My fourteen year old son is a never ending source of inspiration for me. About a year ago he got the bug to start playing bass and guitar. Since then he’s had an insatiable thirst for learning everything about these instruments. His bug for music came to him during a ten day road trip through the states. He’d loaded his iPod with Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles. During the trip we listened to pretty much everything from Love Me Do to the Anthology and all the studio and bootlegs in between. (The Decca Tapes and Star Club recordings would have to wait until after the trip.)
During the trip he proclaimed that, “John Lennon was the coolest person that ever lived.” I might have to agree. I think we also would have agreed that Paul McCartney’s bass playing was amongst the most tasteful, creative and melodic ever recorded in pop music.
With George Harrison’s Something, McCartney, shortly after it was recorded, said that the song was, “…his nicest one yet…” and the song went on to be Harrison’s first Beatle A side single. I couldn’t agree with Paul more. But it was McCartney’s that really stands out for me. McCartney would often leave the bass line to the last, when recording with The Beatles. It may have given him more time to consider what he was going to do and also given him more time to have the song’s structure down tight. Whatever it was, so many of his bass lines stand out so strongly to my ears.
This bass player does an amazing job of reproducing Paul McCartney’s bass lines. As part of the tribute he plays two, true to the period, basses that match the ones that McCartney played.
The first is the Hofner 500/1, also know as the “Beatle Bass” complete with the “Bassman” sticker and removed pickguard true to the Let It Be era. (His bass is like the ’63 version, not the ’61 (missing) Beatle Bass)
The second bass is a Fireglo Rickenback 4001C64 complete with backward headstock and horseshoe pickup. McCartney’s is of course a Fireglo 1964 Rickenbacker 4001S. The backwards headstock was the result of Rickenbacker putting a right handed neck on McCartney’s left handed bass. Decades later Rickenbacker reissued the C64 as a right handed bass with a headstock that matches the reversed version of McCartney’s original.
Many Beatles fans will remember McCartney in the Beatle era playing his Hofner, but the Rickenbacker was a superior bass for recording so McCartney used it in the studio almost exclusively for a large part of The Beatles catalogue. It would have most certainly been used for Something. (Although around this era McCartney also had a Fender Jazz Bass)
Please enjoy Something (The Beatles – Bass Cover), by Kocuhu…
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