Favourite bass riffs

Doesn't have to be just bass players with an opinion, and you don't have to limit it to a top 5 or pad it out to a top ten. Just mention those basslines that wobble your sloop. Here's some of my faves:

Gorillaz - "Feel Good Inc" (Is this a sample? and of what?)
"Starless" - from King Crimson's Red album
White Stripes - "Seven Nation Army" (it's a bass riff, even if not on a bass guitar)
"Love will Tear us Apart" - Joy Division

I'll think of some more later, but pip in with your own.

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Ok, I think I've got this down to 10, in no particular order and with many notable absences:

Velvet Revolver - Sucker Train Blues
Rage Against the Machine - Killing in the Name
The Beatles - Come Together
The Pogues - Hell's Ditch
Tupac - California Love (about 3 notes)
Marilyn Manson - I Put a Spell on You
Cream - Tales of Brave Ulysses
Skunk Anansie - Twisted (Everybody Hurts)
Fun Lovin Criminals - Passive/Aggressive
The Prodigy - Breath (If this counts?!)

Twisted is a good call, but I can think of another Skunk Anansie bass line (Cass deserves his own page anyway). "I can Dream" is one of the few covers I've done and, apart from it's a great bass riff, it nearly killed my tendons. I've never welcomed a song's chorus with more relief. And, killer point the riff is the basis of the song.

Just a brief interlude, but Tony Levin's thumbwhacker after the first chorus of Gabriel's "Big Time" is all the better for never being repeated in the rest of the song. Give 'em what they want, then take it away while they're still clamouring for more...

Thomas Dolby's "Hyperactive" had a knuckle-breaking bassline, but I read that it was done on a Fairlight CMI. That was after I broke the knuckles even attempting it. Anybody in Webland that plays it no sweat? I'm the first to admit I'm not uber-tech bass player.

I can quite enjoy listening to some of those kind of bass players but I've never had the desire to play that way, nailing a technical peice just isn't what blows my goat, especially live. One of our songs had a melodic bassline in 5/4 which covered the whole neck, despite it not being that technical I'd spend half the gig thinking damn, I've got to play THAT song in 3 songs time, 2 songs time etc.
I'd much rather play root notes and little runs and focus on filling or leaving space in the timing, I think thats where a bass can really bring a song to life.
I once had a big arguement in the pub with a guitarist who was convinced that Les Claypool was the best bassist in the world, he may be one of the best bass technicians (although that isn't my opinion) but he doesn't PLAY BASS as I see it. The obvious middle ground would be players like Flea, excellent technician on the bass but an also excellent bassist. In my opinion.

That must be about a months worth of posting for me!

Tim.

Possibly some of the longest sentences ever posted too, sorry!

1bassleft wrote:

Just a brief interlude, but Tony Levin's thumbwhacker after the first chorus of Gabriel's "Big Time" is all the better for never being repeated in the rest of the song. Give 'em what they want, then take it away while they're still clamouring for more...

If I'm not mistaken this riff was played with the assistance of the drummer hitting the strings of T-Lev's bass with drum sticks. For touring purposes, T'Lev's need to recreate the sound live necessitated the invention of "Funky Fingers"... mini drum sticks attached to the fingers with elastic loops. Musicman subsequently built a 3-string bass to assist futher the thwacking of the strings which were much wider apart then normal.

Billy-B and T-lev reprised this effect when playing with the remainder of Yes.

Tim wrote:
I'd much rather play root notes and little runs and focus on filling or leaving space in the timing, I think that's where a bass can really bring a song to life.................

Tim.

There is a wonderful passage in T-Lev's book, done in a biblical warning style of language, where he has a dig at the "fast and furious"( my quotes) bass players who tend to play high up the neck, the point being to "keep it low".

Mark King and Jaco have a lot to answer for... I worked at The Bass Centre in Wapping when these guys were popular and it was days filled with young kids wanting to play a Status bass through a Trace Elliot stack all going "thwakkada-thwakkada-thwakkada-thwackkada" all fu*king day.

Then, one day, a Canadian walked in and asked to play an old Gibson "EB something-or-other" semi... that was part of the John Entwistle collection we were selling (when he was still alive). This Canadian played so well and made the instrument sound so beautiful... then bought the guitar on the spot. We chatted for ages and he even gave me his contact details. He ended up playing on the k.d. laing album.

I'd heard of Levin using Funky Fingers, didn't realize it came about that way, Dave. It doesn't surprise me the recorded version uses sticks; there's something ultra-percusive about the sound. Must've looked weird watching it done! I'm not into slapping around for the hell of it but, as mentioned above, Levin drops it in there for the lug-grabbing effect and wisely doesn't repeat it. One of my favourite little bass snips.

I'm hoping guitar-store tryouts are changing (buyers and sellers). I used to absolutely hate pushy sales types not pushing their product but their bent thumb "technique". The first thing I'd do with a bass is listen to the sound and arsing about with pops, taps and slaps is no use at all (same with amps). I remember taking an interest in a used cab in a shop. Plugged in, just grabbed a righty bass and played some very simple, Swell-type of bass line. Something sounded not right but, next thing I know, this guy yanks the bass off me and does the "I'll show you what it can do" routine.

budukka budduka gdank gdank diddle oodle widdle oddle danketty danketty yoooooh

meanwhile, the "in need of recone" driver is being ripped to pieces by this berk. I must've coughed "excuse me?" three or four times but he had his eyes closed as he carried on with this anal blast. Even the ring from the shop door as I walked out didn't stop him.

I hate testing gear in shops, feels like everyones expecting the performance of your life, feels more intimate than a tiny pub gig (which are always the scariest) in reality nobody gives a chuck what you do but it feels scary.

I'm the same with sound-checking I tend to play: E-E-E-E-A-A-A-A-D-D-D-D-yeah, thats fine. At half my gigging volume then get every thing adjusted during the set, not the best technique! Doesn't make you very popular.

Tim wrote:
I hate testing gear in shops, feels like everyones expecting the performance of your life, feels more intimate than a tiny pub gig (which are always the scariest) in reality nobody gives a chuck what you do but it feels scary.

I'm the same with sound-checking I tend to play: E-E-E-E-A-A-A-A-D-D-D-D-yeah, thats fine. At half my gigging volume then get every thing adjusted during the set, not the best technique! Doesn't make you very popular.

Some of the shops in Denmark Street have now got booths wherein you can widdly-widdly-widdly and thwang-dakka-do-dow till your heart's content. And again some shops havn't.

Last time I bought a guitar I was put in a little booth and having played the guitar for a while, decided that the truss-rod needed tightening - much to the fear of the shop assistant- which I then did after convincing him that I was qualified to undertake such an action. I bought the guitar.

And talking of truss-rods... when at the Bass Centre (p'ta!) Cass Wassiz-name bought a pink Warwick which had a problem with the neck. If you tightened the truss-rod the neck became more bent rather than strighter. I held the guitar up to look along the neck to see the state of play and the truss-rod mechanism slid out and hit me on the forehead. I had no idea that they were not secured. However this solved the problem as I was able to re-insert it the right way up and straighten the neck.

1bassleft wrote:
I'd heard of Levin using Funky Fingers, didn't realize it came about that way, Dave. It doesn't surprise me the recorded version uses sticks; there's something ultra-percusive about the sound....

It's all in his book "Beyond the Bass Cleff" http://www.papabear.com/store/store.html... so buy one today!

to continue...1bassleft wrote:
I'm hoping guitar-store tryouts are changing (buyers and sellers). I used to absolutely hate pushy sales types not pushing their product but their bent thumb "technique". The first thing I'd do with a bass is listen to the sound and arsing about with pops, taps and slaps is no use at all (same with amps). I remember taking an interest in a used cab in a shop. Plugged in, just grabbed a righty bass and played some very simple, Swell-type of bass line. Something sounded not right but, next thing I know, this guy yanks the bass off me and does the "I'll show you what it can do" routine.

I've been very lucky in that I've worked with some really great music shop assistants and only one wanker of a prorietor. I used to have the policy of selling somebody something that they truly wanted and not something that they thought they wanted. I once sold a young chap the most expensive black-finished gold-plated bass in the shop which was £300 more than he had. I suggested he waited until he had the money. He came back and took away with him something that he truly wanted and then thanked me profusely. Occasionally he'd return to the shop and was all smiles.

In some shops the experience is more akin to Sumo wrestling than actual service.

Quote:
I held the guitar up to look along the neck to see the state of play and the truss-rod mechanism slid out and hit me on the forehead. etc

That is the best store story I've heard; I've got a great mental picture of that. In the days when I scribbled for Making Music (RIP) I'd've loved to pass that one onto them.

The largest store in my area was one of the "A1"s (not the Manchester one, now bought out) and they were the opposite of the pushy type. In a word; "indifferent". I remember a couple of real examples.

Around the mid-90s, I was only one of two lefty bassists regularly playing in the area so, when I walked in, they did point to a s/h early 70s Jazz that had just been traded in. I looked at the £300 tag (not insubstantial; in those days, 70s Fenders were still regarded as the deadbeat era) but, hey, it was a lefty. I went back home, squared it with Mrs Bass and took my lowliest backup, telling her I'd only buy the Jazz if it was at least twice as good as the backup. As soon as I walked in, one guy said "You can forget about p/exing that POS."

Er, that wasn't my intention, but nice start, fellas. I plugged the Jazz into some Mesa 400+ (IIRC) and it sounded bloody awful, like a sock. So did the crud backup, but at least I could tweak something reasonable out of it; everything on the Jazz was terrible. So, I tried a JCM800 (closer to my own amp) and the backup seemed near enough but the Jazz was still ghastly. "It probably needs new strings, mate." And that was it. Buy the bass, buy some strings, probably be OK. Shrug, back to coffee and NME. Of course, I didn't.

The other one was getting my guitarist mate a present. Thought I'd get him the Marshall "Blues-something" pedal, but maybe the DriveMaster would be better for him. They placed two empty cardboard boxes in front of me. Same price, take my pick. I'd like to know which one's best suited. The boxes actually containing a pedal are in the backroom. Read the descn on the boxes, make a decision, hand over £45 and they'll go and get it for me. Great people; no pedal present for the guitarist.

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