Here’s a rough transcription of Steve Swallow, one my favourite bassists, playing on the album Three Guys with Lee Konitz and Paul Motian. (Dreamy band or what?). It’s a Konitz composition over It’s You Or No One. So far, I can’t find it online (tiny sample in this article) but I’m reliably informed it exists on youtube.
Anyway, here is the unison line that ends the tune:
It’s You unison line transcription
It’s You unison line (Eb)
And here it is played in somewhat Swallow-y style — very light roundwounds with a pick and loads of tone rolled off:
Connoisseurs will know that the pick should really be copper, and the bass a semi-acoustic with a piezo somewhere, strung E-C, etc.
I came across something really cool this morning. It’s a ‘build thread’ (i.e. a forum thread detailing the process of building a bass) by an Israeli builder named Gil Yaron, who hand-builds replicas of what he calls ‘Golden Era’ guitars and basses. I hadn’t seen one of these threads before so it was pretty interesting, and the guy’s attention to detail is just astounding, both as a builder and as a photo-documentarian. On page 5 he even provides a nice interlude detailing the ‘building’ of his breakfast, having just finished hand-winding a pair of pickups.
The end result looks pretty great, but the main value of this is the microscopic level of detail that goes into the building process. Amazing. Here’s the thread.
The stats on my site tell me a few things. One is that, particularly on Fridays, my visitors are predominantly Gardener’s World fans who have arrived here through the TV show’s ‘Community’ page on the BBC website, thanks to a pretty nothingy post I wrote about it one time. It has 33 comments.
Another thing is that quite a few people get here by searching for ‘Laurence Cottle transcription’ (brave souls), which is the kind of visit I’d prefer to encourage. So…
Here’s a transcription — the hideously fiddly yet actually quite listenable bass part from Laurence Cottle’s ‘Quite Firm’. There’s a few versions of the track on his website, a couple on the big band album and a small band one from ‘Live!’. I’ve used the Live! version as a template and transcribed the head. It’s really good writing, fits in brilliantly with the horn lines and in a perverse sort of way falls quite nicely under the fingers — definitely a bass player’s line. Here’s the PDF:
Quite Firm – Bass Guitar
And here’s a clip of me just about getting through the A and B sections (playing along to the ‘Bonus’ version from big band album, because the Live! one is out of tune with A=440Hz):
This afternoon I recorded playalongs to a couple of Anthony Jackson basslines I’ve been working on recently, from his playing with the Michel Camilo Big Band. I’m thinking of doing a few more of these things with better recording to stitch into some kind of showreel, but for now here’s the method:
- Play the original loudly in the background, but through laptop speakers so that no bass comes through.
- Play bass along to it, and record it on my phone.
- Compress the heck out of it in one’s favourite audio editor.
The lines I’ve chosen here are incredibly musical and clever but also super fast, and are really good examples of how Anthony’s playing can be muscular/pounding then extremely dextrous and nimble in the same phrase — it’s almost like he’s playing two instruments. Some of the arpeggios and runs are a bit tricky on a 4-string, and I’m sure if I had a 6-string like Anthony does I’d probably play them better than him. Erm. Enjoy!
And here is the master himself: