Bassists Weigh In Why Paul McCartney Is An Underrated Bass Genius
via strangedaysindeed9 / YouTube
In a recent YouTube vlog from the channel Scott’s Bass Lessons, Scott Devine and Ian Allison, both seasoned bass players in the sessions circuit, found themselves inside a unique bass shop filled with iconic instruments.
And what do you do when you inadvertently find yourself in such a place? Talk about The Beatles’ Paul McCartney and his basslines, of course. And that’s exactly what the duo did.
Scott and Ian decided to dive deep into the genius of McCartney’s bass lines, expressing their belief that McCartney is one of the most underrated bass players in history.
The vlog captures their enthusiasm for exploring McCartney’s bass lines on various bass guitars, including a late ’60s Rickenbacker 4005, a ’78 Rickenbacker 4001, a Hofner replica, and a ’66 Jazz Bass.
Unveiling McCartney’s techniques in “Dear Prudence”
The first bass line under scrutiny is from “Dear Prudence”, off the Fab Four’s iconic 1968 double album self-titled album more fondly known as the White Album.
Scott and Ian focused on the second verse of the track, as they tried showcasing McCartney’s mastery of playing chord tones and upper extensions. The duo highlighted the Beatle bassist’s bold choice to start the bass line with the fifth note, a departure from the conventional root note start.
They break down the nuances, emphasizing McCartney’s strategic use of space between notes, demonstrating his unique flair that sets him apart from other bass players.
Decoding McCartney’s bluesy touch in “Day Tripper”
Scott and Ian moved on to unearthing “Daytripper”, a non-album single by the Beatles recorded during the sessions for the 1965 album Rubber Soul, as the next important McCartney bassline.
The duo demonstrated Macca’s bluesy approach to the iconic riff in the chart-topping track. They compared their own interpretations with McCartney’s original rendition, highlighting the subtle intricacies that make McCartney’s bass lines stand out.
The bassists’ discussion touched on McCartney’s use of a unique blues device, adding a third note to the riff, and how he skillfully navigates the fretboard to create a distinctive sound.
McCartney’s artistry in the gorgeous “Something”
The exploration continued with “Something”, arguably the best love song the legendary British band ever created, where the duo expressed admiration for what they consider one of McCartney’s best bass lines.
As Ian played the bass line, he and Scott broke down the chords and bass progression, marveling at McCartney’s creative choices for the George Harrison-led ballad.
The duo appreciated how McCartney’s bass line shaped the harmonic structure of the Abbey Road track, showcasing the Beatle’s ability to influence the overall musical direction with his bass playing.
Unraveling the magic in “Come Together”
The vlog then took a closer look at “Come Together”, another iconic track from 1969’s Abbey Road that featured an unforgettable bassline courtesy of McCartney.
Both Scott and Ian admitted that they had played the bass on “Come Together” incorrectly for years until they discovered McCartney’s original rendition, with Ian stumbling upon this discovery thanks to one of Scott’s videos.
They dissected McCartney’s technique, emphasizing the importance of small details in bass playing. Scott and Ian showcased the correct way to play the bass line, correcting common misconceptions and appreciating the brilliance of McCartney’s subtle nuances.
The fun factor in “Taxman”
The exploration concluded with “Taxman”, a track from Revolver that featured a distinctive bass line.
This track features another innovation by the Fab Four, as it has influenced British psychedelia and mod-style pop, as well as being a precursor to what later became known as punk.
Scott and Ian highlighted Macca’s playfulness in creating a memorable bass groove for the Harrison-penned tax protest song, within the context of a complex chord structure. They discussed the unique articulations McCartney employs, adding a layer of fun to the bass line.
A not-so-subtle invitation to McCartney
The vlog ends with a touch of humor, expressing the desire for Paul McCartney himself to weigh in on the discussion.
In summary, Scott and Ian’s vlog provides an engaging and insightful journey into the world of Paul McCartney’s bass genius, revealing the intricate details and creative choices that make him a standout and often underrated bass player in the music industry.
Watch the duo gush about Macca’s bass wizardry in the full video below: