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Another interesting isolated bass track - Sir Duke

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I also think the P on Sir Duke has flat wound strings and the J on I Wish has roundwounds - sounds accentuated by the preamp and hard playing. 

These are some of my favourite bass lines and songs of all time - there are probably a dozen Stevie Wonder songs in the same category for me 😏

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I'm having what I call a "Jaco" moment here - when you unexpectedly discover that it's the bass doing something you didn't think it did.

I have always assumed that those crazy slidey noises in I Wish were dubbed by Stevie on some kind of synth but it actually is Nate Watts playing a cranked up Jazz Bass?

Off to rethink my entire existence...

Thanks for posting these.

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6 hours ago, drTStingray said:

These are great songs and brilliant to play on the bass 👍 there are others on Songs in the Key of Life

One of my lockdown projects was Stevie Wonder songs. I've charted most of Music Of My Mind and Talking Book, all of Songs In The Key Of Life and Hotter Than July and some of Innervisions, Fullfillingness and Square Circle.

There are some great songs, brilliant arrangements and plenty of riffs that just make you smile. Once you get into SW you discover he has favourite chord sequences which are used pretty regularly. When you spot them it makes working the songs out a little easier.

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20 hours ago, chris_b said:

One of my lockdown projects was Stevie Wonder songs. I've charted most of Music Of My Mind and Talking Book, all of Songs In The Key Of Life and Hotter Than July and some of Innervisions, Fullfillingness and Square Circle.

There are some great songs, brilliant arrangements and plenty of riffs that just make you smile. Once you get into SW you discover he has favourite chord sequences which are used pretty regularly. When you spot them it makes working the songs out a little easier.

@chris_b you're absolutely right. I've done the same thing in terms of learning his songs, but from a greatest hits double album. I haven't written them out though!! I used to play along to the CD a lot but now use some of the songs as part of my home practice routine. 

SW is also the reason I bought a 5 strings - all those lower than E bass notes and parts!! So I wanted to do them properly and it got me into 5 string basses. 

The only downside is I've rarely had to use them in a band setting except Superstition (always in the wrong key - the sax player has a moan occasionally to wind guitarists up 😂 ) and Signed, Sealed, Delivered - done with a full brass section so that is in the correct key!!! 

I've played I Wish a couple of times - for these types of songs it seems to be necessary to have a keyboard and brass player (s) - but if you get this right the songs are stunning and get a great reaction!! 😀

 

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2 hours ago, drTStingray said:

I've done the same thing in terms of learning his songs, but from a greatest hits double album.

If you Google "Talking Book Songs" for instance, it brings up a Youtube link to all the songs on Talking Book.  

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2 hours ago, drTStingray said:

. . . . . . . . I've rarely had to use them in a band setting except Superstition (always in the wrong key . . . . . . . .

Yeah, I've played Superstition many times but never in Eb. Did get asked to do it in D once. Low D was lovely, made the whole room vibrate!

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I've played Superstition in Eb many times - guitars and bass tuned down a half step of course 

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I did a few gigs with a Stevie Wonder Tribute band and this one was on the set list although the cover we did was based on the live DVD version not the single. It went down great

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On 08/06/2020 at 22:34, drTStingray said:

Very interesting isolated bass track - from an interview published with Nate Watts years ago, this was recorded on a Precision via an external Alembic pre amp (I Wish on a Jazz through the same Alembic studio pre amp). Ive always had problems playing that unison riff cleanly - interesting Nate doesnt either according to that isolated track!! Mind you Ive been trying to for years - he probably only had a few days to nail it!! 

 

:D I'm glad you said that, because I had the same thought and was feeling guilty about it.

I used to play Sir Duke years ago with one covers band. That unison riff wasn't particularly hard in the sense that it sounded ok live with the band, but *I knew* I was often not playing as cleanly as I wanted to, and in the heat of the moment I sometimes skipped a note somewhere (as long as you keep the timing you can get away with so much!)... then I listened to this isolated track and made me feel a lot better 😛

Disclaimer: no, I don't claim for a second that I can play as well as Nate Watts or have a percent of his knowledge... it's a bit like Flea, when I was in a RHCP tribute band I would play whatever we wanted from their catalog. The fast slap stuff that made most people go "whoa" was not *that* hard to copy, they were simple patterns played fast, that's all, all it takes is practice. So I could play anything from their catalog, but it doesn't mean I could play like Flea. Not even remotely close. 

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11 hours ago, jazzyvee said:

I did a few gigs with a Stevie Wonder Tribute band and this one was on the set list although the cover we did was based on the live DVD version not the single. It went down great

 

a Stevie Wonder Tribute!!! That must have been so much fun!!! File me under "extremely envious" :)

 

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Further to this. Once we've all used to isolated bass to learn the notes, here is what we need to play along. Do you come out of the instrumental break at the same time as the drummer? I don't 😫

 

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Lots and lots of extra little grace notes compared to the tab! Funky 🙂

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Seeing/hearing this young lady - Alana Alberg - almost made me want to give up bass playing.....

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39 minutes ago, Baxlin said:

Seeing/hearing this young lady - Alana Alberg - almost made me want to give up bass playing.....

So relaxed as well. Use it as inspiration rather than giving up! 

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5 hours ago, stewblack said:

So relaxed as well. Use it as inspiration rather than giving up! 

I did say ‘almost’....

😁

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I think this thread has been fantastic.  I've discovered some really useful facts and it's sent me back to practice my pentatonic scales with a vengeance.  Thanks to all contributors and bump the thread up to where it belongs!

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20 hours ago, stewblack said:

Nice one! How many of us have been playing that bass and horn line slightly differently I wonder?

Yeah my horn lines are embarassingly out

 

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8 minutes ago, toneknob said:

Yeah my horn lines are embarassingly out

 

I thought I was nailing it, lost count of the gigs I've played it at. Never too old to learn I suppose. 

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If you’ve mastered Sir Duke, have a go at Master Blaster, a great song with a cracking riff in the middle.

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1 hour ago, chris_b said:

If you’ve mastered Sir Duke, have a go at Master Blaster, a great song with a cracking riff in the middle.

Agreed. I used to do this in a three piece with a guitarist who couldn't keep time. It was, a challenge. 

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18 minutes ago, stewblack said:

a guitarist who couldn't keep time

"But that's your job!"

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