines like "Bourreé" (including the famous bass solo, which I transcribed two years ago) or "Living In The Past" which I show you here.
This song written in an unusual 5/4 time signature is driven by the remarkable bassline mainly built on chord arpeggios. The main riff has a 3 + 2 phrasing:

R.I.P. Glenn Cornick