Sep 30, 2009

Feel Good Inc

That Murdoc Niccals is quite good for a fictional bassist! Actually, the bassist behind the charatcer is Morgan Nicholls, and this is a very effective bass line: simple, cathcy, punchy and very fun to play and/or listen to.

Song: Feel Good Inc
Artist / Band: Gorillaz
Album: Demon Days
Bass: Murdoc Niccals (Morgan Nicholls)
Year: 2005

Sep 29, 2009

Blue Rondo A La Turk

This jazz masterpiece has a very interesting bassline: after almost two minutes of mostly root notes, it develops into a very smooth and classy walking bass. The unusual time signature (9/8) of the first section is remarkable as well.

Song: Blue Rondo A La Turk
Artist / Band: Dave Brubeck Quartet
Album: Time Out
Bass: Eugene Wright
Year: 1959

Sep 28, 2009

Stagger Lee

Another showcase for Martin P. Casey's talent, this song has a bassline that sounds groovy and dark at the same time. No wonder he is the bassist for Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.

Song: Stagger Lee
Artist / Band: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Album: Murder Ballads
Bass: Martin P. Casey
Year: 1996

Sep 25, 2009

I'm Losing You

The great Tony Levin (more about him on future posts) playing with folks from Cheap Trick, on top of John Lennon's I'm Losing You along. This is a 1998's version of a 1980's song.

Song: I'm Losing You
Artist / Band: John Lennon
Album: Wonsaponatime
Bass: tony Levin
Year: 1998

Sep 24, 2009


John Entwistle is one of the most celebrated rock bass players, and there are dozens of songs that could be used to display his talents and explain why he is still so influential. I've chosen this one from the opera rock Tommy.

Song: Sparks
Artist / Band: The Who
Album: Tommy
Bass: John Entwistle
Year: 1969

Sep 23, 2009

Early To Bed

Since we've had lots of melodic lines, here's a very simple one: a single note throughout the whole song. It's all in the rhythm.

Only a genius like Mark Sandman could pull that off and make it work so beautifully.

Song: Early To Bed
Artist / Band: Morphine
Album: Like Swimming
Bass: Mark Sandman
Year: 1997

Sep 22, 2009

Telephone Call From Istanbul (live)

Caution: Double bass solo around 3:00. I like the album version as well, but that bass solo deserves to be heard.

Song: Telephone Call From Istanbul
Artist / Band: Tom Waits
Album: Big Time
Bass: Larry Taylor
Year: 1988

Bass tab (external link, no solo)

Sep 21, 2009

Entertain Me

The only bassline I've ever transcribed into bass tabs and submitted to the internet. The song it's a bit too much similar to Girls and Boys - which features another amazing line by Alex James - but I dare say this bassline is even more thrilling.

Song: Entertain Me
Artist / Band: Blur
Album: The Great Escape
Bass: Alex James
Year: 1995

Sep 18, 2009

Hey Joe

This song of obscure origins is best known from the cover version by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, with Noel Redding playing the bass. The chorus progression, semitone by semitone, of this walking bassline is as fun to play as to listen to.

Song:Hey Joe
Artist / Band: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Album:Are You Experienced
Bass: Noel Redding
Year: 1967

Bass tab (external link)

Sep 17, 2009


Ok, so what about grunge?

Did you know that Jeff Ament practically built this song around his 12-string Hammer bass? I really enjoy listening to songs that were actually written by the bassist, specially when the song comes from him playing around with his bass.

Artist / Band: Pearl Jam
Bass: Jeff Ament
Year: 1992

Bass tab (external link)

Sep 16, 2009

Stand by me

Another classic with a very recognizable bass line. 8 simple bars repeated throughout the whole song - and it works!

Easy to play, I wonder how hard it was to be created. It's hard to come up with something as simple and as good as that. The strangest thing is: I can't find out who the bass player for the song was.

Song:Stand By Me
Artist / Band: Ben E. King
Album:Don't Play That Song
Bass: please, leave a comment if you know the name of the bassist for this song
Year: 1962

Bass tab (external link)

Sep 15, 2009


This song (mostly) in 7/4, written by Roger Waters, was one of the first pieces I've learned how to play on the bass. I really enjoy how Water's bassline makes the exotic time signature sound very natural.

Artist / Band: Pink Floyd
Album:Dark Side Of The Moon
Bass: Roger Waters
Year: 1973

Bass tab (external link)

Sep 14, 2009

Jenny Was a Friend of Mine

The opening track for The Killers debut album has a really powerful bass that sounds just perfect, specially during the intro. Mark Stoermer, the bassist, is a co-author for that song. I wonder if the bass riff was the starting point of the composition process.

Song:Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine
Artist / Band: The Killers
Album:Hot Fuss
Bass: Mark Stoermer
Year: 2004

Bass tab (external link)

Sep 11, 2009

Hey Bulldog

Another beatlesong! I can't help it. I just love McCartney's basslines, and this one is a rock and roll classic, with the bass doubling the guitar doubling the piano.

Actually, I think "Hey Bulldog" is not as widely known as it should (a bit like "Old Brown Shoe"). Why would that be?

Song:Hey Bulldog
Artist / Band: The Beatles
Album:Yellow Submarine (Remastered)
Bass: Paul McCartney
Year: 1969

Bass tab (external link)

Sep 10, 2009

V Centenario

A hit by Argentinian rock/ska/much more band Los Fabullosos Cadillacs, this song has a very contagious bassline by Sr. Flavio that really carries the song. A very festive song with an ironic take on the celebrations for the 500 years of America (from north to south).

Song:Quinto Centenario (Remasterizado 2008)
Artist / Band: Los Fabulosos Cadillacs
Album:Vasos Vacios
Bass: Sr. Flavio
Year: 199?

Sep 9, 2009

Under Pressure

Another one that got sampled (actually ripped-off by Vanilla Ice), the bassline for Under Pressure is a classic played by Queen's bass player (and all-around musician)John Deacon. This simple but effective bass riff is really something - the soul of this collaboration between Queen and Bowie.

Hum, maybe we should cover "Another One Bites the Dust" some other time...

Song:Under Pressure
Artist / Band: Queen + David Bowie
Album:Hot Space or Best of Bowie
Bass: John Deacon
Year: 1981

Bass tab (external link)

Sep 8, 2009

Super Freak

I have to admit that I heard this bassline first on MC Hammer's U Can't Touch This. But Rick James is the real thing. The riff is repeated over and over and over during the song... and you never get tired of it!

Song:Super Freak (Album Version)
Artist / Band: Rick James
Album:Street Songs
Bass: Rick James
Year: 1981

Bass tab (external link)

Sep 7, 2009

London Calling

One of the most famous album covers in rock and roll history has a photo of Paul Simonon about to smash his Fender on stage. The album is called London Calling, the third by UK punk rock band The Clash.

This is one of the most recognisable Clash bass lines. I could be wrong here, but I think Simonon's work is much better and much more original than any other punk bassist around. Because of its Reggae influence, maybe. Anyway, this is a bassline that, 30 years later, doesn't sound outdated at all. No wonder Damon Albarn called him to join his supergroup, "The Good, The Bad and The Queen" - but that's material for another post...

Song:London Calling
Artist / Band: The Clash
Album:London Calling
Bass: Paul Simonon
Year: 1979

Bass tab (external link)

Sep 4, 2009

Son of a Preacher Man

This is a classic bassline by Tommy Cogbill for a song recorded by Dusty Springfield. You can find every detail about it by clicking here.

Thanks HitPicker, from talkbass forums, for that tip!

Song:Son Of A Preacher Man (Single/LP Version)
Artist / Band: Dusty Springfield
Album:Dusty in Memphis
Bass: Tommy Cogbill
Year: 1969

Bass tab (external link)

Sep 3, 2009

Stir It Up

Reggae, at last! This is a musical style that really favours the bass: you can really hear the bass on a reggae song. Bass players such as Aston Barrett, bass player for the Wailers and creator of so many lines, are the ones who gave reggae music a great deal of its sonic identity. Barrett was a great influence on modern bassists like Flea, for instance.

Plus, he has 52 children.

On a personal note, that's one of the first bass lines I've been taught how to play.

Song:Stir It Up
Artist / Band: Bob Marley and The Wailers
Album:Babylon by Bus
Bass: Aston Barrett
Year: 1978(?)

Bass tab (external link) - Warning: the bass tab might reference another version of this song.

Sep 2, 2009

Save a Prayer

dum. duum-duu-du-dum. duum-duu-du-dum. duum-duu-du-dam, da-dam, da-dum. How can anyone ever forget this bass intro? That's the song trademark! That and the pitch-crazy keyboard, of course.

Song:Save A Prayer (2001 Digital Remaster)
Artist / Band: Duran Duran
Bass: John Taylor
Year: 1982

Bass tab (external link)

Sep 1, 2009

Down in the Tube Station at Midnight

Another British bass. This time, a mod one. Bruce Foxton's bassline for this song by The Jam is amazing in its energy. You can feel it driving the song away. Bruce Foxton is one of those bassists we don't hear a lot about, but we should.

Thanks the reader BottomEnd for the reminder on this one!

Song:Down In The Tube Station At Midnight
Artist / Band: The Jam
Album:All Mod Cons
Bass: Bruce Foxton
Year: 1978

Bass tab (external link)