Tag Archives for " isolated bass "
Most musicians and producers hold Motown in a certain reverence, and well they should, since the music has influenced a few generations of artists, players, arrangers and producers. One of the icons of the Motown studio band is bassist James Jamerson, and it’s always fun to listen to anything that shows his genius. Here’s the isolated bass and drums from the Marvin Gaye hit “Ain’t That Peculiar” that doesn’t so much show James’ technique as it does his ability to lyrically pick what to play.
1. The sound of Jamerson’s bass is a little on the distorted side, and what you’re hearing is a miked Ampeg B-15. He also muted the strings on his Precision bass with foam to get his unique sound.
2. There’s lots of leakage, but that’s because the whole band (piano, horns and all) recorded at the same time in a relatively small room about the size of a double garage. When you look at it in that context, the leakage really isn’t that bad.
3. Jamerson plays a repeating line that’s unusual in where it fits with the rest of the song, but listen to the notes he plays around the line. Once again, the notes never seem to fall into the places on the bar that you’d expect, and that’s what made him a genius.
4. The drums are pretty straight, but again, when there are fills they usually aren’t what you’d expect. The sound of the drums is also pretty flat, but that was before we knew what “big” drums sounded like.
5. The interplay between the bass and drums is fairly loose. If you’re used to being in the studio a lot, it’s even a little jarring at first, but by the end of the song it just feels so right!
Oh, for the good old days of people playing together in the studio! Here’s to the great James Jamerson.
It’s always a treat to hear the isolated tracks from a hit, especially when they’re from the old days of extreme tape machine limitations. The Beatles “Day Tripper” is an excellent example of how great a recording could be with only 4 tracks as we listen to the isolated bass and drums from the song. Of course, the magic is all in the song and you can certainly hear that in the recording. Here are some things to listen for.
1. The sound of the bass. It’s pretty woofy and not too defined like it would be in later recordings, but actually works in the track pretty well in when mixed with everything else. The bass sounds pretty bad by itself, which proves the point that sometimes relying on the solo button isn’t exactly the best thing for a mix.
2. There’s a lot of leakage. That would make producers, engineers and players crazy today but it was just standard operating procedure back then. No big deal, you just make it work for you.
3. The B-section bass changes. Paul McCartney plays a different part on each of the three B-sections, but each one of them is brilliant and works as well as the previous one. I wonder if this was planned or just happened spontaneously?
4. The drum B-section snare. Ringo play’s a little pickup snare fill on the second half of the B-section that almost sounds like a mistake. it’s a tad slow, as are the fills and builds, but it actually works well against the other tracks.
5. The bass line on the outro. It’s also a little different from what you’re used to hearing. It actually sounds like this version of “Day Tripper” might either be an outtake or the song was edited to make it a bit longer on the final version.
6. There’s an ending. You don’t hear it on the record but there’s one there if you listen to the end.
Paul McCartney is one of the most influential bass players ever, and it’s always very cool to be able to listen to his isolated bass tracks. Today we’ll take a listen to The Beatles “Drive My Car” from the Rubber Soul album. Here’s what to listen for.
1. Listen to the pickup notes at the end of the bass phrase during the verse. He doesn’t play it all the time, but it makes for a very funky bass line when he does.
2. Paul plays the bass line of the chorus differently, sometimes even within the same chorus. Sometimes each note is held out, and other times it’s very staccato.
3. The bass track is far from perfect, with a major clam at 1:57 and some minor ones along the way. That said, it took another 10 years or so until production techniques really focused on each individual part and how it interacted with the other elements of the song, as well as how consistently each part was played.
In other words, it’s a great track for its time, but would have been fixed or replayed in today’s production environment.