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Al Krow

Toughest bass line you play live?

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War Pigs when we first introduced it into the set. More for the solo section as the bassline really goes for it. There was a tricky bit halfway through where at times the guitarist didn't always meet up with bass and drums. Always a relief to get through the solo.

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I'm not sure if it's the toughest, but I usually have to prepare myself for the middle section of Iron Maiden - Phanton of the Opera 🤘

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2 hours ago, Al Krow said:

I used to regularly get some bit of Sweet Child wrong, perhaps 'cos it was our encore number and after 2 hours late at night with a pub full of drunken air guitarists, I (mostly) got away with it - although very little escapes the attention of our drummer! Recently the guitarist got the intro muddled and it was very much an "at last it's not me" moment!!

Two tracks I kinda enjoyed but found very demanding were Keep the Faith by Bon Jovi and Higher and Higher - Jackie Wilson. Certainly the Wilson riff wasn't particularly technically difficult but maintaining just one riff metronomically precise for 4 mins was quite a challenge, for me anyway! We've not played them live yet but I think Muse's Hysteria, Duran Duran Rio and quite a few Jamiroquoi numbers will require a fair bit of work to nail.

Higher and Higher was a challenge for me too! At first if my mind wandered I lost it, eventually I found that focussing on smiling (or clenching my teeth 😁) got me through it.

Playing it live, everyone gets up to dance to it... this somehow made it easier if a crowd were up enjoying themselves.

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I want you back by the Jackson 5 has that bridge and I'm suffering to get that at the right tempo. I've played it slowly for a while then speed it up but it's a real sausage to get it right!

Great tune to learn otherwise 👍, I'll get it eventually.

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I usually do deps, and when I get the set list I'm looking out for four numbers that will always immediately have alarm bells ringing for me  This is because with these, although I can nail the bass lines, I'm absolutely relying on the band playing the song as the original, and not their own awful bastardised version of it (wrong chords, wrong tempo) - which can throw me completely.

Sir Duke

Forget Me Knots

Rhythm Stick

Do I Do

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2 hours ago, Maude said:

In our acoustic (but amped up) band I have to play Rio on doublebass, and I'm sure we do it even faster than it's supposed to be. At a gig I'll glance at the setlist, see it's next and just think 'oh fook, here we go'. 😁

Respect! 😗

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2 hours ago, Al Krow said:

 

Two tracks I kinda enjoyed but found very demanding were Keep the Faith by Bon Jovi and Higher and Higher - Jackie Wilson. Certainly the Wilson riff wasn't particularly technically difficult but maintaining just one riff metronomically precise for 4 mins was quite a challenge, for me anyway!

Higher and Higher is the same for me too - not in itself tricky , but my left hand always aches by the end .

Keep the Faith - used to play this years ago , but like a lot of players , I tend to 'rake' moving down across the strings . This makes it a bit trickier than it should .

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28 minutes ago, super al said:

I want you back by the Jackson 5 has that bridge and I'm suffering to get that at the right tempo. I've played it slowly for a while then speed it up but it's a real sausage to get it right!

Great tune to learn otherwise 👍, I'll get it eventually.

I learnt this finally for a dep the other month ; and that middle bit is a real finger twister, and I found it difficult at proper speed - still unsure about it .

Had a run through with the guitarist/good mate a few days before , to be told that they miss that bit out completely - he he

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30 minutes ago, super al said:

I want you back by the Jackson 5 has that bridge and I'm suffering to get that at the right tempo. I've played it slowly for a while then speed it up but it's a real sausage to get it right!

Great tune to learn otherwise 👍, I'll get it eventually.

Thing is, that needs a great rhythm guitarist. And they’re hard to find. Love that bass line.

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2 hours ago, Maude said:

That said, the one that I've balls'd up with the most frequency is the bass breakdown in Special Brew by Bad Manners. It's not difficult at all and in rehearsal, or at any other time, I can just play it without thinking, but for some reason my mind goes blank whenever we gig it. 

I used to have the same issue with All Bloody Right Bloody Now by Bloody Free.

The part under the solo. Nailed it every time in rehearsal ( and properly too) but either fluffed yet it completely or ended up bottling it and playing the simplified version at gigs.

Problem is that there’s nowhere to hide so if you get it wrong at the start everyone in the place knows.

I seem to have got past it now but for years it was my bete noir.

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ELO’s Mr Blue Sky is a bit of a handful. Lots of odd bits of a bass and a savage run of fast walking bass right in the middle - if you get lost you stay lost. Always relieved when we’ve got that out of the way in a set.

Too Much Too Young by the Specials is also one that takes a good bit of concentration live.


 

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7 minutes ago, Skinnyman said:

I used to have the same issue with All Bloody Right Bloody Now by Bloody Free.

The part under the solo. Nailed it every time in rehearsal ( and properly too) but either fluffed yet it completely or ended up bottling it and playing the simplified version at gigs.

Problem is that there’s nowhere to hide so if you get it wrong at the start everyone in the place knows.

I seem to have got past it now but for years it was my bete noir.

What is nicely showy on that one is including the second half of the bass solo riff an octave up at the dusty end part way through the solo. 24 fret basses definitely help! 

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2 hours ago, uk_lefty said:

Yes! I got asked to play it on a dep with naff all notice a few years back and I said OK if we miss the bass intro bit. They seemed to forget about it so I made something up there and then that seemed to pass... 

I am twice the age of the rest of the band, probably why I'm out of shot for the video! 😂

 

Guitarist started the intro riff at the correct tempo, when the rest of the band kicked in the tempo sped up and carried on speeding up, luckily for you it was at the correct tempo to start 👍

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I’m Still Waiting by Diana Ross. Yet another James Jamerson fingerboard workout. Got to play it twice a day every day for 2 months over the Panto season and my god...what a challenge.

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Its been a long time since ive played live prog but I always took a deep breath before we played Metropolis Pt.1 by Dream Theater, mainly for the unison section at the end of the instrumental

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Used to dep for a band that that god awful Mavericks song in their set (fkn ear worm has started up at the mere thought of it)...

Everyone hated it with a passion except for the portly singist who really thought he was Raul Malo as soon as the intro started.

Getting through 4 odd minutes of that without wanting to throw a seven midway through was the most challenging of bass jobs I’ve had!

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11 hours ago, Al Krow said:

Two tracks I kinda enjoyed but found very demanding were Keep the Faith by Bon Jovi 

Keep The Faith I found tricky to make flow correctly.  Which, playing in a Bon Jovi tribute, was something I had to get my head and fingers around as it was one of the very first songs we put in the set :)   It has to bounce along, springing off the low G almost silently before the fiddly octave bit.  Had I been a competent fingerstyle player I imagine this would be made easier by raking downwards but I can't do that, substituting it with a hammer on from an open D string to the F.  Getting the timing right playing like that without it sounding clumsy took me ages and ages.

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Probably Birdland (swung like the version on 8:30), or Mike Stern's Chromazone. (Tom Kennedy is awesone btw)

 

 

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11 hours ago, pineweasel said:

Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick. The first time we played it I had a horrible moment of onstage terror halfway through the prior song, but it went OK in the end. We couldn't really hack it convincingly though, so it got dropped after a couple more performances.

Hat's off to you Sir, I can't even play it in my front room under no pressure, I gave up just not good enough even after 17 years of playing Bass lol.

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54 minutes ago, Paul S said:

Keep The Faith I found tricky to make flow correctly.  Which, playing in a Bon Jovi tribute, was something I had to get my head and fingers around as it was one of the very first songs we put in the set :)   It has to bounce along, springing off the low G almost silently before the fiddly octave bit.  Had I been a competent fingerstyle player I imagine this would be made easier by raking downwards but I can't do that, substituting it with a hammer on from an open D string to the F.  Getting the timing right playing like that without it sounding clumsy took me ages and ages.

I’ve never looked at that one before, so just did a YouTube search and hey presto, found it and think I’ll give it a go, really nice bass line that reminds me of the theme tune to The New Avengers.

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Most of the difficult ones are about getting the feel right as much as the notes: if there's lots of notes (like Hysteria* and the Chilis By The Way) and they're not kept in check, they sound like a car crash...a poor (or even average) drummer can do that, too...I'm lucky in that my main drummer is fantastic...although that means any pink torpedo-ups are down to me... 😕

At the opposite end of the scale, we do Hold Back The River, and though there's very few notes in it, it needs really good dynamics to ebb and flow properly. Same with Elbow's One Day Like This: octave E's only, doesn't get any simpler in terms of actual notes, but it's the feel, especially in a trio...

 

* Oh, and starting this at the right speed, too...I always think I'm rushing, then it turns out when the drums start, I'm not...

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51 minutes ago, thebigyin said:

Hat's off to you Sir, I can't even play it in my front room under no pressure, I gave up just not good enough even after 17 years of playing Bass lol.

I’ve challenged myself to rhythm stick many times and I’ve even had lessons just for it , and I still can’t get it up to speed 😞

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13 hours ago, Maude said:

The toughest one we do has to be The Real Me by The Who, not too bad if I busk it a bit but nail the important runs in the verses, but a lot of people in our audiences expect it to be bang on all the way through as they've seen the opening scene to Quadrophenia so many times they know every bit. But I'm not sure Entwistle ever played it the same twice. 

That said, the one that I've balls'd up with the most frequency is the bass breakdown in Special Brew by Bad Manners. It's not difficult at all and in rehearsal, or at any other time, I can just play it without thinking, but for some reason my mind goes blank whenever we gig it. I think it's because we do it at the end of a medley starting with Chasing Cars (of all things) which starts slow but gets skanked up, flows into Lip Up Fatty and then into Special Brew, and I have the whole medley to start thinking, 'oh shite, I can't remember that bass part', and we all know what happens when you start thinking. 

I’d love to play the real me.

Guess it’s just improvised all the way though.

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1 hour ago, toneknob said:

Probably Birdland (swung like the version on 8:30), or Mike Stern's Chromazone. (Tom Kennedy is awesone btw

I liked that. I wouldn't even attempt to play it. Tom Kennedy is truly a monster player.

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17 minutes ago, Lozz196 said:

I’ve never looked at that one before, so just did a YouTube search and hey presto, found it and think I’ll give it a go, really nice bass line that reminds me of the theme tune to The New Avengers.

I often find myself thinking that certain songs are very close in some or a lot of aspects to others I've heard. I couldn't help but think that the Keep the Faith had a lot of similarities in the bass line / rhythm section to the Stones "Sympathy for the Devil". Did a search a while back and turns out that Bon Jovi were in full agreement! 

 

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